Well, goodness there, Uganda…
Myself and 42 others were on a sort of house arrest, more like a snow day, for four nights and had plenty of time to do nothing but sleeping, reading, ipod, and playing with a screaming 5 year old.
No, I didn’t personally do anything to earn the imprisonment, rather
it was the king of the Buganda people. He was also put on house
arrest last Friday which at least made me laugh knowing we were all in it
Okay, so Thursday a group of us got together for a birthday and then
one of our trainers came in telling us we all had to go home right
away. With civil unrest only 40 minutes away in Kampala, they didn’t
want to take any chances with us getting in the middle of it spreading
to our area (which it did). We thought it was a little preemptive at
the time, but as the vehicles started flying by and soldiers in trucks
followed, we thought it was best to walk a little faster to our houses
on the hill.
A couple of minutes after getting back to the house, Crystal, 12, and Brenda, 13,
greeted me. Now, the sound of gun shots could be heard not only from
the bottom of the hill but also from road at the top.
Ronny from the next house down had his cell phone in one hand and was
waving pretty hard with his other as he told us all to get inside.
After he left, the girls being curious, went to the top of the drive
to see people running down the road. We could still hear gun shots
and off in the distance, there was a red haze where tires were being
burned in the road.
It’s not everyday that a 12 year old explains how “the bullets get you and
you live no more” or when the mother and sister haven’t returned yet
after 24 hours the 13 year old says “today we suffer…” with shots in
the background of course.
Honestly, I felt relatively safe in the house on the hill away from
the majority of action. Not having electricity, which would have
allowed for tv and news, would have been nice but oh well. I texted
more Thursday and Friday than I have the whole time being here.
Another trainee has his laptop set up with wireless so he would send
updates from twitter of what was going on. It wasn’t ideal but
it was what we had to work with
Patience, the eldest daughter at 23, was able to send a text saying
she and her mother were staying at an Aunts house since they weren’t
able to get home between the people throwing bricks at soldiers and
whatnot. There was a 2 hour period where none of the networks were
working so at least we were able to get something from them. It
started Thursday and on Friday when they got home, she said how she
never wants to live another day where she literally feared her life. Seeing people
burning in the middle of the streets, soldiers beating people, having
to hold their arms up for who knows how long to get through are things…
she didn’t really like. Around 50 people were killed and over 300 people were injured- but you won’t get that from the news.
In Uganda, they have kings and government, which just sounds
like disaster. They banned kings for about 30 years but are now
back because of the cultural identities that go with them. The
Bugandan King of central Uganda wants more power but a certain amount
of people don’t want him to. Riots, chaos, and whatever was the turn
out. Ronny, he explained it as “do you know what happened in Rwanda
in the 90’s with the genocide? kinda like that.” Great. Since I
didn’t really have any source of news, word of mouth was all I had and
who knows what all really did happen.
It calmed down for the most part by Saturday but the US embassy still
had the warning out to either stay in place or to leave the country
for a few more days. The king came to the area I live this last Friday and thankfully it was all okay. In India, we weren’t allowed to leave on
elections day because of what could happen and then in Nepal the taxis
stopped because of a giant riot with the mowist or whoever. This
world is slightly dangerous… So is life. The reading, extra sleep,
and nothingness wasn’t bad actually…
Thankfully, we have all been safe and the Peace Corps takes really good care of us. For a prayer request, safety, peace, language, and learning to live in a place very different from America. No worries though- God is taking care of us…