50 Shades of Green

Arriving at your destination at night after 27 straight hours of travel plays tricks on your senses. I don’t know if it’s the strong link that always exists between smells and memories or if the darkness required my nose to overcompensate for my lack of sight, but the smells right after deplaning at Entebbe brought a flood.

That nostalgia only multiplied when, after claiming our baggage, we found Herbert, our ever-knowledgeable guiding light through Uganda. Hugging Herbert is when I realized how much I’ve missed this place.

Waking up this morning to roosters crowing, fresh pineapple and 50 shades of lush green landscape outside my window is what really made it apparent that landing in Entebbe and seeing Herbert wasn’t just another malaria medication-induced hallucination.

Seeing all the students’ reactions to commonplace things in Uganda that I got used to last summer gives me an idea of just how lucky I am to be back here. Yes, that’s a 3-year-od with an infant on her back; yes, that’s a woman with a giant basket of mangoes on her head and yes, that bird is the size of an 8-year-old child.

Today we visited the Ugandan Martyrs Shrines and a university. The college looked to be in rough shape, although it’s said to be the eighth best college on the continent (the first six are in South Africa and the seventh is in Egypt). I’m not sure how much of an advantage a college education gives a student here anyway, considering their unemployment rate is a staggering 40 percent.

I think the unfairness of it all really isn’t what my mind is struggling with this year. After all, it took 27 hours of airtime to get here, so it’s pretty clear that this place exists in a world completely outside my own. It’s not that the way of life that I’m used to is the right way, it’s just what I know. Who’s to say what’s right and what’s wrong? I’m not sure if they came to America and saw the way we live that they would think it was that great. It’s more than just a difference in lifestyle, it’s a difference in fundamental values .



9 thoughts on “50 Shades of Green

  1. Sweetheart – Great to read your blog again! I love your writing. Wow, you are really there …. the memories and smells … You have a good heart. Can’t wait for more.

  2. Just reading this makes me remember everything from last year! I went to a bonfire earlier this year and the smell reminded me so much of Africa that I needed to sit down. I can’t imagine what actually being back and smelling the air is like. I love your blogs, they remind me of my favorite times there. Im so happy that I can hear about it through you! Give Herbert a hug from all of us back here!

    1. Sara, as a friend of your Dad at IBM I will look forward to reading your blog. I have had the joy of being in Africa many times (leaving my cozy home in Texas) and it is always a great experience. I share your passions here. On Uganda values … they are different than your American upbringing.
      Usually a mixture of different economics, culture, education, language,etc . I always enjoyed the comment from a humble African friend (some of my closest relationships are with Africans) about our visiting American mission teams – “Americans have watches, Africans have time” 🙂 May God bless you and the team in your efforts.

  3. It’s probably worth remembering that while 27 hours is a REALLY long flight, the trip used to take months. As a result, the social worlds of the US and Uganda are probably more tightly connected now than they ever have been.

  4. I’m tearing up after those first two paragraphs (and I’m at work so things could get awkward soon). Good writing Gentzler. Soak in every smell and every sight 🙂

  5. Bring Herbert back with you! I miss that man so much! Just wait til you head north and they see the bugs for the first time 🙁 don’t miss that part haha. It’s good to hear the prospective of someone who I not only know, but also have been in Uganda with before. Keep the good posts coming!

  6. I’m seriously loving reading your blog…it’s bringing back all of those memories that have gotten a little fuzzy over the past year. I’m so excited that you’re back there again and I hope you’re having a great time! I can’t wait to keep reading all about it. Give Herbert a hug with me! Bringing him back like Michelle said would be even better (: And tell Fred hi if he’s the driver again!

  7. I’m with Bridget…definitely tearing up at work right now. It’s so emotional just reading about being back…I can’t imagine how you’re feeling actually being back. I just remember the when we walked out of the airport & we kept saying, “We’re in Africa…” haha like we had to convince ourselves that we were really there. But tell Herbert & Fred that we all miss them & give them big hugs for us! Love you & I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts!

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