Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My name s Mackenzie

My name is not white girl, branquinha, muzungu, or any other reference to me by my color.

Muzungu (“white person” in Luganda or Swahili) is the word of choice here. It’s cute when a 3 year old says “hi muzungu” as I pass, because they are being friendly and don’t know any better. It’s nothing short of irritating when a man shouts “muzungu” at me from the window of a passing truck or a matatu (public transportation - think VW van made into a sort of bus).

I don’t like being classified for being pale. They children I live with are good about it since they see so many white people, but anywhere else I go I hear shouts of “hi muzungu” or even worse, the high pitched “how are you?” because obviously white people sound like that. I am overcharged on everything that doesn’t have a price tag physically on it, because people assume that since I am white, I have money. I have taken to bringing one of the Uncles with me when I shop in the neighborhood, because it doesn’t happen when I’m with someone Ugandan who knows what the price is supposed to be.

I realize that being “muzungu” does carry certain privileges, too, though, so I can’t be only irritated. Bodas will always stop for me, even when I want to walk. Most people are eager to talk to me. I can walk into some of the nicest hotels in the city and not be questioned (this one has been tested). I could have jumped into their pool with all its fountains and grandeur, and no one would have given it a passing thought.

So, although I might be annoyed at being heckled and overcharged, even here my race carries privileges I haven’t earned. I am more accepted here in Kampala than people from different Kingdoms within Uganda. I am told not to interfere in such matters, but it does trouble me. I am still trying to better understand these issues. Maybe once I am more comfortable, I can even share more stories about what I have already seen.

Thank you again for your support. Know that I am fine, just trying to make sense of all that I am experiencing. Moving to a completely different culture is a lot to take in, and I am learning more every day.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A few pictures from our outing to the pool.

I spent over an hour trying to upload a video, but it wouldn't work. Sorry!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Welcome, Sister

I have spent a week here in Uganda already. Sorry for the delay in an update, but I do not have internet access. I have already had so many adventures, I don’t even know where to start!I am living in BULA Children’s home with 19 full-time children, 4 full-time adults, and one other volunteer. Right now the children are on holiday, so we have 6 additional children home from secondary school where they are boarding students. In celebration of everyone being home, “we” are having chicken for dinner tonight (I am a vegetarian). Right now, they are killing the chickens in the backyard, and I am cringing.The children are very sweet, and I have been welcomed so warmly!! They have trouble pronouncing my name, so I have become Sister Brown instead. I have finally learned all of their names, too. In addition to the humans, we have a very skittish guard dog named Tiger, and we just got the cutest little black kitten that the children named Garfield. I am so happy to have animals around! I have met the headmistress and several of the teachers at St. Kizito, and they are also very friendly and warm and eager for the afterschool program to begin. I will be an aid in the nursery classroom on Mondays because they have so many children, and then I will work with P1 and P2 afterschool on Tuesdays, P3 and P4 on Wednesdays, and P5 and P6 on Thursdays. I can’t wait to meet the children. Every time I visit Gganda the smallest children in the village shout “hi muzungu” as I am riding past. They are adorable!I don’t want to make this too long, but know that I am happy and healthy and looking forward to an exciting week. Thank you for all of your support!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Leaving tomorrow!

The past few weeks have been a hectic mix of packing, reading, seeing friends and family, and thinking about the journey I'm about to begin. Now my suitcases are all packed and ready to go, and I'll head to the airport in the morning.

I can hardly wait to begin! Everything I read talks about the beauty of Uganda, and everyone I speak to who has been there gushes with the same sentiment about the landscape and the warmth of the Ugandan people. In two days, I'll be in a country that boasts the source of the Nile and silverback gorillas. I can't wait!

My parents are willing to field phone calls and answer questions while I am gone, so feel free to contact them. 304-329-1362