What is life like in Uganda at during the holidays? Come along and experience an African cultural Christmas…
1) Watching hailstones pelt your vehicles as you come back late from the capital city, thinking, “Will it actually snow?”
2) Pulling the mosquito net down over your bed, thinking, “This actually looks like snow!”
3) Enjoying the sun and heat at the pool the next day, actually being very happy about the December weather and approaching dry season.
4) Wondering if maybe Zanzibar would be a better Christmas option than flying home, one easier on the pocketbook especially if your NGO forgets/can’t manage to pay you this month.
5) Catching a glimpse of some small, round, bright green vegetable for sale on the roadside and thinking it’s brussels sprouts. Who knew eggplant came in this variety?
6) Temptations abound to buy your Christmas tree from street peddlers as you sit in traffic in the capital. So far your crazy travel schedule has precluded you from even thinking about decorating.
7) Wearing summer dresses to Christmas parties is the best!
8) Can’t help wishing that “All I want for Christmas is …” a pothole-free road! And you hum it as you bounce along the journey.
9) Wrapping presents by the light strategically placed solar lamps elicits the Christmas spirit. The only thing missing: solar-powered Christmas lights!
10) Watching the Skype circle swirl as it tries to connect you means choppy and echo-ed Christmas chats with friends around the globe.
11) When you can’t update your blog for 3 days because the power’s been out!
12) The American and British versions of Away in a Manger are both sung by your group of expat carollers during the outdoors Christmas party.
13) Feeling like you’ve received a mini Christmas bonus from the bank when the ATM spits out the largest denomination of bills–rather than give you a sky high stack of five dollar bill equivalent.
14) Hunting for propane gas becomes desperate as you travel with your tank (that supplies both stove and oven) in the pickup with you as you work in various cities, checking at each station and only finding it in the capital.
15) Malaria stymies your best efforts to update your blog. Sucks the life out of you for a whole week while deadlines loom. At least it gives you a chance to watch your favourite holiday film, Love Actually.
16) Surprised that the price of a live turkey rivals that per pound in your home country. And then you still have to kill, pluck and clean it!
17) Cocktails at your NGO’s Christmas party equals a soda and a piece of goat meat.
18) Hoping your trusty guard dog doesn’t get poisoned by conniving thieves brazened by the festive season.
19) Taking two and a half hours (half of it in a jammy gridlock) to travel the 40km to the airport means an adrenalined rush to catch your plane home.
20) Bumping into friends at the airport on the same flight–finally you are going home and you aren’t the last one out!
21) Fielding puzzled looks and borderline rude questions from stewards on your flight when you tell them you live in Africa. “Um, why?”
22) Being welcomed home by friends and family at the airport and not having to deal with weather delays because there’s no snow yet! Hoorah you made it!
23) Delighting in your online Christmas shopping strategy and all of the packages that await you at home!
24) Navigating all of the dairy foods during Christmas festivities forces you to become temporarily lactose intolerant.
25) Merry Christmas! Sharing your experiences over turkey and wine is so much better than online blog posts!