even me, I am not getting you

12 02 2012

Each language in the world, each dialect of that language, has peculiar turns of phrase that endear it to the users.  The above 2 phrases are language-snippets I hear from Ugandans reasonably often.  “even me” means ‘me too’. As in “I am thirsty” and the second person would say, “even me, I am thirsty.” 

And “I am not getting you” is – I really don’t understand.

So, here are a few signs taken in the last while and relating a few things that I just am not getting about life here.


The first is an incident on Friday, as we were heading to Kampala.  We were driving through the beautiful Mabira forest area when my nose began burning and it smelt like something was burning.  I have been in a few auto situations where the engine caught alight, and I thought that was the case.  Deon started coughing, Jamal (our driver) choked out a few splutters and we managed to pull off. I grabbed my things for evacuation when my eyes began burning like crazy and tears started flowing.  Deon and Jamal had the same responses, and we fled the car, wiping at eyes and coughing.  The engine was not on fire, but I could see a cloud of smoke disappearing behind us.  A bodaboda driver was wiping furiously at his eyes, and we realised: we had been through TEARGAS!  A police van had been driving ahead of us, out of Jinja where elections had been held the day before.  There may not have been enough riot action for the police, or they had a spare canister about, or I AM NOT GETTING IT, but they threw teargas onto the road, in a peaceful forest, where there were no people causing disturbances.    Strange, unexplained, but true.

A few bizarre signs seen around:


  Yup, you can buy antics here.  Like the very old items around? 

(One does not need to pay for seeing antics of people – they are on display, free, every day.)





The parking sign is at possibly THE mall in  Kampala. 

I am longing to find a gal called Constance as my driver: we will have a designated parking spot, just for us.


Something visitors to Uganda soon hear is the overuse of ‘please’.  As in, “Is a room available?” Answer – “yes please.” 

So another very popular mall’s poster at the bathrooms would be perfectly understood in Uganda (but not too many other places). 


Another oddity – can you understand this? Please help, if you do.


The advert below was up in the Shoprite in Kampala.  Between adverts for houses, motorbikes and cars – an ULTRASOUND.  Exactly where you would expect to see this advertised, right?  In Uganda somehow it makes sense.


The last event I am not getting was heard on the news this week, and I heard it from Deon – for once I just did not have the energy to face the barrage of grammar errors and bad news in the newspapers this entire week. 

Somewhere in the country this week the blood transfusion services had to sort out issues: when they called for blood at a hospital the blood had been replaced with juice.  I am not sure if this happened before or after transfusion (I think it was after, which is very very possible in Uganda.)   My mind boggles at the magnitude of errors of this kind.


Soon after moving into our house we had to explain to Sarah (our helper) why we don’t like using aluminium pots for health reasons.  Deon told her that it kills off brain cells, and Sarah commented “no wonder the people in Uganda are so stupid. They use aluminium all the time.”

At times, I wonder if there was not a considerable amount of truth in her words.  Till then, I will try to be getting it, but not always succeeding.




One response

12 02 2012

Thanks for the morning laugh! I am sure it is very frustrating to live with these kinds of mistakes, but as an onlooker they seem quite humorous. The errors on the signs reminded me of being in China. Towards the end of my trip there I was taking way more sign pictures than scenery pics!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: