One of the greatest – no, the greatest – thing about Uganda is the people who live here. Everywhere you go people greet you with, “You are welcome,” and they genuinely mean it. Take for example, two of my new friends, Jean Paul and Mark.
Cory and I met Jean Paul on my first day of work. We went down to the café below our court, where Jean Paul works as a waiter. On our way to work that day we saw someone selling mangos on the street, and asked Jean Paul how much we should pay for a mango (we had no idea, because giant avocados go for less than a dollar). He told us we should pay, in American dollars, about a quarter for a mango. The next day Jean Paul asked us if we were able to buy mangos, but we told him the vendor was gone by the time we went home. On our third day of work, we went to the café and Jean Paul surprised us both with a bag of mangos – and they were DELICIOUS. And so, we became friends with Jean Paul.
Mark is my favorite. I would say favorite Ugandan, or favorite coworker, but I don’t want to understate how amazing he is by boxing him into ONE category of favorites. Mark also works in the Court of Appeal, and comes to visit us in our office most days. He remembers Curtis and Jake from last year, and Nora from the year before. We talk and share stories, he’s taken us to experience local food for lunch (and now shares his delivery guy, who brings us lunch to the office), and he even invited us to his son’s first birthday party. The birthday party was one of the best days I’ve had in Uganda, because I felt less homesick being surrounded by so many warm, welcoming people, with lots of children running and playing underfoot. Mark and his family are truly special people, and I’ve been so fortunate to get to know them.
Those are just two stories of friends we have made, but there have been many more. After being here for four weeks I can say that Uganda is full of great things, but nothing that compares to the people.