By Carlos Delgado ’16
My experience here in Uganda continues to amaze me. Uganda is the only other country I’ve visited other than Mexico. As a child, I traveled throughout Mexico yearly to visit family. I had the great pleasure of visiting the Nile River in Jinja over the past few days. I also visited Lake Victoria with Bill, Courtney, and Joe. Both places were astoundingly beautiful.
The trip is great. Communication with the Ugandan’s tends to be a little challenging. Although English is the official language of Uganda, there are little
differences in the language since they speak “the Queen’s English.” A lot tends to be lost in translation due to different accents and word usage, which has led to some hilarious scenarios. The traffic, or what the locals refer to as “the Jahm,” is very tough at times. One can spend hours trying to move past a few blocks. The traffic is due to the rapid economic growth of Uganda and the large amounts of cars and motorcycles being purchased while the government has yet to expand the one or two lane roads they have around the city. I found it a lot easier to just walk to work and get a nice dose of exercise.
Uganda is a very laid-back and relaxed country. “The Ugandan pace,” as Bill calls it, is a lot slower than most Americans are used to. I sort of enjoy it. The people here do not seem to be in much of hurry and are very nice. Ugandans tend to be genuinely caring and welcoming to us, Mazungu (or outsiders). It is actually very safe to walk around the city, besides possibly being ran over by a few motorcycles here and there. Hundreds of motorcyclists lend their transportation services for a very cheap price, similar to the taxis in the U.S., which leads to a great increase in motorcycle accidents in Kampala.
Kampala is a memorable city. One can be walking down the road and feel as if they’re in a major city with tall skyscrapers and nice hotels, but if you go down a few blocks you’ll see houses made of clay and thin metal sheets with people on the side of the roads with several injuries and illnesses. It’s very humbling to see people on the side of the road without limbs and makes you feel grateful for the little things you have like health, legs, and easy access to medicine or clean water.
The trip is a great way of introducing oneself to another culture and it allowed me to visit a world which I had never believed I would ever see. Growing up I learned about Uganda and Africa and never thought I would be able to see it first-hand. Sometimes I have to stop to think about how unbelievable this entire experience is. I look forward to sharing more about my journey with you again.