I know, weird title, right? The first word would describe us the past several days. Living life out of suitcases and backpacks gets old after a while. We know it is temporary but getting a house lease arranged in Uganda is like trying to herd cats. It takes time. We have needed this week to turn down some.
With me getting over this chest cold and Debra starting to show some life after several days of a bad stomach adjusting to the food here, we haven’t been able to do much. But this is not like the US where everything is rush-rush. Here in Uganda things are slow-slow. Nothing happens quickly and we have to condition ourselves for a slower pace of life. That may sound like a luxury to you in the states, but it is not easy to do when you have lived in the fast lane all your life.
We are gradually learning about some inconveniences we will encounter along the way. This is from the “Things We Take For Granted” file. For instance, since power is something that comes and goes you don’t want to have a big fridge. You could end up with a lot of food going bad. The one at this house is tiny. Since the food here that is African doesn’t contain preservatives, it goes bad fast anyway. so you have a lot of small trips to get groceries. It also doesn’t get that cold inside. Here in Africa, ice really is a luxury. On a hot day, when you order tea, it is hot.
You might get a coke with no ice that is at best, cool. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. Speaking of which, they do have peanut butter which I was thrilled about but it isn’t quite like ours. It is still good. My favorite snack was PB and Ritz crackers. They do have Ritz here in a few places. They are made in India or Egypt but are not quite the same texture or taste. They mostly sell “biscuits” which are cookies and you can get some pretty decent ones.
Water is another issue. At this house in Kyanja that we will be vacating once our lease in Ft Portal happens, water is collected by huge cisterns on the ground that collect rain water out of the gutters on the house. There is a switch you turn on for a “little while” each day that pumps that water up into a huge tank over the house.
That tank feeds the house. The water pressure is based on gravity! You might think the water would be safe since it doesn’t come from the town’s supply but no…. You need a filtration device. Enter Tiva Water, made in the ol’ US of A! You dump water in the top in the morning and it SLOWLY filters through a dense sand throughout the day which takes out the impurities. You have to remember to drain the water into containers through the day as there is no such thing as just turning on the faucet and getting as much as you want like back home.
You have to store it up keeping in mind that the fridge is small so you can only store so much in there. You do go through a lot of water as it is hot and sticky.
Which brings me to the next inconvenience. Showering is normally done in cold water. Water heaters are a luxury item here. Thankfully Chris & Courtney invested in one. There are 2 bathrooms; one with hot water and one without. The hot water ONLY works for the ONE shower; not the sink.
And you have to turn it on about 20 minutes before you shower. The shower head in that bathroom is no higher than my stomach!! So you learn to duck. They don’t do shower curtains here so you have to try and keep water from going all over the floor. The cold shower has a higher head and it does feel pretty good after a long hot day. Our new place has actually 2 water heaters! That’s right: 2!! And one is in the kitchen under the sink!!
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a whining session. We are blessed here more than most but I want all of you to get a taste of what it is like here. After negotiating with boda drivers, riding all over Kampala over bumps and fumes, we went to get out health insurance. About $525 per person for a year……. Yeah, you heard that right! It provides $2000 in benefits per person for a year! Keep in mind $2K goes a lot farther here! “The Surgery” is the place we will go. It is run by expats and Dr Shockley, a British dude is the lead doctor. He is older and has a sense of humor. We had our “intake” appointment to go over things. His twist on things is unique. America is way overmedicated and the drug companies are having fun! We have to agree with him. We got some good info. I especially like if we have issues from Ft Portal, just send an email!
Well, enough about the “hard life” here. I think I will go get my cold shower to wash off Uganda and chill out with a lukewarm bottle of water. Cheers America!!