I'm sorry, I haven't blogged for a long time. I hope to start again very soon, but until then, enjoy the archives!
Hannah’s written a post, which means there will be a spike in traffic to my blog!
It is well known that most African cultures are based on the social and many of our Ugandan friends portray the West as ‘individualistic’. However, Ugandan ‘social’ is a very different idea to our own idea of ‘social’: both have their benefits and their disadvantages.
Despite spending the whole year here last year, it has been the last two weeks that has really made this clear to me (maybe because without Phil I have been relying very much on the company of my Ugandan friends). Although Ugandans greet everyone, and materially they always help people in their families and communities, they know very little about each other!
A friend goes to visit his sister every day and shares lunch with her yet has no idea whether she is still with her husband or if they are divorced; and Cathy from the guest house has left but no one knows what she has gone to do or has followed up to see if she is ok despite spending almost every day with her.
When I spoke to Josephine, our administrator about this she told me ‘it is rude to ask too deep, even to our own parents, I only tell people surface stuff or everyone will get to know my business’*.
Although I praise Ugandans for the way that they help and support each other, I find this inability to share deeper thoughts and feelings very sad (even the details people put on facebook are more personal than the ones they share with their friends!). It makes me very grateful for my own friends and the way I am able to share with them and I intend to invest in those friendships more than ever.
*the Pentecostal Church have tried to overcome this issue through a process of ‘counselling’ where the pastor or senior figures within the church will spend time sharing with members. Yet friends are still wary of this as there is no guarantee of secrecy and often pastors use examples (without names) in sermons which can be very obvious to the person/ people it concerns.