The Wall Between Us

If we were staying here for another two weeks, I would have killed the rooster outside of my room days ago. I swear he has a timer inside of him and it’s set for 5 a.m. It’s kind of remarkable, actually, but I don’t really care how remarkable it is because he wakes me up every time and doesn’t shut up. Lucky for him, we only have one day left here, so his life will be spared.

But enough about roosters. We’ve had a great past couple of days, but they’ve been busy. Lots of interviews and dancing and music and shaking people’s hands and visiting schools and lots of riding in the bus. The drive to wherever we go every day is always much longer than we anticipate. Our time spent in the bus is entertaining, though. One thing I’ve realized: the Atlantic ocean is a very thick line between the US and Africa.

Examples: 

1. Men (who are straight) hold hands here when they walk together. It’s not that common, but I’ve seen it quite a few times.

2. Women openly breastfeed all the time. 

3. Girls bow when they meet someone new.

4. Signing guestbooks is a regular occurrence. 

5. Schedules don’t exist… this may seem small, but schedules (obviously) run everything in the states, and when there isn’t a schedule, it’s just… hanging out, I guess you could call it. Every time we’re riding in the bus, I find myself thinking, “Why could they possibly be doing that? Where could they possibly going with that?” There’s so many things I don’t understand. 

6. Things stop very quickly. It takes something big to stop traffic in the US, but all in takes in Africa is a couple of white-skinned college kids.

7. Africa is more communal. Strangers talk to each other more here, and children are parented by everyone. It’s refreshing. 

Most of the time, the differences are all I notice because things that are different are always more interesting, anyway. And we’ve learned that sometimes the cultural differences create a very tall wall between us and the Africans that I still don’t know how to break. We can agree on things and chat like normal people, but the fact that we live on opposite ends of the world just makes a disconnect.

I remember that we’re all human, though, when I see the few things that are the same. Today I saw these two little boys in a big, open field. One was probably 5 or 6 and the other was about 3 or 4. They were giggling and playing and the older one suddenly sprinted to the middle of the field and just collapsed, laughing all the while. He had made up some kind of funny little game and the younger boy followed him, giggling the whole way. It seems stupid, but it’s something I feel like we’ve all done as kids–running around aimlessly and finding happiness in stupid little things. It’s a rare thing to see kids acting like kids because they grow up so fast here. Most of the time we see them carrying large jugs of water on their heads or newborn babies on their backs. Their lives are so different from how ours were… and are.

On a lighter note, we’re finally pretty much done with filming. As much as I liked it, it’s been a lot of work, and I think we’re all ready to relax. Tomorrow we go to Murchison Falls and we’ve heard all sorts of things about how beautiful it is, so that will be great. It’s a long drive (surprise, surprise) so I’m sure will all be making awesome playlists to blast along the way. Sometimes it’s nice to have American music like Kanye West and Journey and Taylor Swift (I can’t believe I just typed that). 

So, that’s all from Gulu. The end.

OH, also. For all you haters out there who think I’m a picky eater (you know who you are, Dewy roomies), I ate two grasshoppers yesterday. And I liked it. BOOM. That’s what’s up. 

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