03 December 2011

She and He Super Designers...and Other African Moments

I decided it was time for a light-hearted post. Mostly because I am leaving Uganda in about 3 days and have way too many things to do to really write the reflective/library/what-I've-learned-this-year post that's been floating around my head. But don't worry, it's coming soon. Probably when I'm sitting for 6 hours at Heathrow Airport next week, feeling sad that I've just left Uganda.

Anyway, one of the things I've enjoyed about living in Uganda are the moments that make you smile and just say 'Oh, Africa'. :) These moments are hard to explain but the title of this blog is a good example. It's a sign I pass regularly...I think it's for a tailor but I love that it's Super Designers...like a superhero. :) Other signs that I enjoy: Saloon (for salon), Obama Restaurant, Shine Around Preschool, Trust in God Butchery (this is particularly funny to me because the butchers here literally leave meat hanging out all day, often covered in flies...you have to trust God to eat that meat!) and countless others that have become part of my everyday life.

Sometimes the 'Oh, Africa' moments happen when you're trying to accomplish something. For example, I was recently at a shopping center that has both a bank and a Forex Bureau. I wanted to exchange some Tanzanian shillings from my trip to Tanzania in September and change them to dollars. I was already in the bank so I asked if they would take them. At first the teller said yes and kept asking what they were and how much they were worth. (The denominations were written on the bills but I guess it was confusing.) After a minute, though, he said no, they can't take them because the branch is too small, which seems a bit funny to me considering that Tanzania is a neighboring country. So, I decided to check the Forex. I went in and asked if it would be possible to exchange Tsh for USD. The guy said of course, it was no problem. To which I, of course, started pulling out my money. But then he followed up with words that no longer surprise me: But it is finished today. (i.e. they don't have dollars today) It's not unusual to ask if something is available (at a restaurant or store) and be told yes, followed by: not today. Flexibility is key!

Another favorite moments, though, happened in said trip to Tanzania. My friends and I were determined to try "Chips-My-Eye", basically an omelet with french fries in it. My sister had told me how good it was and I really wanted to try it. We were staying in a small village on the beach and wandered around to ask where we might get some. We were told where we could go followed by: "But there is a funeral today in the village so there is no one to make the chips". Again, flexibility is key. You seriously never know what is available, when.

So, there you have it. Just some random things about living in Africa. I've learned a lot about flexibility and patience this year.

And we did eventually get our Chips-My-Eye.


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