How I have changed while in Africa…

(1) My life-style and perception of life in Uganda has changed drastically since coming to Uganda for the second time. My first trip to Uganda was as a volunteer.

Meaning my length of stay had a beginning, middle, and end. I was awed at the lack of organization, initiative to create change, and innovation. Many of these skills are not taught and encouraged in Uganda as they are in the western world. Acknowledging these setback motivated me to come back.

 

Now I can see no one person can come and organize, and innovate to create long lasting positive change. These skills must be taught to Ugandan’s over and over and over again. Most schools in Uganda rely on repetition and so shall I.

 

(2) I no longer paint my toes, care if I smell, pick my nose, or fart around others. It is liberating in some ways and completing disgusting in other ways. How am I to care about my appearance if I am too busy worrying how we are short 20,000 UGX in accounting? How am I to remember who I need to pay or how many necklaces we are buying if my tummy is rumbling. You just have to let one rip.

 

(3) I cannot remember what it is like to wear cute heels, boots and stockings, layers of skirts, blouses. Amber brought me one pair of heels, which are now collecting dust. I used to switch between wedges, gold heels, and ankle boots. Now I wear Chaco’s. How can I wear insensible, cute shoes when they could potentially lead to my death? i.e. Slipping in mud and falling, slipping on the streets and getting hit by a car, slipping on the grass and whacking my head and dying or simply twisting my ankle. My sensible side has officially taken over, even though I do find time to wear my purple jeans. I long for the days of walking down the streets of New York City with my gold heels, purple dress, and black clutch.

 

(4) I think very, very hard about being sensitive to others. New York is not sensitive. We are cut throat. Eat or be eaten. No one cares about your feelings. They only care about what that person can do to benefit them. I did not like that about New York but on the other extreme being sensitive is exhausting. Tones, body language, eye contact and using full “nice” sentences are not my strong suit. I will admit pointing at objects and saying, “cup, please” while not doing another task is not very sensitive

to others but durn it… Don’t be so durn sensitive. But I am working very hard on trying to understand where people come from and how they perceive things. I think the key is to in general take your time, especially while speaking to others. It is also ok to stop and say, “That did not come out how I planned. Let me say that again.”

 

(5) I really love tomatoes, red onions, eggplant, and goat.

 

(6) I think what has changed the most about me in the past couple of months is my forethought into the future. I am not sure where I will be this time next year. There are many possibilities. I fear not knowing what the next year will bring. I do know that whatever does come I will be prepared and ready for any challenge.

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