With all my addiction to life in Uganda, I never thought of staying away from my homeland for this long. Despite leaving a few years ago, I am still a very proud Ugandan 100% without ducking. I always honour my flawless familiarity with my people, the environment I grew up in and the things I loved to do, their absence now gives me a pitiful face.
Every night was a safe one
In Uganda, I would walk splendidly on the dark streets and alleys without looking over my shoulder to see if there’s any imminent trouble. I was poised of the security in my homeland b’se we were always non-violent, whether day or night I was satisfied that no trouble would befall me even in the cover of the dark nights. I recall my return from a week-long trip to Kigali and arriving back three hours after midnight. The streets were was almost empty but this never scared me b’se I knew all was safe. Walking for miles to home in the quiet hours of the night was like strolling somewhere during the daytime.
The exclusively Ugandan culinary
Growing up feeding on Ugandan indigenous food is something I am still pleased of! I miss my favorite foods that contributed a lot to what I have grown into. The main dishes of matooke, potatoes, millet/maize bread, cassava, Luwombo, yams, kikomando, chapatti, edible grasshoppers and white ants, and the abundant tropical fruits all gave me a nourished body. It wasn’t just the food itself but the traditional cooking styles made these dishes so special to me. Truly, I miss Ugandan food…
The precious random conversations
I’ll never forget the chatter typical to Ugandan public transport. Never did I reach my destination without picking up a conversation with someone seated next to me. If I didn’t initiate the chat, a fellow passenger would start it and if they were older than me, then the mini-bus taxi became a classroom to learn about life. The elderly people in Uganda can become guardians to anyone, so long as you lend a listening ear. Whether in the market, at the shop, church, the queues, or any other public place, a talk with an elderly was a day well-blessed for me and with the deep respect I have for them, I went beyond my own time limits to learn as much as I could from them.
The way they used to talk to me, “My son, during our tender generation, we enjoyed life while working hard, we wasted no chances”. The way they scoffed at the current generation which they termed as “spoilt, shameless” always gave me insightful thoughts. No matter the topic, their conversations were always meaningful. In contrast, here no one is willing to talk to you b’se everyone minds their own business. Truly, I miss my clever Ugandan counterparts!
Life was so affordable
While in Uganda, I could at least afford some basic needs in life with less struggling. The cost of living is still moderate and quite affordable. You’d get lots of stuff from the supermarket at pocket-friendly prices, some even on discounted rates. I enjoyed shopping in open-air markets where true Ugandan life can wholly be observed. Market vendors calling out for you, some even running after you to convince you with their tempting offers. With my bargaining skills, I would never leave a stall without a bonus item. Suppose I buy 10 tomatoes but I’d resourcefully get four more for free and when I kept coming back week after week, the resulting customer-vendor relationship would be a wonderful fairy tale. Sure, Uganda, you offered me more than I bargained for!
That impressive humid weather
One thing that remarkably gives me fond memories of Uganda is the favourable weather that was just right for me! I’ve been to many countries but none has as a conducive weather like Uganda. If it is a sunny day, it won’t be hot, but mild, and if it’s gonna rain, then it’ll just be moist showers. Except in the north where the weather can wreak havoc, in my region, the weather would aptly suit my life and I had no complaints about it. No matter if it rained or shined, my days in Uganda were always glorious…
Smiling faces everywhere
You’ll never be in Uganda and not come across dozens of grinning people. Yeah, Ugandans are well contented with their life and experience it positively as it goes about. They don’t force situations but rock and roll with the everyday vibes and never mind about failures so long as life moves on. This is the secret to them being the friendliest people on the earth. Unlike where I am now, you can easily find your way to a new place if you randomly ask anyone in Uganda plus if you’re lucky, some would even walk you right there minus asking for a penny. I miss hiking down the street and strangers saying hi as you walk past them. Even if the streets are crowded, everybody minds their steps and no bumping into others. Everyone talks to each other with a lot of respect and this is what I truly miss now.
The incredibly unspoilt nature
I terribly miss those countryside sights and sounds that are typical of Ugandan nature. The brilliant start to the day after being awakened by the lovely melodies from the birds and the warm sunrise rays. From the rolling hills that characterise my village to the equatorial savanna grasslands in the central plateau. I miss walking along the replenishing lakeside beaches of Entebbe, standing on the Equator monument and the golden sunset streams!
I can’t believe that I no longer enjoy the wild picnics I had with my old-time friends and the amazing wildlife that draw millions of tourists to the Pearl of Africa. Memories of driving through Mabira forest, crossing the River Nile, ferrying across Lake Victoria, standing on top of Murchison falls, winding up and down the imposing steep hills of south-western Uganda, oh my gosh!!
There’s even a lot more that I truly miss about Ugandan life. I’m unsure of how long I’ll stay here but can’t wait for the end of my mission. There are fantastic things in Kenya that tempt me to keep residing, even forever but from my personal comparison, there are a lot of Ugandan things that I wish I could be enjoying right now and this makes my return to the homeland more likely. No matter where I end up later in life, the memories of my sweet life in Uganda will always remain a privileged part of me…