The Pearl of Africa will always have a place in my heart

We have had the privilege to live in the pearl of Africa for ten years now. Sadly, that time is coming to a close. There are certain things that I will not miss (Bodas, politics, matooke), but there are things about Uganda that will be etched in my memory forever, and I will cherish them till the day I die. Here is a list of things I will miss about Uganda.

The people: Uganda is the home to the most friendly people on the planet. Even the most introverted and shy visitor would find it near impossible to avoid new friendships in Uganda. They are inviting and quick to strike up a pleasant conversation. I have lived in countries around the world, but Uganda is the most friendly and welcoming of them all.

The beauty: From the highest mountain to the lowest valley, Uganda is beautiful. Whether it be the rugged Kidepo Valley in the northernmost part of Uganda or the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains in the far west to the vast savannahs in Murchison Falls National Park in the north, Uganda has an abundance of natural beauty. The scenery alone is enough to leave a lasting impression, but when the exotic wildlife is added to the mix, every day seems like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The adventure: You never know what is going to happen in Uganda. There is no such thing as a tedious 9–5 job. Every day holds the possibility of a new adventure. Maybe it is a flat tire on a muddy road or a friend unexpectedly giving birth to twins and asking you to help. You never know what it might be, but you learn to expect the unexpected and hold your plans loosely because adventure awaits.

The cultures: From the colorful clothing to the cultural dances, Uganda is blessed with a large spectrum of cultural diversity. We have had the opportunity to interact with these cultures through learning languages and developing friendships with people who are willing to share the unique aspects of their distinct cultures. I love the colorful pastoralists tribes living in the Northeast of Uganda and the welcoming peoples in the Northwest who have lent their land to refugees fleeing conflict. Each culture is distinct and has something new to teach us.

The pace of life: In Uganda, there is no rush. People work, but they are not slaves to work. They always make time for relationships. It can be annoying when someone is an hour late to a meeting, but it is also nice when people blow off their plans so that they can continue an interesting conversation with you. The pace of life in Uganda is determined by relationships, not by the clock.

My colleagues: I have been blessed to work alongside some wonderful people over the last ten years. They come from diverse backgrounds, but we have found common ground. They have shared their homes, families, and friendships with my family and me. Living overseas, you rely on each other for things more than you do in the states, and that creates deeper bonds. I know that our friendships will continue, but I will certainly miss the day-to-day interactions.

Uganda is a wonderful country. It has been voted the world’s friendliest country multiple times now, and that is for a good reason. As we bid farewell to Uganda, we will hold in memory the good things and let the frustrations and hardships slip away into oblivion.

If you have never visited Uganda, what are you waiting for?

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