Definition of Muzungu: Any foreign person that is not from Uganda.
When we first arrived in Uganda, we heard the local children shouting “Muzungu” at us. When we walked to town, groups of children ran towards us screaming this and caught us by surprise. The expression is an acknowledgement that we are different from them and that they are excited to see us. To say the least, we were pleased by the warm welcome. Since our arrival here, there has been a lot for us to learn and adjust to. There have been many challenges that we have faced, including the language barrier and adjusting to the local customs and lifestyle. Most of the people here only speak Luganda, the local language, and English is very uncommon. Still, a few of the staff members at the Uganda Rural Fund do speak English and have served as our translators and have been able to teach us conversational phrases in Luganda. We are still learning more of the language, but are picking it up slowly.
Additionally, adjusting to the living conditions has been a challenge. The three of us have been staying in one small room and have had to adjust to several things such as using a mosquito net every night, and going to the bathroom in an outdoor latrine. While it has been difficult for us to adapt to these conditions, our hosts have been very supportive and encouraging day by day, and we are getting used to it. We have also had to adjust to the customs and cultural norms of the region. For one thing, animals roam free as they please. The family that we are staying with has chickens, roosters, pigs, goats, cows and other animals. We have had to get used to their presence, and one day we found one of the chickens trotting into our bedroom, so now we keep our door locked. Also, one of the customs that we were taught during our first meeting here is that in Ugandan culture, time is relative and only a suggestion. In Uganda, being late to meetings is acceptable and forgiven since it is understood that circumstances arise which cause people to be late. As our first week comes to a close, we are doing a good job of adjusting and learning these practices.
As of yesterday, we have started our work on building the goat house. We are digging holes for the posts of the structure and as soon as the funds arrive for the project to begin we’re going to gain headway by purchasing the goats. So far it has been very interesting and educational to live the local customs and way of life, and every day we continue to learn more.
Until next time,
Bye (Lugandan for Bye)
UF and Davidson
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