As the only girl on this expedition I inevitably experience things a bit different from the guys. While they are frequently met with question about solar panels, the Landcruiser and their countries of origin, I normally get inquires about my age, my marital status and how much I have produced (meaning children, making me feel like a sow). When given the answers (28, not yet and none) the women tut-tut sympathetically and ask with lowered voices if my inability to produce is the reason for my unmarried status. The men, also with lowered voices, explain how much they would like to visit my country or volunteer to be my lovers.
During today’s stroll in downtown Kampala I meet a woman working at an orphanage. She explained that they routinely pick up female babies left in dumpsters. The impoverished beggars outside the National Mosque were all female. When reading one of the national newspapers I came across an “Ask the experts” column. A young woman wrote that she feared for her life and that of her unborn baby because her boyfriend was extremely violent and had struck her repeatedly. Amongst the advice she received was the following: “you have to show him that you love him and be patient. Don’t leave him; there is violence in every relationship.” On the opposite side was a report about the rape of a seven months old baby girl. My respect to women who fight prejudice and ignorance every day, you can do it!