It is so dusty riding around in Uganda with the red dirt roads that I surrender to the dirt. I accept I will be dirty. But the people there do not accept it. They struggle to keep clean amidst the flying dust with as much resolve as Americans have for their diets. They scrub and polish their shoes daily. When is the last time you pulled out the shoe polish for your shoes? Never in my house. But in Uganda one item on the regular budget is shoe polish.
I’ve seen guys rinse and swipe a car every day before they get into it. George would approach me during our month stay and say, “uh, Mama Tonya, I need money to get the car washed or I will get pulled over by the police.” Someone yelled at my drivers that they were not allowed to bring the dirty car into their compound.
The most offensive thing a driver could do is race by a person walking along a dirt road. The dust picks up and nearly blinds the walker, and if it is a woman, she’ll be angry when it sticks into her hair. Could that be a reason the heads are wrapped?
I remember once walking along a long straight stretch of dirt road and the cars would pass without speed limitations. It didn’t take me long to discover the choking, blinding dust is a real bother. We walked straight to a well and washed our dust caked skin clean.
I think it is interesting how the people there struggle against something that will never go away: dust. They fight for the clean. Me? I would give into it. I do when I visit. I know I’ll get dirty all day long, I accept it and I hope for a good hot shower before I get into bed. But people there wash their feet, legs and arms in basins several times a day. I respect their struggle to stay clean and not allow their surroundings to dictate their personal hygiene.
With all that background on the clean standards in Uganda, the children are being trained to keep their new van clean and tidy. I love it. Work can be fun.