During orientation, we talked about the expectations we had before coming here, and how most of the things we thought or assumed about Africa and this semester would most likely not be.
This summer, I had this idea that everyone I met would be so kind, and would just be the epitome of love. I was reminded by a friend before I left that people are people the world around, and I have found this to be so true. My host family is very nice, but they are a family, and they are human. The siblings argue at times, and like to pick on each other. They watch crazy things on TV. I have only seen a few examples of selfless love, at least the kind that I was envisioning. They are still nice and hospitable though. I like them.
I also had this impression of not having a lot of food to eat, and losing a lot of weight and the weather being super hot all the time. One, Ugandans eat A LOT of food. And it’s mostly carbs, and the food is always piping hot. They say most girls gain weight when they are here. Not surprising. The culture encourages larger women, or at least finds them more beautiful. I know in some homes, the host moms are upset when their daughters do not eat past their limits. Luckily my maama feeds me just the right amount. Usually.
And the weather is so different than what I thought. There are times when I can definitely tell it is really warm, but we have had mini thunderstorms many afternoons which cool the temperature down, and the evenings are cooler. Most of the time the weather is really enjoyable, as long as the rain comes to cool it off the sun a bit. Which relates to another expectation: getting really tan. I am rarely in the sun for long periods of time. Expats who have been living here for years aren’t really tan, so I don’t know why I got the idea that I would be when I left. Oh stereotypes of Africa.
I had not expected to watch as much TV as I do now. I watch more than what I did in America. And it is all things I normally would not watch, like soap operas, televangelists, and music videos. The prosperity gospel is huge here. When I went to get a smoothie today at Canada Ice (a canteen on campus. The smoothies are AMAZING), Joel Olsteen was on TV. The soap operas have become quite addicting, sad to say. One that I enjoy/watch is called La Tormenta (the Storm). It’s pretty ridiculous. It’s Spanish and is dubbed over in English. It’s actually reached the point where I am just ready for some kind of closure with the story, because it’s getting out of control. Hard to believe from a soap, I know. The Amazing Race (a really old season with the people from Survivor) is on. I enjoy it.
I also was expecting some big answer-revelation about where my life is headed. Now I may be more confused than I was before. I guess I just still don’t have answers…but I’m so okay with it. It’s part of the journey, and I am enjoying it. I have plans for the few months after graduation, but after that I hope God will just open some doors. And I’m excited for what’s coming up in my life. This is good.
I didn’t expect to be such a novelty with my white skin. It’s annoying. Kids yell, everyone stares, and men call out. I’m tired of it. We’ve all gotten pretty annoyed and cynical about it. It’s hard to know the motives of Africans who want to be your friend. It’s sad to say, but especially with men, their motives are unclear, or they are TOO clear. Those relationships are avoided.
Yeah, so we’re halfway through the semester. Crazy. The rest of the semester is going to fly by I think. It has so far been a sufficient amount of time though. Life is good here in Africa for Jill. I’m thankful for that.
We leave for Kapchorwa tomorrow! I’m excited, partly just because we get a break from classes (except I have a lot of reading to do), and partly to see the beautiful area and experience a different lifestyle.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!