One morning I found a station on a walkman. The DJ discussed the differences in the English accents. For each accent, someone would mimic each culture. For the Australian, they would say “good day mate.” The British tended toward the proper speech. Then they portrayed the American English as: yo yo dude, what’s up, like all of us are gangsta homeboys.
I learned on this trip to Africa, that when you leave your country, you can really see how others view the United States and see things in our own country you never saw before from living within. Here in the United States, we have life pretty easy in regards to basic needs. In Uganda, they don’t have running water in most of their homes, their houses are of bricks out of mud that they made themselves, and the bathroom is a hole in the ground in a shack. Going to Africa makes you appreciate all that we take for granted.
Another aspect of the States that I missed: strict driving laws. In Uganda, you would be better off with a blindfold so you can’t see the crazy weaving in and out of oncoming traffic – especially in the dark when the headlights appear as a few yards away. I’m surprised in the vans we took, that our hand prints weren’t permanently crested on the back of the seats in front of us – from holding on for our lives.
Houses line the road and go as deep as the eye can see. There seemed to be no end for how deep their neighborhoods went. One of the various times I roamed through the neighborhoods of the countryside, I just couldn’t believe that I got to be so engaged in a culture. I got to see what typical tourists would never see. I walked along the dirt roads of Uganda, meet countless individuals of the country, ate with them, and got to see how this population really lived.
Some houses were no bigger than a dog house with legs laying outside it while the person napped inside. Others could be a size of half a tennis court with a several rooms. I’m not saying that every single home in Uganda was made of brick and no one had running water – only a lucky handful outside the city got the luxury of what we call home necessities.
Neighbors really get to know each other, people would hang out by the roads, and children would get together and play. People there, truly appreciate everyone they know and everything they have. I found that they have a true appreciation for life and knowing what’s important; this is a culture we could learn a few things from.