Friday, January 16, 2009

FEELING LIKE A LOCAL

Well, this is my second trip to Uganda in 6 months and I'm starting to get it.   Here's why I feel a little bit like a local lately.

  • FRIENDS:  I have friends downtown and around town.  Artists we've bought work from, drivers we've hired, places we eat, people we've worked with in the villages and orphanages, tried and true freinds I've done some life with for weeks on end.  I'm being stopped and noticed by name.  It's kinda fun to live in a small townish context. 
  • BODA CONFIDENCE:  One of the modes of transportation around Uganda is a sea of moped/motorcycles that will take you anywhere you want to go for a fee.  They are constantly asking if you want a ride.  I now know how to tell them no and how to get one via a simple glance of the eye or tip of my hand if the answer is yes.  My claim to fame is today I got a man to bring us 4 boda's to take all 8 of us to dinner without saying a word to him while he was going the opposite way at 20 mph.  He left, went out of sight around the corner and then came back with 3 friends a couple of minutes later.  So each adult piled on and then sandwiched a kid between us and the driver- just like the locals do- and off we went to dinner.  So much fun.  I even got my driver's cell phone # so that I could get him to come back for us when dinner was over.  Woo hoo!
  • BARTERING:  I've begun to barter better.  Sometimes I just pay the full price to be nice or because I want to make an impression after I haggle with them and tell them I'm going to let them win.  But today, when I landed the boda rides, I haggled for the price first.  I was stoked that we payed more than the locals but less than the gullable tourist.  Score.
  • LANGUAGE:  Because this time 50% of my roommates speak Lugandan, I'm learning the language more out of necesity.  I'm enjoying myself and can tell my kids several key phrases or words.  I'm still not anything close to fluent and constantly wish Uganda's national language was Spanish, but I'm scraping away at it.
  • PARENTING:  Being the parent of two local kids who are also known around the community through school and orphanage workers and such has been fun too. They are loved and noticed as we go by stores and shops.   Shannon met their teacher one day.  We've met classmates and neighbors and more.   (Side note:  My daughter lost a tooth today her brother fell and bonked his head while running.  Both were a little tramatic for a few minutes for them and gave us a random chance to comfort them and help them get back to a state of normalcy.  That too makes you feel like you really are the parent these kids need.)
Tomorrow we go to my sisters in Kampala for a day to hang out and get the lay of the land.  We're going to be staying at their house an using their friendship network for the last 2 weeks here- starting the middle of next week.   Should be fun.   Maybe by the time we leave there, we'll be "locals" in two cities in Uganda :). 

2 comments:

Amy 10:47 AM  

Living vicariously through you guys. Maybe this will be us one day......
Maybe.

bub 11:21 AM  

I know I said this before on your facebook, but thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. It's like the most awesome story. I find myself eagerly awaiting every next post and picture. Sending many prayers your family's way.

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