A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Close Shave

First, I need to start by saying a) I am safe and alive and b) this is abnormal - Uganda is usually safe.

With that being said, I almost got killed today. I went to the District office of the Ministry of Education for a meeting this morning and had to travel back through Kampala to get home. I was changing taxi's near the taxi park when it all started (to be dramatic).... A huge riot started, there were gun shots everywhere, and then the police came with tear gas. Everyone started running and a nice man grabbed my arm and pulled me along telling me to run faster. We ran up this giant hill and my heart was beating like crazy and it was the first time I was scared in country.

I ran behind a building and called Peace Corps and they told me to get on anything I could and get away and to Peace Corps office that second. Traffic was stopped, people were running everywhere, gun shots are going off like crazy, and tear gas was seeping all over the city. I managed to get on a boda-boda (motorcycle) which we are only allowed to ride if our lives are in danger. My life was in danger. Fred, our safety and security director, met me on the road and I got in the PC vehicle. Another volunteer was also in the midst of these riots and we had to go get him out too. Now, we are all at PC - about 9 of us are stuck here - and they are telling us we may not go for a few days. All traffic has been stopped in and out of Kamapala. PC is trying to figure out where to put us for the night(s).

The story on why and how is still very unclear. Apparently the King of Buganda (the tribe I live in) wants to go to another area where there are a mix of other tribes and the government doesn't want him to because they think he is getting too powerful. Kings in Uganda technically only have social power and not political power. So there was this big mess today. Tribalism at its finest. The King is supposed to go there on Saturday so the next few days may even be worse than today.

From this dramatic experience, I have the utmost respect and appreciation for Peace Corps Uganda. They came immediately and make our safety a priority. I feel safe and cared for with PC on my team.

Well folk, just another adventure in Uganda.


  1. Amanda, I just found your blog while searching for news updates. My mother is living in Kampala and called this morning (4pm your time) to say that everything was "fine, but..." They have lost their internet access and she is almost out of cell phone minutes (and certainly cannot go out to buy more). Assuming you still have internet access, can you provide an update now that it is late evening?

  2. My sweet Amanda Joy...I am so thankful you are safe. I haven't checked my gordon email in awhile, I just got your email today. I love you so much my dear friend and will be sending an update soon. Until then, know that I am so glad you are safe and miss you more than you know. I love you