In Kampala!

After months of preparation, not to mention the past year of academic study, I'm finally in Kampala.

I've been here three days now and it has been such a rush just to have the grasp of Luganda that I do. To understand signs, to pick up parts of conversations, to surprise people by responding to questions in Luganda - it's been so exciting.

I've been very much reminded of the conversation we had in class about the low expectations people frequently have for foreigners to communicate using even a little bit of the language. I've greeted a number of people using just basic Luganda and been met with "oh! She's speaks Luganda!" One of my favorite moments was telling a bodaboda driver that we did not want a bodaboda, and he repeated what I said in surprise ("Tetwaagala bodaboda!") and then looked at me with some admiration and said "Omanyi Luganda." (You know Luganda.) And then he drove away laughing to himself.

So far I've been pretty good about using Luganda with strangers, but I haven't really had any significant conversations yet. The women who run the guest house where I am staying will be good for helping me practice - I think they now see it as part of their duty in dealing with me as a guest, which is a good thing.

Luganda classes start tomorrow at the City Language Centre. My husband and I, Uganda pros that we are, took some time this morning to find it beforehand (because so many times we've been hours late to something important because we couldn't track down where we were supposed to go). Good thing we did, because a trip that should've taken us probably 30 minutes took us about 2.5 hours and 3 or 4 miles of walking. Anyway, now that I know where it is, that takes a way some of the general anxiety I have about beginning.

I have lots of questions - what types of activities will we do together? Will they be disappointed with what language skills I've gained so far? Will there be other students, and if so, what will they be like? Will 4 hours a day of Luganda kill my brain? Will I eat Ugandan food for lunch every day?

Mostly I'm feeling excited, but also a little nervous. Just like pretty much every first day of school I've ever had. :) I've decided to keep this blog up during my time here, so look forward to more from me on how it's going. Until then, weelaba! (Goodbye!)


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