“You say goodbye and I say hello” and World Toilet Day

This is probably among the least substantive of posts that I have written. But, it should be amusing.

I love Ugandan greetings. You never know what you’re going to get. I’m only mildly extroverted with strangers at home, but since being in Uganda under the auspices of a U.S.-funded agency especially, I feel like I have an ambassadorial role as an American abroad. So I say hello in much more excess that I would at home. People are so friendly here, too, so that provides ease and invitation to be that much more gregarious in greetings. 

I am going to give you ACTUAL examples of exchanges that I have had over the past near four months. I emphasize…I never know what to expect each time, and the responses, especially from children, are very endearing to me 99% of the time.

Justin: “Hello!” Ugandan: “Yes please.”

Then there is the famous: Justin: “Hello!” Ugandan: ” I am FINE.” (emPHASis on the FINE)

Abbreviated version: Justin: “Hello!” Ugandan: “Fine.” (This one is quite common. It cuts to the chase of pleasantries skipping “how are you” etc. I love it.)

Justin: “Hello!” Ugandan: “Thank you.” (A woman just yesterday provided this one. A sweet old man with almost no teeth gave this one last week.)

Justin: “Hello!” Ugandan: “How are YOU?” (emPHASis on the YOU)

Justin: “Hello!” Ugandan: “Yes, sir.” (This one is a little too post-colonial for me; so not my favorite.)

And the famous boda-boda greeting… Justin: “Hello!” Ugandan: “Mzungu, yes. We go?”

As a side note today is World Toilet Day (http://www.worldtoilet.org) with pictures at: (http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/photoalbum/1226921797.htm). According to the Ugandan Daily Monitor newspaper, more than 12 million Ugandans do not have access to pit latrines and other sanitary facilities. (There are 30.7 million people living in Uganda.) In Katanga slum, there are 5 public toilets serving the population of 10,000 people. (Katanga is just on the other side of Mulago hospital and a 15 minute walk from where I live.) At least 400 adults (and many, many more infants) die of diarrhea due to poor sanitation in Uganda. There is approximately 60% latrine coverage in the whole country. Another thing to not take for granted and an

other project area many organizations and NGOs need continued support for building around the world.


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