Because I hadn’t gotten my work permit here yet (through no fault of my own), I had to leave Rwanda for a few days and re-enter. Hence, I ventured to Uganda. Travel alone to another country to stay with a friend of a friend but a stranger to me? Sure! These days I feel I can handle most knew things. So off I went on the 10 hour bus ride, which really wasn’t bad. Stopping at the border proved to have no hiccups, and I got through just fine into Uganda after paying a fee of course. I arrived at 4 in the morning, picked up by Yusuf, the brother of one of the directors of the school. We took a moto down to the village outside of the capital of Kampala where his family owns a lot of rooms for rent.
Day 1: The renters there in the village eye me carefully, but are kind enough not to shout “muzungu!” In fact, it is Ugandan culture for women and girls to have to kneel on the ground to greet their elders. Thus, about 4 different little girls come and kneel before me in the dirty mud. Though I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to have the opposite effect, this humbles me. Who am I that you should be dirtening yourself for my sake?! The little feminist in me is upset that this cultural norm is only for females, but that’s not my battle I suppose. As a foreigner, I was not expected to participate in this norm. We walked around the village area, which is huge compared to mine, but also much dirtier. Rwanda is so clean compared to most countries in Africa.
Day 2: Went into Kampala, the capital city. It’s very developed. Half the time I felt like I was in Rwanda, and half the time I felt like I was in the US, though neither of them feeling just the same. I even saw a very short overpass! I ate some American food, but to be honest all but the ice cream was pretty disappointing. No one seems to know how to cook it right. I asked for extra sauce on my pizza, and the waiter was very confused. After explaining that no, I was not talking about having ketchup on the side, I was talking about adding more of the tomato sauce when they made the pizza. Yeah, I ended up with a nearly no sauce pizza and two cups of ketchup on the side. *Sigh* But I did try a new food called jackfruit which was yummy! I also got to visit Amy, another CTEN missionary who is working in Kampala. She showed me around the slum she works and we got to catch up a bit and that was really nice.
Day 3: Went into the city once more, got excited to see a few Christmas trees. Traveled by moto but there they put like 3-4 people on a moto (motorcycle taxi) at one time, all with no helmet, which seems like a bad idea…haha. Then went to the downtown market, and struggled to make it out alive. Ok, not really, but those people are shameless venders. They’ll scream at you, and physically force you into their store. I think they need a lesson in customer service. Yusuf and I left there exhausted.
Didn’t do anything too touristy, for lack of time and money and transport. But I met some nice people, got to see Amy, and bought a sweater. However, the most important part of the trip for me was the unexpected feeling I got when I entered back into Rwanda. I just got so excited to be home. I jumped giddily over the border and smiled all through customs. Whizzing by signs in kinyarwanda, the beautiful clean and quiet hills that are my country, I just felt in my heart a renewed sense of my call. Yes, I heard God remind me, these are the people I need you serving still.