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Let's Shop



With the arrival of a new class of Pepperdine Law School interns, we have the privilege of introducing new folks to grocery shopping in Kampala. 


The students arrived around midnight on a Friday night and we pick them up from their housing on Saturday morning to “go shopping.”  They are still exhausted and two of our students this summer had never been on an airplane before – EVER. 


They rallied!  We first exchanged currency at the FOREX – visitors can use debit cards with exorbitant exchange fees or bring cash – crisp, unmarked or folded $100 bills for exchange into Ugandan shillings. 


We then visited a local store and they stocked up.  They didn’t really know what to get (still being deliriously tired) but it gave them an idea what they can find.  We go to an actual grocery store although locals tend to frequent roadside stands at a fraction of a price.  This way, it’s just a one stop shop where you pay fixed prices and don’t have to haggle for your purchases.


Scott chose a massive can of olives – not sure why.


There are loads of cleaning products (the entire aisle of toilet cleaner) and mops which they won’t need as they have staff at their housing who will take care of the basics including laundry for a small fee. 


They all had to get water and a pump because you don’t drink or brush your teeth in tap water (heavy mineral content and things like Typhus). 


Another convenience – local pharmacies provide over the counter products that you would need to get prescribed from a doctor in the U.S.  Antibiotics for stomach bugs, malaria meds and most other prescriptions you would get in the states.  We’ve had guests find blood pressure meds and specialized asthma medication and inhalers mostly from the U.K.


We then went to the local cell phone store where each intern purchased a local “mifi” or portable wifi router to make sure that they are linked to the internet for phone calls, legal research or to Google anything they need.  This little gadget costs about $10 and can be loaded with data which is easily topped up when necessary.


Next, we stopped for an excellent lunch and after some brief welcoming remarks, Scott always asks the same opening question geared to help tear down walls and to be real with one another as we embark on a nine-week journey together. 


“What is something that you would love to get through the summer without anyone knowing about you?”


There are downward glances and some awkward body language but after the first brave person shares, its amazing how much transparency brings the group together.  Law students tend to be pretty competitive but this question strips down walls and welcomes us to adventure together as fellow broken sojourners during this season.


We’re two weeks in and I’m excited to share more about this amazing group of students and the difference they are making in Uganda.

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Steve Norris
Steve Norris
May 31

The perfect introductory question. Well done, and carry on.

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