I would like to share with you a bit of what daily life has been like for me during my time here in Uganda. But before I do this I want to share with you what our different lenses can have us focus on.
One of our dear friends here, Joel, is a gifted photographer. One night when we were out together he was amusing us with the different subject matter that we use for our photos. I have pictures of bodas (motorbikes that are a main form of transport), pictures of rough dirt roads and many pictures of the children we met during our ministry.
What catches my eyes as I walk down the street? In Kampala I was facinated by the taxi park; hundreds of mini-vans making their way in to the park, three a breast in the street, at a stand still waiting for other taxis to head out from the park. At least a thousand taxis sat in the park and I wondered how they ever left again with taxis parking one another in. For them it is an ordinary day at work and the system seems to have an order to it that my mind just couldn’t quite comprehend.
In Jinja town I have passed more than one shop front that has made me ask the question what form of business it actually is and how they manage to keep their shop when all they seem to be is a group of four or five men sitting around talking to one another all day.
I am always amazed at the ingenuity of the people and what they find to make a craft out of. For example, restoring used shoes, making furniture out of scraps of wood, or the boda repair stands displaying various new seat covers.
On our way back to Jinja from Kampala we stopped by a road-side market so our driver could get out and purchase bananas. The number of times our driver had already stopped on the drive to make personal purchases was a foreign concept to me but at this stop our taxi was bombarded by 20+ individuals all waving fruit, vegetables, meat sticks and soft drinks in our faces through the window. They remained at our taxi only until the next vehicle pulled up and then all but those with an interested passenger rushed off to vie for the attention of the next car.
Above are just a few of the images that stand out in my mind where I have had experiences different to what I would be faced with when in Australia. So what about Ugandans? What was Joel laughing at us for? What do they find different? For starters most of the people I’ve talked to here about pets find the concept amusing, even more so that many of us view our pets as part of the family. Joel said he would find a pet cat sleeping someone’s bed in the home worth a picture. After all, who allows an animal sleep on their bed?
Another close friend, Collines, told us to our embarrasement that when on tour with Invisible Children in the USA she was pulled aside on a number of occasions by well-meaning people instructing her on flushing a toilet and turning on a tap. She said she politely thanked them, feigning prior ignorance on how to operate these utilites. I feel she handles this with far more grace then I have when people here have stated that I can’t ‘foot it’ because I am white (aka that I wouldn’t walk from place (a) to place (b)). I find it amusing but also frustrating the concept some of them have here of what us Westerners are able to do and what we can’t do. But then I hear the stories of friends like Collines and Joel and I am forced to acknowledge that I am often just as unjust to them.
So please keep this in mind as you read through the next couple of blogs on the things that stand out to me here to do with daily life. I’m going to try and share mainly abut what is different but I know that it is no more than simply not bing used to these ways. What I chose to take photos of will naturally differ from what others would capture if in that same place at the same time.