It’s been long, too long indeed. I have been back to Uganda for almost two months and it has been a bit hard for me. However hard change is, it is good and we must embrace it.
First, Old memories versus the current situation. Most of my friends have sort of moved on, which is sad for me. I did not expect them to freeze their lives just because I was away for a year but it has been extremely hard to find that in the time I was gone, people got engaged, married and some even have children with new life plans altogether. (But quick side note: how have I been single for a long time and people meet other people and get engaged within a year?)
Anyway, am extremely happy for all my dear ones but it’s like I travelled back to the past expecting to find things as they were only find people left me for the future in a time machine. But I finally got to meet my niece, Zoe, who was delivered in my absence and she is precious ❤
Second, Food and weather. I always have “tummy issues” every time I change my food palette, am sure my stomach is always sighing “make up your mind woman!” But now everything is back to normal. When I left Johannesburg, it was quite cold as it was winter but when I landed at Entebbe…Jesus!! I was wearing a winter coat, turtle neck, boots and a sweater, safe to say I was extremely overdressed. Both my flights had been delayed, I got home at 11 pm, sweaty with loads of luggage from my 9 months in SA, I was pissed and tired..
Third, My limited patience towards racial issues in this country. Before I left the country, I was for a lack of better words, “not bothered” by issues of race. Am Ugandan, I never had to think of this or even how to define it because it is who I am. After travelling to New York City, I quickly settled into the role of being “African”.
South Africa was honestly a bit harder for me, I experienced xenophobia in different forms. Sometimes, it was subtle, other times it was the full on mean and rude. Questions of “where you from, why are you taking our opportunities and when do you leave” became a thing of the day.. Never any physical violence towards me though, bless the Lord!
There was a bit if racism too and it was honestly annoying. I lived in SA longer than I did in New York and over time learnt not to take any of the comments to heart, they were hurtful but I was not going to let how other people felt about someone’s black skin ruin my shopping..or my time there so like most things, I let go.
After being back, my eyes have been open to so many things that I didn’t care about in Uganda. Like how some people will think you are cooler because you hung out with white people or how European beauty standards still prevail “You are hot if you have fake hair extensions, the kinky hair looks utterly dirty and messy” and how the black people at certain embassies are rude to fellow country men but for some reason the white people who work there are more polite?! (different topic but still…who trains them to be so?) and bunch of other stuff which is really disturbing but am still figuring out how to diplomatically write about them on my very public blog…
Let’s just say that I have become “more socially aware” since I travelled and came back home, I now have zero tolerance and minimal patience for anything that insinuates racial superiority of one race over another in my home country. I will quickly admit to Uganda having a lot of tribalism, it’s like an internal version of racism and it disgusts me.
“Why are you so angry Esther?” my friends ask
“Because nothing hurts like being treated like a degenerate because of the colour of your skin, and for some, not even realising that you are treated so”
End of Rant.
Image source: Clarke Sanders