I have always wanted to disappear (like Alexander Supertramp without the ending) and that’s kinda what I did three weeks ago. I went to rural Uganda (East Africa) with 13 other people for two weeks with no electricity, running water, or anything ” ‘merican”. Our group spent 3 days training YoungLife leaders, 8 days living in a village, then the last few rafting The Nile. We kept a running list of “Ugandanisms” and I would like to share my favorites so you can stay up to date on Uganda, the Motherland. (It’s long but it can count for the last two Fridays)
I knew I was in Uganda because…
1. Your circa 1968 van breaks down and the guys have to get out and push/run along side the van to get it into “town”. Later, the axle breaks in half. May be time to put the van into the classic car museum.
2. When you feel like you are in a high-speed chase while driving down a one-lane dirt road with a big IZUZU truck tailing you only to pass you on the right with a 6-inch margin. Safety first.
3. You take a big bucket of water to the outhouse to wash down anything that may not have made it into the big hole
4. The police come to your New Years celebration not because of a noise ordinance (those don’t exist) but because they want to join the fun. And they continue to stop by every night
5. When your trip leader doesn’t want to be called by his name anymore but insists on being called “Daddy”
6. Shower time (a basin) is a community affair with all the village children watching.
7. When you start blending in with the Africans because of the dirt caking your face after truck rides. And your hair sticks up making you look like a lion.
8. You are greeted at a Young Life club with 50 people swamping the truck and then getting hoisted into the air in a parade through town
9. When you try to go to the bathroom but the only semi private place is next to a feeding hog and people are still able to watch (and they do). You go anyway.
10. Picking your nose at any time is acceptable. And brown boogers are normal..
11. You are able to differentiate each rooster’s cock-a-doodle from the chicken coop starting at 4:30 a.m. each morning.
12. You go to the well to collect water and all the women laugh at you while you try to put the 70 pound bucket on your head
13. It is not against the law to ride 20 deep in the bed of a truck meant for two
14. You don’t look twice when you see someone walking down the street carrying an AK-47.
15. You always carry a headlamp and toilet paper
16. When they say 30 minutes, it usually means at least an hour, but probably 3 hours—it’s called “Africa Time”
17. When the taxi horn is used 61 times within 5 minutes to warn pedestrians of the approaching vehicle. As if the cloud of dust stirring up isn’t enough.
18. When your raft flips over a class 5 rapid and you find yourself scattered across the monstrous river Nile in whirlpools without any sense of direction.
19. When you feel accomplished after you look at the 12 foot waterfall you just dropped down
20. When it hails for the second time in 11 years on the river and you have to get in the water to protect yourself against the gumball size pellets.
21. The first time you have the option to shower in two weeks you opt not to because the river put you though a freaking washing machine