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Many ugandan women wear brightly printed outfits made of awful shiny synthetic fabric, and consisting of a longish skirt and a top with sharply puffed sleeves. Slightly more revealing cousins to the clothing worn by fundamentalist mormon polygamist women.

The doctor we saw had a tendency to deworm every child, just for good measure. I'm wondering if deworming would perk me up.

Minibuses have little mottoes across their top. Psalm 1107. Thank u our jesus. Alleluia. God is Able. I heart Samora. (A brand of petroleum jelly -- Africans use a lot of petroleum jelly to keep skin from drying).

There is a lot of crossover between Rs and Ls. The Cool Bleeze pub.

Resourcefulness. Boys push scooters made entirely of wood. Kids play with old tires and a stick, like victorian hoop and stick games that I had completely forgotten about. A child pulls a toy made of a milk bottle with little wooden wheel stuck on. People on motorcycles wear light jackets turned backward, for the wind break. A woman carries a bundle of sticks for firewood on her head, a hoe over her shoulder, a jerrycan for water balanced on the hoe. Another child carries a jerrycan of water with a green banana stuck in the hole as a stopper. People sit on top of the steers they have herded into a truck to carry to slaughter. 20 people stuffed into the back of a tiny truck, hanging off the sides. "Mode of transport," says Silver, pulling up behind so I can take a picture. I obediently do, and it prompts a man to shout at me. Silver laughs.

Cocky roosters wander everywhere. A girl casually holds one around the neck as she heads for the community hospital.

Uganda has the 3rd highest birthrate in the world, after Niger and Mali. 47.84 births per 1000 people. Canada is 191st, with 10.28. I think that means there are 4 Ugandan babies for every one Canadian. "What's the birthrate," I ask Elinah. "A dozen!" she snorts.

In Uganda, life expectancy is 53. I am dangerously close to being a crone.

Ugandans think shops that sell clothes for dogs might be the silliest thing they ever heard.

Goats are everywhere, sometimes tied, sometimes wandering, sometimes wandering with ties dragging. A goat stands in the crook of a tree.

Coffee trees are as luscious looking as I imagine. I can't tell the difference between a banana tree and a plantain tree, but I'd like to lie in the shade of either of them.

Uganda cows are pointy -- pointy horns, pointy spines, pointy knobby little legs. They're mostly brown and don't look anything like fat North American cows.

Tea plants are pruned to look like bushes. Left on their own, they're trees. Tea tree oil. Huh.

I keep forgetting to flip the switch that enables a power socket, so nothing ever charges.

In the rural areas, women are always working. Many men are working, but many are also just sitting in bandas, scowling at the day.

Derick's final letter to me: "Hello aunt cate. It's quiet absurd that you gonna leave me alone. I wish you would remain and stay together. Thank you very much for the good things you have done for me. I have had a great moment with you. I would like also to wish you a safe journey back home to Canada. May the almighty God bless you forever. I wish you a merry xmas and prosperous new year. Remember to send my greetings to other people in Canada. Lovely letter from Derick."

Here are Derick's greetings and gratitude, along with those of all the other kids, on my final evening in Uganda.

Posted by CateinTO 12:00

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I want photos of the women's clothes. Maybe it's not the same, but over time, I came to love the look of that fabric. I need to know. What is the population of Uganda, compared with Canada? What is the life expectancy of a 45 year old in Uganda (the 53 is the LE at birth, right?)

Oooh, the questions!

by Renee

I laughed at your comment of shops that sell clothes for dogs. Boy, that really says a lot doesn't it. I remember having a conversation with a Nepali (in the mountains) about how people in Canada had dogs (as pets) and he kept asking "but what do they do"? (i.e carry goods like a donkey, etc.)

by Melissa

I Loved this posting.
And I agree with Ugandans about the silliness of stores that sell clothes for dogs. Very silly indeed.

by LINDA Blong

I also remember seeing cows in Nepal and not knowing what kind of animal they were. They were so scrawny and had horns - I had no idea up until that moment that cows had horns! I asked my friend (who incidentally grew up on a dairy farm): "I wonder what kind of animal that is" and she said "That's a cow" as if I were a complete urban idiot (which I guess I was) - but really, they didn't look anything like the cows I knew about AT ALL!

by Melissa

Colleen - if you're reading this blog, you'll recognize yourself as the friend in Nepal. I forgot you were reading these blogs or I would have put your name :)

by Melissa

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