My Uganda experience was equal parts tourist and local. I went to visit my friend M, who has been living in Kampala for the past year. She showed me her life, which is acutely divided between her ex-pat lifestyle and her Ugandan lifestyle. She has friends in both circles, and she lives her day to day right in the middle.
This was my first time in Africa, and I had the loveliest experience. Ugandans are so kind and although riding a Boda was incredibly stressful, the country didn’t feel as foreign as I thought it would. In fact, parts of it felt very familiar. Including being stopped by police for no reason and having to argue with the “sebo” over a bribe- don’t worry we didn’t end up giving one, or getting a ticket….
For one night we also ventured into Murchison Falls where we stayed in a lodge right next to the Nile and did an early Game Drive through the park. This was also my first Safari experience and I was surprised by how moved I was by seeing all these animals coexisting in the wild. I was also overwhelmed when a baby rat (which was briefly confused for a baby “vampire”) fell from the ceiling of our room. Panic followed as I announced that “it’s a mammal!”, and worse when it’s momma came looking for it. I guess that’s what you get when you lodge inside a State Park.
En route to Murchison Falls, we stopped by a White Rhino sanctuary, where the first male and female rhinos were donated from Kenya and the US respectively. Therefor, the sanctuary named their very first offspring Obama (Kenyan dad, American mom- get it?). I have so much respects for this animals and getting to see them up close and personal was such a treat.
I walk away from this trip with an appreciation for Ugandan pork BBQ, the beauty of the contrast of the red color of the earth with the intense green of the foliage, and saying “thank you too” instead of “you’re welcome”.