Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4, 2012 9:40 AM--Happy Independence Day America!

Happy 4th of July Everyone!!  Celebrating the 4th of July here is a unique experience, because you are celebrating American Independence in a country that doesn’t celebrate it.  Unlike Christmas and Easter and many other holidays, this is one that we, as Americans, celebrate, yet Ugandans do not celebrate it.  I find that when I look around, most people here don’t even know that today is the day that we are celebrating our countries independence.  In a way, it can kind of blow my mind that these people have no idea about any of the history or tradition behind what we would consider such an important event.  But on the other hand, how much do Americans really know about Ugandan independence.  For example, could you answer any of these questions? (Answers to follow at the end of this post):

1.) When is Ugandan Independence Day?
2.) What country did Uganda gain independence from?
3.) What are the words to the Ugandan National Anthem?  Can you sing it?  What language is it in (usually)?
4.) How many years of independence will Uganda be celebrating this year? (**Hint** It’s a big one!)

My guess is that most of you could only answer one or two of these questions, if any.  And for many Ugandans it would be the same if you asked those same questions about American independence, but sometimes you get surprised.  Last year, I went up to Gulu to celebrate July 4th with some of the volunteers who are posted up there.  When I returned I had one of the teachers at my school (a teacher of Geography, no doubt) say to me, “I was looking for you the other day because I knew it was your country’s independence day and I knew that the largest celebration for this is in your home, Philadelphia.”  I was blown away!  Not only did he remember where I was from (most people not only don’t know where Philadelphia is, but they also struggle to pronounce it), but he also knew enough to know that the biggest celebrations throughout the whole country are held in Philadelphia.  So by no means would I categorize Ugandans as ignorant when it comes to the history of America’s independence, but I would say that this gives all of us, as Americans, a challenge to teach them something new.

So does this make you want to go research more about the independence of other countries??  I hope so!!

Here are the answers to the questions above:
1.) October 9, 1962

2.) United Kingdom (remind you of another country?)

3.) Uganda National Anthem:
Oh Uganda!  May God uphold thee,
We lay our future in thy hand.
United, Free
For liberty
Together we’ll always stand
(There are more verses that aren’t usually sung.)
It is usually heard in English (however, sometimes it is sung in the some of the local languages).
Click here to hear the tune it is sung to and try to sing along!

4.) Uganda will be celebrating 50 years of independence this year, 2012!!

As for me, celebrating the 4th of July this year, I’m going out to Fort Portal this weekend.  There will be a huge gathering of volunteers and I believe we are having a BBQ, in true 4th of July style!  Hopefully by this time next year I will be back in the great old U.S. of A. to celebrate the 4th of July there!

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