Here is a short list of things in Uganda which suck: Bread. Cardboard boxes. Pens. Ketchup. It’s not complete. There are a lot of things here that suck, actually. The fact that children here die of easily preventable diseases, for example, sucks. The predicament of adults who planted coffee because some Mzungu researcher told them… Continue reading Piece of Crap
Mitch Duneier – the ethnographer who advised my thesis – wrote a book called Slim’s Table with a chapter asking “I’m Black, You’re White, Who’s Innocent?” It’s a complicated question, but in Uganda, the answer is fait accompli. A few days ago, our project manager – a Ugandan named Charity – approached me and said… Continue reading You’re Stealing, I’m Exploiting. You’re Black, I’m White. You’re Fired, I’m Fine.
It finally happened: we got a day off. It took us working until 5 a.m. on Friday night, but today, we were indeed, really and truly, free (at least, as long as I kept my cell phone on silent and studiously avoided reading any text messages from my boss). So far, I’ve really enjoyed experiencing… Continue reading State of De-Nile
When I first arrived, I declared that riding a boda encapsulated my experience in Uganda. While there is still something appealing about spinning down potholed roads at night on a rickety motorbike with the cool tropical air whipping around me, recent events have made me switch to other modes of transport. Namely, almost getting smacked… Continue reading Ordering Food – My New Metaphor of Choice for Life in Uganda
There are borders to how far I wanted to go with the whole “living like a Ugandan” thing. For example, Ugandans have high rates of rather exotic maladies and afflictions. I was hoping to avoid that part of life in the third world, but that’s not how it turned out. For the sake of the… Continue reading Going Native, Part II
I think most Americans’ mental images of Africa – or at the very least, mine prior to this trip – are of some sort of cross between a National Geographic special on savannah wildlife and a Christian Children’s Fund television appeal for donations, replete with starving children sporting desperate eyes and distended stomachs. I’m pretty… Continue reading The Politics of (Near) Starving
There are a million things that can go wrong with field research, a million variables that could be carefully controlled in a lab. Today pretty much set a record for things going wrong, though. Our Mutatu broke down in the middle of nowhere during a “shortcut” we took on a barely-existing road (a situation fixed… Continue reading Win.