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Interesting Ugandan facts: part two

Ugandan drivers use their blinkers to warn others of oncoming traffic.
Ugandan drivers use their blinkers to warn others of oncoming traffic.
Jeni Asaba

If you loved Interesting Ugandan facts: part one, you're sure to find the below explanations equally intriguing.

GAP in TEETH – Unlike Americans, who spend thousands of dollars to obtain the perfect smile, Ugandans prefer one particular imperfection – a gap in between the front two teeth. The wealthy even have dental work to create the gap, since those with the space are seen as more attractive.

AID - People rarely dispute that Africa needs foreign assistance. It’s the method of how it’s provided that creates controversy. To clarify the issue, I asked the Ugandan people. “What do you need? How can Americans most effectively provide aid to Africa?” The answer was simple – sponsorship. “When someone receives sponsorship,” one man told me. “It changes their life.”

DINNER – When my husband and I lived in New York, we typically ate dinner around 10:00 p.m. After moving to Minnesota, we bumped it up to around 9:00 p.m., which I’m frequently reminded is later than the norm. Our delayed dinner habits were a blessing in disguise when I learned that in Uganda, they don’t serve dinner until around 11:00 p.m. One evening I waited for food until 11:30 p.m. before giving up. I ate more bread and bananas in the morning to make up for the missed meal.

BLINKERS – Though Ugandans fail to abide by almost all traffic laws, in an interesting twist, they do alert other drivers when it’s safe to pass while driving down the highway. The vehicle in front turns on their right blinker to signify to the driver behind them that there is an oncoming car, and it is therefore unsafe to pass. They use their left blinker to show that the road ahead is clear. Drivers also often use hand signals to ask/tell other drivers if there is a police checkpoint ahead.

POLICE – Ugandan police make the equivalent of $100.00 per month, so it’s no wonder they are known for their open-handed acceptance of bribes in lieu of enforcing the law. An interesting story on our own interaction with the Ugandan police is soon to come!


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