You going to Uganda? That’s awesome. It’s not everyone who does. Heck, it wasn’t even on my radar until a month before I landed at Entebbe Airport.
Uganda is a unique, mixed place. There is the good: the food, the open arms, the smiles, the clothing, the dancing, the generosity, the Nile, the animals… But there is also the bad.
I want to share both sides, because that is the reality in this country. Just as in everything, there truly is not light without the dark, and Uganda has a lot of both.
Let us start with the good, shall we?
The People & Hospitality: I feel I have family in Uganda after spending three weeks there. David, the always smiling unofficial mayor/father/best friend/uncle/jokester/savior of the town, who opened his home to us for a never ending meal of traditional vegetarian fare shared by him and his family. Then there is Edward, a man so easy going yet hard working, as he relentlessly pursues a solution to the effects of climate change in Uganda. Mousa, at left with his family, was a welcome addition with his quite demeanor and patience with our questions surrounding his Muslim faith and the traditions of his country. These are only a few of the many wonderful people who showed me what Ugandan hospitality is all about.
The Food: SO. MUCH. FOOD. When we travel for these planting trips, our hosts know we are all vegans, so it makes things much easier….and tastier. Most traditional foods throughout the world are mainly vegetables anyway, so it makes for some seriously fine dining.
We ate bananas of every shape and form, from boiled for breakfast with cucumbers, tomatoes, & onions, to fried and smothered in peanut sauce for lunch, to steamed in their own leaves in a mound for dinner. We ate avocados, jackfruit, guava, melons, oranges, papaya, squash, pumpkin, salads, soups, and all sorts of delicious fare, all served in portion sizes that will rival ANY all-you-can-eat buffet in the US.
You can read more about the specifics and recipes I brought back from Uganda in another post, here.
The Clothes, Dancing, Culture, & Energy:
Uganda was full of life. We enjoyed dancing, playing soccer, laughing, running, eating, planting trees, colorful clothing, educational talks, community celebrations and simple strolls through rural villages. Rather than rambling away, I will instead do my best to show you what it felt like to be there….
I will leave it at that for now. There is much more to be said, so I am separating my trip out into a few posts. I will discuss our venture to the source of the Nile, the attack of baboons at Murchinson Falls, a charging of a bull elephant on the safari, and our day of tracking chimpanzees all at a later time. So stay tuned for all the posts to come about the wonderful parts of Uganda, as well as my counter piece to this post about the not-so-light-hearted side of this complex yet beautiful country.