Powercords and other purchases
This morning, I went downtown again and, after visiting 6 stores (luckily all in the same neighborhood) and walking a mile to the one bank that takes my ATM card (I hadn’t brought enough cash, and credit cards are taken almost nowhere), I purchased a new powercord.
Kampala seemed incredibly remote before I got here. I carefully packed Q-tips, unsure if they would be available. Now I recognize how easy it is to acquire many of the things that I need, or simply things I want. My stupid mistakes and technical difficulties can be fairly easily overcome, as when I forgot to attach an adapter when I plugged in the battery charger. Another was available in fairly short order.
At the same time, some things I took for granted are much harder to come by. I needed to print out copies of borrower profiles once I got here and accessing a printer meant taking a matatu (taxi) to the next neighborhood and purchasing copies at 500 shillings a page (about 30 cents a sheet). I am used to printing anything and everything whenever I want, but now I think carefully about whether or not I really need that page. Given the usual state of my office at home, this is a good thing.
The primary difference for me in my acquisitions is the time that it takes: taking a matatu instead of hopping in the car; going to six computer stores instead of Best Buy; waiting for someone to help me print out my files instead of doing it myself. And I admit I miss the ease of doing these tasks at home. I’ve lived alone for a long time and considered myself to be very self-sufficient. Now I’m being asked to do things in a way that I haven’t been asked to since I was a kid: to share, to wait, to take my turn, and to not always expect things to go my way. I’m glad to report that I haven’t had any temper tantrums–so far.