while recently careening through the kampala’s capital traffic on the back of a boda-boda (motorcycle “taxi”), typing an sms, directing the driver towards the mcc house and holding my fresh tropical juice blend so it wouldn’t spill i had a thought.
and that thought was this: “no, actually, this is not normal.”
we arrived at the house i payed the nice man, declined his offer of marriage and retrieved my journal so as to make a short list of things that i typically do not give second thought to that are, as you may have guessed, actually not normal.
* with the enforcement of traffic laws in the area being lax, at best, sometimes we (and just about everyone else in uganda) find it quite easy to skirt them. regardless of the potential harm we are putting ourselves in. at any given quarterly team meeting in the capital there will be at least 3 vehicles, sometimes even 4, available for large group outings. rather than take 2 vehicles (we have plenty of drivers) out to dinner–often times we will cram the entire team into the vitara.
the vitara seats 4 very comfortably and 5 semi-uncomfortably. i believe at one point we had 10 people in the vitara. 2 people sharing the front passenger seat (they DID wear the seatbelt) 4 on the back bench seat, the driver and 3 people in the “trunk.”
why not? team building and togetherness all in the name of food. usually these days its sushi…
* last month i learned that when building a new building in karamoja, it is apparently “good luck” to bury a human head in the foundation of your new building. and this cannot be just any human head, but must be a human head from a person that you yourself as the owner have killed for this exact purpose.
how this is good luck, i have no idea.
as a side note- when we were repainting our house we re-noticed some spatter on one of our walls that looks like blood. “surely not.” we thought. however, i could not scrub said substance from the wall with any of our cleaning products and good old fashioned elbow grease. and i’m a good scrubber.
we joked when painting the other side of that wall because the paint wouldn’t stick–saying that there was probably a human head between the walls. the square where the paint wouldn’t stick was definitely large enough for a head to be behind it… it was a few days later we learned the “good luck” charm of the head in a building and, needless to say, got a little freaked out.
* while hanging out with children recently i have started to check to see if their ears are pierced. not because i want to impart knowledge of funky earrings on the karimajong people, but because if a child’s ears are pierced they will probably not be used in a sacrifice. this has become a problem in the area. and i do not tend to give it second thought, i just check and breathe a little sigh or relief when they are pierced…
* when taking a boda-boda (which we have already established as being a bit crazy as well as not normal) with a collegue or friend and not wanting to take a boda each, for whatever reason, the two people cram onto the boda with the driver. this is a tight squeeze…very uncomfortable and quite awkward. i have seen 4 grown people on a boda before. not. normal.