Nervous, Anxious, Excited
That’s what I was feeling when I woke up the Sunday before our self-guided tour.
Get on a taxi, go to town, and stay alert
All things that we were told we had to do.
Talk to people, familiarize yourself, and enjoy
Explore, stay safe, and keep all of your belongings
All things I was trying to do while in Kampala.
We found ourselves being asked for money or the guy wouldn’t leave, being over charged because we were white, and trying to be switched to a new taxi while being fought over, and getting pushed onto an empty taxi ready to leave the second we got on. (The taxis are bigger vans so getting on an empty taxi isn’t safe)
In the midst of all these moments of unfamiliarity which turned into fear I found myself brave not giving into the overcharging or the harassment for money, speaking up for us and being surrounded by amazing Ugandans willing to help.
Despite my fear I found myself brave. The one thing I have been wanting to become through this Peace Corps Journey.
I found courage to be able to say you can’t treat us this way, still being kind but strong enough to stand up for us and not getting hurt in the process.
Don’t worry, the day was great, despite these hiccups.
We got to run in the rain, drink good coffee, eat “Mexican food,” got movies (including Gilmore Girls: A year in the Life), ate ice cream, and on a whim I got my nose pierced. (Don’t worry, the shop was extremely clean and Moses (the guy who pierced my nose) opened the needle right in front of me.)
This taught me that, despite things being not so great, things were still fun and we laughed a lot.
Also the not-so-good things that happened don’t just happen here in Uganda—they happen everywhere, including America. They also do not happen in Uganda all the time.
I am not about single stories (to learn more about the danger of a single story watch Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk. Here is the link: ted.com/talks/chimamanda) I am just sharing with you all my experience and what I took away from it.
The Peace Corps trains you to handle things like this, they teach you techniques to stay safe. And I have been working incredibly hard to be more brave and confident in order to step out and step up. This doesn’t have to be a negative post because it’s not, we’re okay, and we had an INCREDIBLE time. Life here is just like life anywhere.
Every day has struggles scrunched between joys, laughter dancing around fear, ups right after downs. I am here… this is my life.
Goodbye for now,