Well, as my location notes, I am back. Our flight arrived at 4:30 yesterday afternoon. Our journey back only lasted 25 hours, and I found it difficult to complain since it was 25 hours of movies, iPod, and air conditioning.
But I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sadness. I wasn’t ready to leave yet. Yes, I was fully prepared to leave the bird-sized insects, but looking back, the panic attacks and breakdowns were so small in comparison to everything else I experienced. I didn’t want to leave the people, the cities, the culture.
I found myself with anger, as Tim predicted I might. How can people live their lives so selfishly and ignorantly when there are so many people in Uganda (real live people) who are struggling to LIVE. Not struggling to get by like we do here in the US. They just focus on living.
As soon as we arrived at the Minneapolis airport, the first thing I noticed as different (besides all the m’zungus) was how much BIGGER people are. It made me sad and angry to realize that not only do we not starve here, we overindulge in food. We overindulge in everything. All we want is the brand new iPhone. All they want is a pair of shoes.
I have turned into the type of person I used to hate. I never appreciated someone on a soapbox telling me I can’t want new things or else I’m selfish. I do believe that there is a happy medium and that with time, I can find it. But the harsh juxtaposition of our lives and cultures has left me not knowing how else to feel except angry. I honestly felt disgusted to be an American (pre-African Michelle would backhand myself right now.) We won the life lottery when we were born in the US, but we still believe we are entitled to our lifestyles.
Alright, stepping down off the soapbox now. You’re welcome. Now we can wash the nasty taste of reality out of our mouths with a little random list I compiled of unique things about Africa:
1. I went 13 days without seeing a single stoplight. They prefer aggressive roundabouts.
2. They mow their lawns with machetes. Although on one occasion, I did see some fellows weedwacking a hill.
3. I rarely saw children (toddler age and above) with adults. Adults work and children go off and play without supervision. Sometimes the children carry around the infants too.
4. Herbert (our guide) told me that people who are addicted to cigarettes only smoke 2 a day. That’s 2 sticks, not 2 packs.
5. Our hotel at Murchison Falls had electricity for 5 hours a day. And we were told not to leave our huts after 10 because that’s when water buffalo roam (aka charge at humans).
6. Speaking of water buffaloes, they are the funniest looking creatures ever (see picture).
I am digressing. I’ve been up since 5am so I’m feeling a little loopy. Let’s just leave it at that 🙂