This one time..
I went the Police Station to report a stolen wallet one time in Iganga, Uganda. This was a lesson on corruption.
I went together with my Ugandan counterpart, one of the people we’re paired up with in the community to help us navigate the local area, and the conversation went pretty standard.
We went inside the police station and greeted the officer just like normal. I tried greeting him in Lusoga and he seemed to just laugh it off, like I couldn’t speak or something lol. After the greetings, we went on to start filing the police report for a stolen wallet. He asked for my name.
Oh I’m Joshua Domingo.
Joshua. Jooshua. Oba(or), Yoswa.
Ahhh Joshua. Kitegeire(understood).
He asked me what I’m doing here.
I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer, I work in Business and Agriculture.
Ahhh, I see. Wow. Thank you for the work.
Yeah I’m teaching about entrepreneurship skills, bookkeeping, and diet diversification through home gardens.
Wow, that’s really good. How have you enjoyed Uganda?
The conversation carried on like normal and everything. I wanted to get on his good side, after all, I’m talking with the police, I should be working together with him!
Officer asked, “so where are you from”?
*Well, I’m from America.
Ah no, but you’re not. Yoswa, you’re not white.
Yeah we don’t all have to be white. I’m Filipino American.
Oooooh. I get it. You know you look like someone I really, really, love.
Confused and stunned, I let out a forced laughter cause that was the first time I’ve ever heard that.
…Yeah that’s my uncle.
We finished the report and everything, and we were getting along wonderfully. Joking about race, kind of talking about where I come from and shedding some light about people in America. I got to talk more about my work, my family, and overall it was an elightening moment.
Aha, so Yoswa Domingo, I think we are all finished.
Now in a whisper, so let me ask from you 10,000 UGX.
You had to ruin a perfectly good opportunity for friendship. In my head, I was like “Nooo, man I thought we were doing well. Thought we were becoming friends, then you pull the old corruption card.”
In the end, I didn’t pay 10,000 UGX, I paid 5,000 UGX. I’ll beat his butt next time when I call up my uncle.