Kampala, A Bustling City

by Amizade Global Service-Learning

Our hotel is a nice respite from the chaos that is center city, Kampala. We have ventured into the heart of the city twice now, and even the students admit it is difficult to explain the experience in words only. People are everywhere, vehicles are everywhere (on the road, on the sidewalks, in the shoulders), and there is much to take in. Personally, I will feel much more at home in Karagwe where the most common sounds are those of farm animals… cows, goats, chickens, the lone roaster crying to wake up everyone when the sun rises. But, for now, we are enjoying the toilets, large supply of chips (french fries), and variety of stores available in Urban Africa.

Carly and Sarah arrived in Entebbe around 10pm last Thursday, and have been excited to see all that they can since their arrival. They loved seeing the bustle of Kampala and enjoyed the craft market we visited yesterday. I had to remind them that they would have some time in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, and would end their stay in East Africa in Kampala- so there is plenty of time to buy touristy things. The fact that we will all be returning to the States right around Christmas time lends a good excuse for buying African souvenirs for all of our friends and family.

Our newcomers have been anxious to learn the culture and have picked up instantly on some obvious differences from our own culture. Seeing two men holding hands as they walk down the street is a common sight, while public displays of affection between a man and woman are few and far between. Greetings are an essential element of every interaction. Pedestrians do not have the right of way, and must always be attentive and nimble. A dinner scheduled for 7:30pm might get you food by 8:15pm. Once we are settled in Karagwe, Carly and Sarah will easily observe the more subtle aspects of this culture also.

Today, we have planned to visit the Entebbe Zoo and explore Entebbe a bit before receiving Isabel tonight around 10pm at the airport. Tomorrow, we head back to Tanzania to settle in at Misha Guest House and begin our work. The students will begin their Swahili classes with Mwalimu Rachel and learning about Sustainable Development with me. Until then, we are enjoying our time in Uganda’s capitol.