Days in Africa (Part 1)

Now that we have been in Uganda for 6 months, many of the things that came as a shock or caught us guard have now become the norm. I kept a list of the many different things we deal with on a daily basis. Here are many unique things we’ve encountered, all for your reading pleasure…

  • No electricity makes for sweaty and restless sleep because you can hear EVERYTHING with windows open and no fan to drown out the sounds… A fan makes a world of difference, and not just for the cool breeze! And windows being open all the time makes for a VERY dusty house.
  • Washing dishes by hand at least 3 times a day in order to keep the dishes from piling up and getting ants on them. Also, everything is made from scratch so there are tons more dishes with each meal. And washing dishes with cool water is not that big of a deal. =)IMG_6836
  • Rat visitors that eat our food reminds us to put food in plastic containers – that’s ALOT of plastic containers…
  • Having to go to the bathroom changes at night when you’re afraid of encountering rats in your house…
  • The initial shock of finding dead rats, then killing them, becomes more normal and there’s the feeling of victory. (Are you picking up on a trend here with the whole rat thing?)
  • We quickly ignored the small bugs in the house and only focused on removing/killing the big ones…
  • Explaining to Adalyn that there are good bugs like geckos & small spiders and bad bugs that sting like ants & bees. We keep the good ones, call them our friends, and wage war on the bad bugs. Oh, and we don’t touch dead things. Haha!
  • Ants are everywhere…in the pantry, roaming on the floor, in the bathtub, on the walls outside…EVERYWHERE!IMG_6896
  • Putting food scraps in a small trash can with a lid to keep critters away until we can dump it into a large trash pit dug in our backyard. And burning the rest of the trash, which can be a suffocating smell. Then sometimes cleaning up the maggots that are covering the trash can…Yuck!
  • We took out 1 million Ugandan shillings from an ATM, equivalent to about $300. EVERYTHING is cash based – no credit cards or receipts.
  • Standing in line for an hour to get new cell phone numbers, and that’s the “white person” wait. (No appointments – haha)
  • You don’t take large bills to the market because it’s really crowded and they don’t have change more than a few thousand shillings, so you could be waiting for at least 15 minutes while they go around to different vendors getting change.
  • Bargaining to buy fresh fish, literally caught that day.
  • Going to 3 grocery stores to find an item you’re looking for and still not finding it… Grocery shopping isn’t browsing to see the optionIMG_5906s. It’s going in, getting a few items and leaving. It’s too crowded to just look and the options are very limited. They may have a product this week, but it won’t be there next week, so buy it when you see it. And there’s no real line to pay for things. You just have to elbow your way to the front and box out anyone who tries to get in front of you. All that to say, grocery shopping is a different adventure here!
  • Shopping at Game in Kampala is just as frustrating as shopping at Walmart in the US!
  • The water bill says you can pay online but it really means standing in a long line at the bank. Awesome.IMG_6420
  • At a table outside the supermarket, I paid 100,000 Ugandan shillings for my electricity that will last a little more than a week to load on the meter in our house. And sometimes the machine is down, doesn’t have receipt paper or doesn’t have enough electricity available, so we have to come back another time to get electricity.
  • Waking up to no electricity and no water still catches us by surprise… Electricity is a novelty – charge electronics when it’s on because who knows when it’ll go out for a few days. And be flexible when the electricity shuts off while preparing a meal or having to rewash a load of laundry 3 times because the electricity keeps turning off and leaving the load half washed.
  • Having the lights go out in the middle of dinner or having a lightbulb explode. Or going to a restaurant for dinner and the place has no electricity so ordering is limited and dinner is by candlelight. Romantic, right?IMG_6565
  • The simple act of washing feet before bed is very refreshing and much needed!
  • Having urinary tract infections and stomach infections because the amount of bacteria in the water. Eek!
  • Having to wash the water canister that purifies water and having to adjust it until the water flows correctly. And still having dirt settle on the bottom of your drinking water. Yum!
  • Washing/peeling/chopping vegetables from the marketIMG_6613 takes over an hour to be prepared to eat. But then there’s the joy of pulling vegetables from your own garden.
  • The beautiful scenery never seems to get boring!

To be continued…


2 thoughts on “Days in Africa (Part 1)

  1. Wow! How amazing….and Rats… bugs…eeekkkk…. be safe… continued prayers for your family! 🙂 makes me be thankful for the little things in life


  2. Thank you for posting your daily challenges in Uganda. Truly remarkable!!! It makes your sacrifice very real to those of us who are spoiled by comfort and convenience and would, otherwise, have no idea what it is like living there. Appreciate so much more the work you are doing. God Bless


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