A few weekends back I moved to Western Uganda to begin assessing the needs for bridges in the region. Before beginning my work, I took a mini vacation with some friends from the University of Colorado.
We got to see chimpanzees, elephants, hippos, baboons, red tailed monkeys (also called Tropical Raccoons according to Ken), buffalo, and a Professor (Karl Linden).
1st and 3rd Photo Credit: Karl Linden
What was really cool, was getting to see a vastly different terrain (what I envision the safaris on the African Sahara to look like) and all kinds of wild life crossing the road on our way to see the chimpanzees. We did not go on a safari, we just bumped into all these animals!
It was wonderful to catch up with my friends and talk about our different experiences before they flew back to the United States. However, seeing the “city of white faces” for the first time was startling for me. Fort Portal is a huge tourist destination for Uganda. In addition, many Ugandans have told me about how the western region receives much more aid than the eastern region (where I had been working). I went from bumping into only one other NGO on one day of the three months I had been in Uganda… to seeing roads lined with NGO offices in Fort Portal. What was even more startling, was starting my work in Bundibugyo and not seeing any NGOs there; I did not realize all of these resources would (at least appear to) be concentrated in one city.
Uganda has over 40 different languages and even more tribes. Each tribe having its own culture. Moving to the west is very exciting. It seems to be a flirtatious culture in Bundibugyo; different random men tell me they love me every day and blow me kisses. Instead of being hailed “Muzungu” wherever I go, people will yell “Mister”. Children even run up to me and touch my arms.
People use the English language slightly differently here than in the east. However, some things remain the same. “Suborn” is still used for an energetic child that is not doing what their parent desires. “Disturb” is still used for when the wind blows your hair the wrong way, or a child interrupts you. “Extend” is still used to tell you to move over and make room for other people to sit. People still have the same relaxed since of time. People still purse their lips to point and waggle their eyebrows to say yes, but they also grunt “mmhm” to say yes. Of course, the most important similarity is that people still love to laugh.
The nature here is absolutely jaw dropping gorgeous. Where I compare the Eastern mount Elgon range to the Smokey Mountains. I compare the western Rwenzori range to the Rocky Mountains. Of course, I will never betray one of the aforementioned mountain ranges by declaring a favorite. They are all uniquely beautiful. Side note: I have seen more waterfalls in the East, but I imagine I just have not found those hidden treasures in the East yet.
West VS East