Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28, 2012 8:00 PM--Mail Call

Getting mail here is not exactly the same as it is in America or many other first world countries.  For the most part there is no such thing as a street address.  In big towns or in Kampala there are street names and sometimes specific buildings will have plot numbers (addresses) on whatever street they are on.  However, NO ONE gets mail delivered to their door.  Everyone who wants to get mail has to have a P.O. Box.  Most of the time organizations have their own P.O. Box and anyone who works for that organization will use that as their P.O. Box.  That is why I use my school’s P.O. Box.  If I wanted my own I would have to pay an annual fee in order to have one.  I don’t actually have a key for the P.O. box so to get my mail I either rely on the school to deliver it to me or I have to go in the Post Office and ask for it.  And if I have any packages I always have to go in to the post office and ask for them.  For these reason, I’ve become well acquainted with the post office lady in the Mbarara Post Office who is always there.  She knows exactly who I am and she knows my P.O. box.  Many times she doesn’t even have to check if I have packages, she just knows whether they are there or not.

Most Ugandans don’t even seem to get much mail.  I would say at least half the mail that comes into my school’s P.O. box is mine.  And usually the rest of it is for the school (not other staff members).  I don’t think people here even know what junk mail is.  I guess people just don’t think of the Ugandan postal service as very reliable and therefore they don’t use it much.  Despite being skeptical of its reliability, I can safely say I’ve never missed a package.  I actually seem to have more trouble sending things to the U.S. than getting things from the U.S.  For example, I’ve sent letters to the states with something small in them like a necklace and the letter will make it but the necklace will no longer be there.  I would think that someone would want to steal things coming from the U.S., not things coming from Uganda, but I guess not.

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