Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Practically a local.

I was cleaning out my 'quarantine unit' the other day and stumbled upon a letter my friend Nia wrote to me before I left. She had very sweetly researched 20 important facts about Uganda, and reading it now, I really wish I had studied it more thoroughly the first time around...would have saved me a great deal of confusion and embarrassment during my first couple of weeks here. Have taken some of Nia's list, and added some commentary of my own, to produce what I believe is a fairly comprehensive list of the best quirks of Ugandan culture:

Ugandans apparently like to know what business you will be dealing with the toilet. When you ask where the toilet is they ask you if it is for a long-call or short-call, basically do you need to go #1 or #2.
Imagine me repeating "No sir, I'm looking for the toilet, not the telephone!"...embarrassing.

Pick-pockets in Kampala are beat to the ground, then stripped naked in public as punishment.
I've witnessed this mob-justice mentality twice now. In Uganda, petty theft 'aint so petty.

Boda Boda's (motorcycle's for hire) are the scariest thing ever.
Bodas are essentially motorcycle taxis. During rush-hour (which never really seems to end in Kampala) they're far faster than the mini-buses since they can weave through even the tightest congestion. However, literally every second spent on the back of one feels like it might be your last. Speeds of 120km/h + pot holes that would be better described as craters + thick black exhaust fumes impairing your vision and oxygen supply= final destination. Even scarier is the manner in which some chose to ride the bodas. ie. One woman was sitting side-saddle with a baby in one hand, and a chicken in the other.

Ridin' Dirty

Chameleon, one of the most famous Ugandan rappers, is NOT the same as Chamillionaire.
Took me a month to figure out why nobody knew Chameleon's hit song "Ridin' Dirty".

Uganda has many banana plantations and you can make many products from bananas including banana wine. Matooke is a staple in Uganda.. and its basically cooked Banana.
I've been told that there are about five varieties of banana you can buy here varying in size, color and taste. I've yet to try Banana wine, but if it's anything like the Sugar Cane liquor I tried the other day, it's guaranteed to burn a hole straight though my liver.

Peanuts are known as "Ground Nuts"
G-nut sauce is served on everything; rice, beef, chicken, fish, matooke, ect.

Winston Churchill once called Uganda "the pearl of Africa".
And Kampala is called the City of 7 Hills (though has over time grown to cover about 10 hills)...the Hollywood of Africa. In town if you ask for directions, you'll often get instructions of 'up' or 'down' rather than right or left.
Hill after hill after hill = some spectacular views, and tight glutes

1 $US = 2850 Ugandan Shillings.
Easy to feel like a baller when your wallet is lined with 10,000 dolla bills.


  1. ruhi, it's jo! as in the jo who danced with you with a cloud ball in fuzion. not to sound like a creeper, but I found your blog. I love your stories, they're too hilarious and brings joy to my mundane office life. =)

  2. That's certainly a spectacular view by my standards!! haha.