Jamaica we have a bobsled team. “
Obviously being the first white person that many of these people have seen, people are going to look at me in disbelief for all two years of my service. I’ve gotten used to this idea. Even though they may have never seen an Imusugun before, though, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a preconceived notion about us. I realized this as I was walking past them one day, with my backwards cap, sunglasses, shorts and a t-shirt on. They didn’t mind this so much as they did what I was holding: a Ugandan hoe, and a pickaxe. I quietly walked past everyone at the health center, to the back of the compound where we had decided to build a new pit latrine (the old one is filling up). The white man, with work tools in his hand? Their skin is so weak! They don’t use tools, where is his machine to do the work for him?
Instead of paying an exorbitant 325 thousand shillings to have someone else dig a hole, I decided I would see what happens if I started digging it myself. I knew that people of Uganda consider it in their culture to dig, especially women. I knew this related to gardening and subsistence farming, but I wondered if people would join in the help with the hole as well. Within 30 minutes, and having my pick axe taken out of my hands in the nicest way possible, I had my answer. 2 hours later, when a sister of the convent, and the In-charge of the health center, came in her rain boots and brown dress to start her work, I knew I had found a backbone of pride for Ugandans.
It’s been two days, and already we’ve completed about 20% of the hole. The entire staff has helped, walkers-by have pitched in a few blows, and even some school children have aided. Nice to see the community say thank you, in the only way they can, for the health center that is working so hard for them. Also nice to see that I won’t be digging the pit by myself; I’d have to rent a bulldozer.