Preface: ‘So UG’ is a phrase I learned from my house mama, Beatrice. In short, it’s usually used to describe the ways and quirks of Ugandans, and the forever-struggle for Muzungus to get it.
Example 1: On Tuesday, I went to the Uganda National Council for Science & Technology to pick up my letter approval which they said would be ready on Monday. Upon my arrival, I was informed the research policies were changed at that week’s review meeting, and now I have to request approval from another office and wait for that too.
Lady: “Oh, and you can’t start your research until you get that.”
Me: “Oh okay, dang, well how long does it usually take?”
Lady: “3-4 weeks, but we can rush it and make it one week.”
Me: “Ya, so let’s just go ahead and say 2 weeks.”
Example 2: We were lost today going to a water sampling location. So we called a friend for directions, which were, “go down the street and branch out at the timber” (i.e. turn off the road onto the side street when you pass by the lumber yard).
Now onwards to the real list…
- Never have your iPhone out, unless you’re at home, or at a very Muzungu place, because someone WILL attempt to steal it. Every. Time.
- A ‘rolex’ is a chipati with fried eggs + veggies and sometimes you just need that.
- Milk comes in a bag, and it’s okay so far.
- It’s not peanuts. It’s Gnuts.
- Hold onto the bar on the seat of your boda, because you will fly 1ft off the back going over speed bumps.
- The furniture just isn’t comfortable. Accept it. Your body will adjust.
- If you think of it in a positive way, the billowing car exhaust might be strengthening your lungs. It’s like building immunity, right?
- Whatever time you think you’re going to get somewhere, add 1 hour. Add 2 hours if it’s between 4-8pm. Unless you’re on a boda.
- The Acacia Mall is one of the best places to go for peace and quiet because no one will yell “Muzungu” and, in general, no one gives a shit that you’re there. Which is the BEST.
- The sun feels really good. And fried grasshoppers are good too.