said George, as he pricked my finger for an Blood Smear to test my blood for malaria. Hmm... that's debatable, but after seeing 8-year-olds in the field hacking at the ground with hoes to help their parents farm, I am inclined to agree with him.
I guess I should start with how I came to be sitting in the health centre, waiting for the results of a malaria test. Doxycycline, the prophylaxis I am taking to prevent malaria, makes me nauseous every morning. That particular morning had been especially bad, so I opted to take it easy and stay in the apartment. Everyone at Kyetume was convinced that because I was at home, I must have malaria. Since, Reuben will not take no for an answer, I found myself sitting in the health centre, waiting for slides of my blood to dry so George could tell me if I did indeed have malaria or not.
And while we waited, we talked.
I told the lab technician that I was also very interested in science and was studying Chemistry at my university. He asked if I planned to become a doctor, and told him that I was not so sure even though my M.D. father would be happy if I did. After that, George said something that caught me way off guard, “So your mother is deceased?” Um, excuse me? No! What do you know that I don’t? When I replied in the negative, he said, “Ah, so you parents must be divorced.” No… not that either. What was going on? He was a little taken aback to learn that my parents were still married and living together. “The divorce rate in foreign countries is so high. I figured your parents would not still be married.”
And there it was. It took me by surprise that he was so astonished to learn my parents were still married. I came to Uganda very cautious about the stereotypes I had in my mind about Africa, not wishing to offend anyone that I meet. I guess I was so concerned about the potential prejudices I harbored, I hadn’t realized I’d be dealing with the reverse. There are the common – like, “Born in America? No, you are Indian.” and the ever popular one about how loaded I am since I am American and how America handed me money to finance my trip here. Oh, I wish. Well anyways, I thought that this incident of reverse stereotyping was especially bizarre and I’d share.
Overall things here are good. Finally, with less than a month to go, I feel like I have so many things to do that I don’t know where to start. But I don’t mind it. I think I like life better that way.