Life at Sseko, Uganda

{lesson learned}

Hi from Uganda!! For those of you who are not already aware, I am currently in Uganda–getting ready to hire our next round of Sseko girls! Yay!! I am anxioulsy awaiting their arrival on the 17th. People, I just can’t wait to meet these girls. But in the meantime I am preparing for their arrival doing less exciting, more businessey things.

Today was my first day on the ground. Although it has been over a year since I was last here, everything is wrapped in this wonderful, comfortable sense of familiarity. The friends, the smells, the sights and sounds. It feels like I just left yesterday. I anticipating feeling this way. For some reason, there is just such an odd sense of comfort I have in this place. But in that, I am trying to make a concerted effort to see things new. I don’t want to assume I understand. There is so much to learn from these people, from this place. I want to use this time to continue to grow, to be challenged.

Well. In the spirt of learning and openness, I learned a big lesson today. A nice little cultural lesson that after all my days in Uganda I have NEVER heard. I was roaming the massive fabric markets looking for our next season of Sseko straps–(hot dog, did I find some good ones!) when I come upon a lady eating fried chicken.

Here is a little something about me that Rick Steves would not approve of. I love street food. And anyone that knows anything about traveling will probably advice you that it is just not the wisest thing to eat street food (food cooked..well, on the side of the street). Especially meat. Maybe it is my iron stomach. Maybe it is my longing to be immersed in the culture. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I love me some street food. So, my natural question to the lady behind the counter, chomping on chicken is,”Where did you get that chicken?” She smiled and pointed to a grocery bag full of fried chicken.

“For 800 (shillings), I give you a piece of my chicken.” Well, that is a no brainer. I never resist an opportunity to stimulate the local economy! Sure!

Internet, this was some of the best friend chicken I’ve ever had.

But I digress.

Continue scene:

Me, wandering through the massive fabric markets, fried chicken in hand.

And I was REPRIMANDED, not once, but TWICE by two seperate gaggles of women.  I mean, full on, drop-jaw, finger-wagging, tisk-tisk, gasp-inducing reprimand.

Not for eating less than kosher street meat…

But for eating and walking. At the same time.

Because today I learned that a “proper lady” NEVER eats and walks. Men? Ok. But never a ‘true lady.’

(Did I mention that I just bought greasy fried chicken, in a grocery bag from a stranger?)

I resisted to tell them that few people in my life would put any stock in the chances of me becoming a “proper lady” someday, even minus my eat-walking offense. But nonetheless, I quite appreciated the lesson.

Who knew?

Ann Landers would be proud.

 

 

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4 Comments

  • Reply melissa January 15, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I LOVE street food. the goat on a stick is amazing and one the road from kampala to jinja there are a bunch of people in blue jumpsuits that RUN to you car as you pass with chicken on a stick.. SO GOOD. also, if you haven’t tried grasshoppers yet please do so! just add a little salt and they are delicious! not even kidding. Hope your time in uganda is fruitful!

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