Friday, September 16, 2011

Join us on a ride to work!

I thought it would be fun to get some video that would show how a typical day's commute to campus while living in Kampala. Here is what I got!

The first video is near our house and the roundabout you will see is at a place called Nakulabye.

This second video shows what it is like to get through a typical intersection, with no traffic lights!

This clip shows how efficient it is to use a Boda in Kampala. Take note of all the cars we pass on the left. If I were to take a taxi or drive a car, it would take a long time to get accross town. Also, towards the end of this video you will see the main gate to Makerere University (Main Campus). Since the profs are on strike there, we were traveling to Makerere Business School, which is open.

This next video is great because it shows a mom with here two young children on a Boda, as well as us going onto the "sidewalk" to get by the traffic.

This video shows one of my favourite parts of this journey. We are all stopped at a roundabout as the traffic officer allows the people entering Kampala from the north to enter. As soon as he signals them to stop, all of the about 20 or so Boda's along with some cars start at the same time. It is like the start of the Boston Marathon! And their off!

This last video shows some of the landscape of Kampala. Kampala is said to be built on seven hills. It is quite amazing to see all the houses on the hills.

And there you have it. A typical commute to work in Kampala!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reflections on 3 weeks in Africa

As of today, we have been in Kampala for 3 weeks.

  • Riding around town on a boda boda
  • Watching Manchester United on the TV in my living room
  • Getting a power inverter so that when the main power goes out, we have a backup
  • Having "househelp" who cleans. She makes our bed so well that it is like living in a hotel... but it is your own house
  • Vanessa's amazing cooking. I had low expectations for food because of all the rice and skimpy chicken I have eaten in Africa in the past. But Vanessa has made amazing food that it has felt like we are still at home in Canada.
  • The way Noah and Jude have adapted to life in Africa so well
  • Praying, singing, and fellowshiping with the local Life Ministry (Campus for Christ) staff. 

  • The loud music from the nearby Guest house every once in a while at night.
  • Having people call out "Mzungu" at least once every time we go out in the town or nearby market
  • Generally feeling like an outsider in the culture as people stare at you because of your skin colour
  • Having to try to barter for a fair price for taxi or boda because people try to take advantage of you because you are white
  • Trying to balance between wanting to get a fair price in bartering, but also keeping in mind that I have so much more than the person I am bartering with, and so getting overcharged isn't the end of the world.
General Observations on Money and Comfort
  • Living in Africa is very good for my soul. It is clear to me daily that I have a lot of wealth compared to most people. I do not have to worry about where my next meal is going to come from. This has made me very grateful to God for all that He has given me. In Canada, I am often coveting other people because they have more than me, but it is plain to me here that in comparison to the average person on planet earth, I am stinkin' rich. 
  • I often want to complain because things are harder for me here. I only have cold water for my shower. I don't have a car. I have to worry more about my safety. There are no proper sidewalks where I want to walk. Chairs are less comfortable. And so on. But then I remember that this is how most people in the world live. Canada's comforts are more the exception than Africa's discomforts are, as far as the majority of the world is concerned. 
I know that I will go through ups and downs emotionally as I engage with a new culture. In general I am fairly even-keeled, and I expect that to be challenged this year. But overall I would not trade my spot in life for anything else. To know that you are right where God wants you is worth any price. God is going to teach me so many things being here.