My first full African day!

Trip Start Jan 03, 2013
Trip End Jan 19, 2013

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Uganda Stock Exchange

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 2: Stock Exchange/City Tour

Jambo everyone!!  Today we got a surprising wakeup call at 5 am (and it was NOT the rooster that lives here).  In the dark of night I woke to the sound of what I initially thought was something dying.  Upon waking a little more I realized it was actually someone SINGING. some ungodly time.  I had a feeling I knew what it was but was unsure and Renee and I mused about it before I passed out again until 6.  Later we asked Simon and he confirmed my suspicion.  It was the first of five daily calls to worship for the Muslims. Sooo that's going to be a 5 am alarm clock every day.  Yay for cultural differences! But for real, it was actually kind of cool...despite being before dawn.

Then came time for our very first African sunrise!  To our disappointment it was too cloudy but we got a nice morning walk out of the deal before breakfast and the drive to the Ugandan Stock Exchange.  To our excitement we had some time to kill first and were able to stop and look at some craft stands (where I got my bag and found the PERFECT gift for my bff Tara).  Then it was time.  To be frank, I was not exactly excited to see the exchange but in hindsight it was actually really cool.  We got to ask a lot of questions and learned so much.  Fun fact: their stock exchange is only 13 years old! How neat is that? Answer: super neat.  It is still done manually here although they hope to have an automated system within the year.  After that we got to talk to the CEO of Crested Stocks and Exchanges and he just so happens to be from...WAUSAU WISCONSIN!  Also pretty neat.  He told us a lot about the company and has almost talked some of us into buying stocks here in Uganda.  I may be purchasing 178 shares of stock in an African energy company called UMEME. So that's fun.

We came back to CANLET (I messed it up yesterday..oops) for lunch once it started to rain and Renee and I took a power nap while it thunder stormed.  By the time we woke up an hour later it had passed and we got to go on our tour of the city.  This place is incredible.  Kampala is built up on hills and each hill is "dominated" (for lack of a better word) by certain groups.  So the first hill we went to was Catholic.  They had hospitals and schools and we were able to go into the first Catholic cathedral in Uganda.  I will post pictures later since I'm not totally sure how to do that on these computers.  Not exactly modern, but hey they work.  We were bamboozled into taking a guided tour of the place when a gentleman came up and started showing us around.  We later discovered that he wanted payment.  Oops.  Our professor had to pay for it but I think it was completely worth it.  It's really amazing to see how Christianity came to these people and eventually came to dominate their culture.  Around 45% of the people are Catholic and another 45% are Protestant with only 5% Muslim (which, no offense intended, makes me wonder why they insist on waking up the entire city every morning) and the rest different varieties.  We continued driving and passed the HUGE mosque built by Colonel Gadhafi himself.  Well, not him obviously but he had it built.  It was pretty extravagant.  We passed quite a few other mosques as well.  We also swung by the first Protestant cathedral as well as the University that our professor attended! It was really cool.  And there were giant storks everywere.  I mean terrifyingly large. (After a traumatizing childhood experience with peacocks I am not a huge fan of large birds).  I will go ahead and compare them to the squirrels of RF. Lots of storks.

After our drive across the city and back we stopped at a mall. And BOY was it overpriced. A total tourist trap.  Needless to say we didn't buy much.  Basic necessities..q-tips, toothpaste, wine...the usual. (The wine was made of pineapples and is VERY strong!)  It was strange being there though...every vehicle was scanned upon entering the parking lot and each person was scanned before entering the store...except for us.  Which we noticed soon after going in.  We thought it very strange that everyone was being scanned as we watch but not one of us 5 girls was.  Still not sure what that's about.

Once we got in the van to come back the exhaustion started kicking in again. I went straight to the "internet cafe" and entered last night's blog entry and took a quick look at Facebook before another delicious meal with wine.  After a lot of chitchat, our professor broke out a bottle of "Ugandan Water" (more commonly known as Waragi, a gin made from bananas!)  and then had us all try it.  I was lucky enough to be first and he made me try it initially without th lemon that is typically taken with it.  Awful.  It doesn't help that I hate gin.  However, when the lemon was in it it was much more tolerable.  Almost something I would willingly drink on my own....almost.  Shortly after I gave into my exhaustion and here I sit again in my princess tent getting ready to turn in for the night.  At least I almost made it to ten o'clock this time! However, it's another early morning tomorrow so it's time for some shuteye!

Goodnight my friends! (or good morning/afternoon!)

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