I must say the people of Uganda shine with kindness and openness. Everyone we met welcomed our small group into their homes, invited us for dinner, wanted to share their life stories with me, and were overall very friendly.
One evening, we went to dinner at this older lady’s home. She cooked the food in a huge pot over the open flame in the back yard. Which probably took her hours and hours to cook. She dished the food onto the big plates, almost like she tried to replicated mountains by piling that much food onto them. Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a small person. Imagine this pile, or mountian of food, on my plate that I can barely lift. I ate about a handful of food to where you could almost see to the bottom of the plate; as soon as she could see the plate she grabbed it to fill in the gap.
Another woman I met lived among a village a bit away from Kampala. Her name was Margaret and looked young – maybe 5 years older than me at the time. She brought me into her home and gave me a tour. A bed mattress sat upright onto the wall and she glowed with pride as she showed me that she had one. Next she told me her life story as I flipped through a photo album. Margaret joined an African singing group as a child that traveled around the United States, she told me how they were supposed to act and dress, and that the guy who ran the group treated them all horribly. She left the group and went back to living in Uganda.
The reason we went to Africa was to help the church that my pastors had built a relationship with. The church construction had large openings for the doors, the chairs were long pieces of wood with no backs, animals would roam around it while peaking in during a service. People would walk miles out of there way to go to church in the morning. During the services, children would sit as close as they could to you – like they do in Mexico – which never made too much sense to me, because they are super hot places. Here in the United States, the last thing you want on a hot humid day is someone being too close to you.
Funny enough, the children would gently poke my skin or touch my hair, only because it looked different or it’s a rarity for that part of the world.
One of the best things about traveling includes meeting people from the country you visit. When you meet the locals, you really get to know the culture, hear some interesting stories, and really learn about the place you traveled thousands of miles to get to.