Cultural Priorities and the Breakneck Speed of the West

I love this shot of Jason, Eddie (our driver in Uganda), and myself. If you are holding a machete in the middle of the woods-jungle I think it’s a rule, you have to stop to have a photo taken. Jason and I were attempting to clear a few branches away for a lady who lived on the property and to say thanks she gave Eddie these awesome avocados (you can just see her in the photo in the upper right background). Actually, we both thought it would be really cool to get to use a machete to do some actual real work, and I ended up with the machete and Jason the axe pipe thing (sorry Jason).

I know I have said it before but it still amazes me. The speed and priorities of life in Bulboa where this lady lives is so extremely different from the west, even different from just up the road in Kampala. Life down in Buloba isn’t really run by a clock on a wall like we know it, and no one seems to be in a hurry to do anything, it’s just TIA (this is Africa). I didn’t really hear that said too much while I was over there, but I did hear it a few times, which generally refers to “whenever”. I personally loved that and enjoyed the down time, especially since that pretty much doesn’t exist at all on this side of the world. I fight for it every week but it’s certainly not the norm no matter how hard you try to slow things down. The little wood we chopped up was supposed to last her about a month, although I’m not sure how, the same bit of wood wouldn’t have been enough to start a fire to me. We did spend about an hour or two walking around this neighborhood while others in our group worked on some painting. It was very low key, very laid back, very TIA.

Over here this week life moved along at our normal breakneck speed. Nothing inherently wrong with that but every minute of every day is packed full and it didn’t take me any time at all to fall back into life at hyper-speed where you have to fight for margin. Margin is where life happens, where we meet with God and remember why we do what we do.

4 thoughts

  1. Hi Mr. Scott! I just wanted to say that I love the pictures that you’ve put up of your trip to Africa.They are really good!
    I’m actually going on the trip in October to Uganda with 4 Corners and I’m doing what I’ve dubbed “photography missions.” I’m taking photos of people and their families during some of the days that we are there and I also want to take pictures of everything while I’m there. Kinda like what you did. I was wondering if you had any tips that you could give me. I have a Cannon EOS T2i with two lenses…18mm-200mm and 18-55mm. Is there anything that I should do or take to protect my camera and how many batteries did you have to take along with SD cards? Is there anything that I should watch out for culturally that the Ugandans might get disgruntled if I take pictures of?? I’m fairly new at this kind of stuff. Thanks for reading this and I thank God that you had a good trip!
    Thanks! Stephanie

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    • Stephanie, sounds like you will have a great trip… you will probably know exactly what to take when you get home :), I know I did lol. I was using a Nikon D7000 which is a similar camera to what you are going to be using. I used a single prime lens, a 35mm f/1.8 almost the entire time. I had a bunch of lenses with me, I just never used them. After a while I realized I just needed to stick the AF on an automatic tracking and the highest frame rate per second I could get.

      My camera did take quite a beating dirt wise but there wasn’t anything I could do about it, the rest dust and mud over there just covers everything, I just kept it as clean as I could.

      As far as my experience went, the Ugandan’s were all super great about taking photos. I was really surprised, I was expecting my normal push back but they just loved getting their photo taken, and would even ask me to take their pic. They always wanted to see the pic on the camera after I took it and that really seemed to help, so if you get a chance, show them the pic after you take it, they love it.

      I took 2 batteries, and that was plenty. I took a ton of SD cards and I needed them. I had 6 16G 30/mps card, and about 6-7 8G cards. I really only used the 16G cards, but I also shoot jpg and raw, so I tend to eat cards. Hope that helps, good luck… I’m going back in October as well, where are you going, Kampala?

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