Travels: Uganda Trip 2019 – Episode 3

Uganda Trip 2019 – Episode 3:
Food & Drinks

2nd Day of summer school

I allowed myself to sleep 10 minutes longer as I didn’t expect us to leave on time given the experience of the first day. However, that day Rogers took the initiative to push for everybody to get onto the bus. We departed at 8:05! And we couldn’t believe it! Only 5 minutes late – managing this crowd would have been difficult even in Germany, where everybody liked to be on time. At least with this, Rogers set a  warning example that we do intend leave on time. Funnily enough, Isabel – a German girl – missed the bus and was taken by car with Norman (the Ugandan organiser).

During the 10 minute bus drive to the university campus we saw how much rubbish is lying around on the streets. There were also piles of rubbish on fire in order to get rid of it.

Before the lecture, Norman and me called the baggage office again and we got to know that my suitcase was now *really* expected to arrive with the next flight from Addis at 11:00. I still didn’t trust that information though and so I tried to track my suitcase online. For that one needs a 10 digit reference number and I realised my reference number was short of 5 digits plus the guy who filed those baggage delay documents never signed! Hence, Norman and me called again to get to know the right reference number. Now I could track my luggage – only that the system told me it didn’t know where on earth my luggage was. I got slightly nervous, but decided to trust that it will arrive with the next flight. We called the baggage office again around noon and indeed we got confirmation that it had arrived! Oh gosh, I was so relieved!! They promised to bring it to Masaka by 14:00 on the following day.

The lunches during the two weeks of ISSU were really delicious! They were provided as a buffet and t was a lot! One could always choose between several meet and veggie options, such as pumpkin, avocado, fried bananas, sweet potatoes etc.

Since Uganda was a Bristish colony, most Ugandans grow up with English as their “mother tongue”. They only learn their local language when they are an early teenager. The most dominant local language is “Luganda” spoken in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. I noticed that Ugandans pronounced certain English words differently to what I was used to: To me, “First” sounded like “fast, “corn” like “cone”, “expert” like “expat”, “church” like “judge” and “early” like the name “Ally”. Most of those words I could understand from the context, but there were some people that were more difficult for me to understand than others. It happened sometimes that we asked each other to repeat, since we didn’t understand each other. Overall the communication between Europeans and Africans worked out quite well though. Since we also were quite curious about our different background, cultures and traditions we had a lot of interesting conversations. I really enjoyed everything – from small talk to deep conversations, since a lot or Africans’ perspectives were totally new to me. In Europe I can get bored quickly, when chats only surround what somebody does for living and where one comes from. In Africa I didn’t get bored, since I could never predict what would come out of a conversation.

After the course finished for the day we attended a panel discussion. What I found curious while listening to the panel speakers and observing the audience was that (similarly to replying to “good morning”) participants would actually answer rhetorical questions. Also the speaker phrased those questions differently than in Europe. Instead of phrasing the rhetorical question like “what is …?” (the way I know it), they would say “This is the what?”, putting a lot of emphasis on the what. Then this question would be answered by the audience.

I was tired of moving around by bus all the time, so I gathered a few people who would walk back home with me. It was pitch-black outside, so we had to be careful not to step into a pothole. Crickets were chirping very loudly and I felt fully immersed in the nature. I totally enjoyed that walk that took as around half an hour.

3rd Day of summer school

In the coffee break at 10:30 I went down to the office of the ISSU organisers to call the baggage people once again in order to check whether my suitcase will arrive in time. As I entered, Marlene – one of the German ISSU organisers looked at me with a big smile on my face and stood up. I was a little confused, but the she pointed towards the corner of the room. And there it was already – my long awaited suitcase!! I ran there and couldn’t help hugging it.

3 days I waited for this suitcase to arrive!!
<Click image to enlarge>

It was a really nice compliment that several people told me that they are stunned at how I dealt with not having my luggage and not knowing when it would arrive. And indeed, I realised that normally I would have been much more stressed about it, but here I felt that there is nothing much I could do, apart from calling and hoping it won’t be lost. Actually, I was really grateful of how things turned out, since without a delayed baggage I would have never bonded with Pricky and Rogers so early on and wouldn’t have bought those nice African outfits!

This day turned out to be even more successful: The day before at lunch I asked if the caterer had any non-sugary fizzy drinks next to the sugary ones. They responded that they would buy some. I thanked them and told them that I and some other Germans would really appreciate it, but I didn’t keep my hopes up that they would actually do it. Only 1 day later, however, they served sugar-free Coca Cola at lunch!! And even the hotel bar had some Coca Cola Zero and sparkling water in stock after I told them the day before that I would buy 3 bottles every day if they offered those drinks. I was impressed by their super quick implementation!

The Diet Coke bottle looked the same as the normal one, only that “without sugar” was printed on the bottle next to the expiry date.
<Click image to enlarge>

Admittedly, having all my stuff by my side again and drinking sparkling drinks with food made me feel very at ease. (Yes, I confess, I am one of those Austrians who are sort of addicted to sparkling water! But Diet Coke does its job too 😉 .) There was, however, still something that was different about fizzy soft drinks – It turned out that Ugandans like their drinks at room temperature. At least at the hotel bar they served cold drinks, but everywhere else it was difficult to get decently cold drinks. That is something that I couldn’t get quite used to, but just had to accept. (I know, a luxury problem – but hey, I am not complaining here, just telling about my personal experiences 😉 ).

When I came back to the hotel, I noticed that the cleaning lady had thrown away my soap that I only used once. I talked to Marlene about it and she agreed that I would ask the receptionist to only give new soaps in case the old one was used up, to not waste resources. He agreed! I started feeling like such an activist 🙂

Click here to read the next episode of this Uganda Trip 2019 or navigate through the Table of Contents:

Table of Contents

  1. Prologue & Epilogue
  2. 29hrs from Berlin to Masaka
  3. First lecture & Shopping in Masaka
  4. Food & Drinks
  5. Ugandan Steam Bath & BBQ
  6. Off to Ssese islands
  7. A Nature Walk on Ssese Islands
  8. African Braids
  9. Kampala – Uganda’s Capital

Written by Julia Heuritsch in September 2019 | Last edited: 8th July 2022

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