Only in Africa: Part II

1.  Wait, are we planning to fail?

Our field supervisor briefing us on the next day’s training agenda, “It is very important that we, the facilitators, keep time tomorrow. How can we expect our trainees to keep time, if we ourselves are late? I have told the trainees to arrive by 8am sharp, just to make sure that they are on time for our 9 or 10am start. We will arrive around 8:30.”

2.  An Oldie but a Goodie

Notice that was posted at work: Kindly endeavor to avail your laptops for cleaning at 1pm tomorrow.

What I thought: Great, I’ll finally get all of the viruses off this machine!

What happened: At 3pm two men came to my office, and asked me to turn off my laptop and “kindly vacate the room to avoid the noise.” Very confused I said, “Noise? Who is going to create noise?” “Unfortunately madam, it is us.” It was then that I noticed the rags and shop vac. They had come to literally clean my laptop.

3.  He got One Thing Right

Chairperson of an 8pm work meeting, “I would like to welcome you to this informal meeting. This meeting will be a bit informal and not so very brief.”

4. Helpful Garden Reminders

Notices in the Mother's Union garden, "Have One Sexual Partner" and "Fear God and Strive."

5. I Don’t Know Who Was More Shocked

Out of the blue an incredulous colleague asked me, “Faith, I’ve heard that you whites don’t keep dead people in your houses. Is that true?” Me, while making a mental note not to visit any more Ugandan homes “Um, yes, that is very true! When do you keep dead people in your homes?”

What followed was a very interesting conversation about how Ugandans hold visitations in their homes – often the village home. Then the family buries the deceased on the family homestead. While my colleague found our American method a bit impersonal, she did note that since we do not hold visitations in our homes, we aren’t required to cook for all of the guests.

6. We Did Ask

The rather ambitious menu at our guest house in Bushenyi listed several interesting sounding dining options such as “Chicken a la Mary land” and “Spaghetti Bolgnose.” David asked what the latter was.

The server responded, “First, we take spaghetti – these are macarones. Then we boil them in water. We mince some meat and put it in. Then we add tomatoes, and onions.” (So that’s what spaghetti is!)


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