While in Tororo, I met three American Peace Corps volunteers. Chatting with them helped me navigate the cultural differences between Americans and Ugandans. One asked me if I had figured out the difference between “now, now” and “now”. I laughed and said I had. “Now, now” means now and “now” actually means sometime within the next few hours. I honestly think punctually, and the lack of it, was the hardest cultural difference to get used to. It was frustrating having to wait around for things to begin.
One of the best cultural differences was the East African hospitality. Ugandans really seem to have this down. Brittnie and I were invited to numerous outings and we lavished with food and fun. We were also incredibly busy with data collection, so we were not able to accept all of the invitations, but I am so glad we were able to attend some. One of our research assistants invited us over for dinner and dancing. She prepared ample amounts of food; my favorite was the matooke and irish dish. Matooke is a starchy variety of banana and irish are patotes. It was so yummy! Spending time with her and her family made us feel very welcome in Tororo. We later went to another house for dinner. We had met Noah on the first day at the district health office (our workplace) and he immediately invited us over to his house. We ate and laughed and had an incredible time getting to know his family.
During our last weekend in Tororo, Brittnie and I hiked the Tororo rock. It was a lot of fun, but a bit challenging, as it was approximately 1,000 ft. in elevation gain without the use of switchbacks. There were ladders and slippery rocks, however, the 360-degree views of Kenya and Uganda were worth it. As we leave for Kampala, I am sadden to have to say goodbye to everyone I have met and who have welcomed us here in Tororo. Just as we felt we were getting to know our research assistants, and appreciate each of them and their unique personalities, we are departing. We have exchanged whatsapp numbers and emails and I truly hope they are able to visit us in CA one day.