Tuesday, July 07, 2009


I brought some US dollars with me to Uganda because I was told it was the only currency accepted at the airport (in case I needed to bribe any bureaucrats). I decided to only carry a couple twenties around with me at any given time (again, in case I needed to get out of sticky situations) so when my wallet was stolen, there were only $40 in it. This means that I had about $120 back in my room, locked away. I will now have to live off of this $120 for at least two weeks until I get a new ATM card (not actually all that hard to do around here). I went on an unexpected two hour walk yesterday in search of a good exchange rate (one dollar is roughly 2000 Ugandan shillings). I did find a good one, though, so score! In the evening, we housemates decided to walk down to an advertised beach (less a beach and more a bar on the lake). That ended up being another unexpectedly long walk, in the pitch dark, not exactly sure where we were. It’s all good, though. We eventually found our way back. I think that’s my exercise for the year.

My stupid UK bank won’t send a new debit card to Uganda. They’re sending it to London, which of course, doesn’t help me a whole lot. However, despite the fact that I was a bit mean to the guy on the phone, he was really nice and said he would figure something out for me. It sounds like I might have to transfer money from my account into my housemate’s UK bank account, then she can withdraw cash for me from an ATM here. Complicated, but I have few other options. The bank guy said he might be able to send a bank order here, but I don’t think banks here would have any idea what to do with that. My housemates brought travelers checks and tried them at every bank in town, then several banks in Kampala before finding a place that would take them, and then they gave a bad exchange rate on them. If banks here can’t take travelers checks, I doubt they’ll be able to handle a bank order. I think transferring to my housemate’s account will be more fool-proof, although now that I’ve said that, I’ve probably jinxed it.

My housemate, Roya’s mom packed all sorts of ridiculous things into her luggage without her knowledge. Roya arrived in Uganda to find several tins of food, lots of chocolate bars, a frying pan, and much, much more. Last night, she discovered that her mom had packed her housecleaning gloves, and when she put them on to wash the dishes, she further discovered that her mom had written her name on each glove. Too funny! As if the rest of use would have brought rubber gloves that might get mixed up with hers. Honestly, when I considered all the things I would need for a comfortable stay in Uganda, somehow rubber gloves didn’t come to mind.

Today I’m sick, but as the symptoms are the same as the stomach issues I had back in Feb/March, I’m hoping this is just my body adjusting to different food and stuff, and not an actual infection. We drink bottled water, so I don’t think it would be a water-borne infection, although it could be if the food I’m eating was washed in bad water. I’ve been eating a lot more fresh fruit prepared by someone else, so who knows. Or it could be the milk. Anyhoo, I’m gonna cross my fingers and hope for the best. Let’s all chant together: No worms! No cysts! No malaria!


  1. No worms. No cysts. No malaria.

  2. I love you. I love you. I love you.

  3. What the heck is a bank order?

  4. Oh K, I feel your pain! It can be such a burden to worry about all the little ways you might get sick. I am glad you are taking it in stride. There is only so much you can control, and your immune system may surprise you!;) It never ceases to amaze me how much it can fight off on its own. I will cross my fingers for you that you make it through the rest of your stay unscathed. Since you are working with a health organization, I have a bit more hope that if you do catch something, they will diagnose you early and take care of you. Good luck, my fingers are crossed!!!!