In the spring of 2007, I was noticeably a stranger in town. I was volunteering in Uganda for a month, and aside from the two girls I was with, there were no other foreigners in the area. I could take a bumpy bus ride into Kampala where there were other white people, and a mall, and toilets that flushed instead of squatters. But when I was around home, I was as foreign as snow.
Category Archives: Africa
When I was seven, I wanted to be a veterinarian. My oldest brother was a high school rebel at that time, and he came home one day and told me he was a vegetarian.
“That’s what I want to be when I grow up,” I said.
“No no. A vegetarian is a person who doesn’t eat meat,” he explained. “Meat comes from animals.”
“Well, I love animals. I’m a vegetarian too.”
That night I was four bites into a hamburger when my mom said, “Hey Anna, I thought you were a vegetarian now.”
I looked down at my partially eaten meal, realizing for the first time what I’d be giving up. “I’ll start tomorrow,” I declared.
Though I went to Uganda for volunteer work, as soon as the word ‘safari’ slipped into my head, I knew I had to spend money on myself.
I contacted various travel agencies and repeatedly heard “maybe” from them. I was frustrated and unsure. The more challenging it became to book a safari ticket, the more I wanted to go. Finally I found plans that were secure. I was going to Queen Elizabeth National Park for three days.
December ended with a medical consultation
$850 in shots and
seven Band-Aids above various muscles around
Every foreigner I met in Uganda in 2008 was there for some sort of volunteer work. I went to volunteer with another girl from Milwaukee, and we joined forces with two other women. All of us were twenty something Americans, and our group had a little bit of everything.
Sarah and I both had dreadlocks, though she was mixed. Stephanie, who came to do medical work, was the epitome of a white girl, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Sabrina was a southern born Mz Thang, as black as Ugandans. Her focus in Uganda was AIDS awareness.