On Saturday December 21st, 2013, I arrived in Uganda. Isaac from Beacon of Hope picked me up at the airport and here I got my first surprise. In the information that had been sent to me before my trip, the following is stated:
“If you’ve been introduced, or are greeting someone you have previously met, greetings also start with a hand shake, it’s not appropriate to kiss and hug a Ugandan in public. (Hugging ONLY for people of the same sex or the elites only but not the local village people)”
But Isaac gave me a big hug – a surprisingly warm welcome. Or were we elites?
Then, we drove to Mukono where they have their office. As this was my first time in Africa, everything was new to me. So I started with some quick (blurry) shots from the car before falling asleep. Naturally, I knew things about Africa and Uganda, but knowing facts and feeling it are different things.
First, there are lots of people moving around on the roads basically everywhere. The traffic is crazy and might be a blog post of its own but alongside the motor vehicles there are people by foot and by bike or a combination of the two. Bikes are commonly used to load with whatever you’d want to transport and then dragged because there is no longer space to actually ride the bike.
Second, there are small businesses close to the roads, often located in simple buildings, carefully hand painted with logotypes or other messages. Many of them are similar to each other but still appear personal.
I didn’t dare to take pictures of people, really, and snapshots from a car rarely become big successes, but a few of my very first shots can be seen below. Not many people in these, but believe me, there was a lot of life.
In Mukono, I got my bed for the night and made myself temporarily at home. Met the friendly employees and had a meal. Made my first visit to a hole-in-the-ground toilet (I don’t count the thai style squat toilets – they’re luxury), learned how to take a shower/bath African style (using containers) and went for a nap that lasted until midnight.
On the next day I joined one of the employees to church and went to the orphanage where I would spend my three weeks. The latter will be the next blog post.