Friday, October 26, 2012

October 26, 2012 5:00 PM--Nakumatt!!

This week there has been a very exciting development in Mbarara.  They opened a Nakumatt!  Most people are probably wondering what I’m talking about.  Nakumatt is a Kenyan supermarket chain and although when a new supermarket opens in America it isn’t very exciting, this is very exciting news for any volunteers that live near Mbarara.

Generally, supermarkets in this country are about the size of an American convenience store.  And you can get some American food, like Oreos and Pringles, as well as many other staple foods like pasta and bread however, these types of supermarkets are nothing to really write home about.

On the other hand, Nakumatt is like walking into America.  Not only are they huge like American supermarkets, but they also have a much wider selection of foods.  They are generally based around servicing the foreign population.

There is already a Nakumatt in Kampala and now just this week they opened one here in Mbarara and to us volunteers this is like the best thing since sliced bread (although ironically they don’t have any bread yet).  They are still in the process of opening so everything is not fully functional yet, but when it’s finished it will consist of 3 full floors of products from meat, cheese and alcohol to appliances and furniture.  If I was at the beginning of my service, I would probably splurge for a refrigerator just because of this store, although because I only have about 5 and half months left, it’s not worth it.  This store will even be making deli sandwiches and have a fully functioning bakery, but as of right now they don’t have any bread yet.

 So I went to check this out today.  The place was mobbed and they were basically having a block party outside.  It was pretty difficult to move around inside because of how many people there were, but I’m sure the novelty will wear off a bit and many of the Ugandans will go back to getting matooke and beans at the market.  It is funny to see Ugandans in such a store.  If you think I was amazed by it, you should have seen them.  They didn’t always seem to know what to do or where to go, which is partly what I think caused so much congestion.  In this store they also have moving sidewalk ramps to get to the upper floors.  The Ugandan children were fascinated and playing on them and the adults were scared and confused.  They were so tentative to get on them.  This is the only building in the entire town with such devices.  And when I finally left the store, it was like culture shock going back to the dirty streets of Mbarara.  It was like coming out of another world and back to reality in Uganda.

Although this store is great for all of us Americans living here, it also means we are just going to be spending more money.  With the wider variety of foods, many things cost more than elsewhere, especially the things you can’t get elsewhere.  But this is a small sacrifice I’ll make to eat like an American sometimes.

Bottom line, I wish I had a refrigerator and more money so I could fully enjoy this new store.  But even without both, I can still live a bit like a Queen, in the way I eat at least.

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