TRUE GRIT Part Two of Into Africa: A Journal of a New Life in Uganda

by Sharon Walling

No – this isn’t a movie review…but it is a moving review.  There is a strange phenomenon that I’ve experienced every single time I have eaten out in Uganda. Yes, even at 5-star restaurants at the Serena Hotel.  And that is, always, without fail, I will bite into a piece of bone, some particles of sand or other grit.

I haven’t decided if it’s psychological or physical, but whenever I bite into the gritty something, I immediately lose my appetite.  It happened last night…cream of mushroom soup. But this time, I wasn’t just moved to quit eating, I was moved to find the nearest restroom.

My husband, said, “Well you know the birds eat sand and grit to aid their digestion.”

Thank you…I really needed to hear that.

So having left the dinner table ill, I spent a miserable night.

I wish I could have American food. I’m tired of sweet potatoes that are white inside and eggs whose yolks are not yellow. (In fact, I look forward to just buying eggs that are not …uh…covered with evidence that the chicken’s digestion has been ‘aided’.)  I want to have a salad without sand as dressing, and meat mince (ground beef) without bones.  I want to enjoy rice without pebbles, and peas that are soft.

And you know what else? ─ I’d like to wake up without my ankles swollen from bug bites. I’d like to just one week where I go without an insect bite.

In other words, I’ve had enough of the nitty gritty.  The only ‘true grit’ I want to see again…is in a movie.


Sharon Walling is an American writer who is journaling from Uganda where she and her husband will be living for the next two years. This is Part Two of her story. To read Part One click here

(photo is of Hotel Masindi the oldest hotel in Uganda. Ernest Hemingway was involved in two plane crashes at Murchison Falls and Butiaba airstrip, within the space of one week. Hemingway recovered at Masindi Hotel. Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn stayed at Masindi Hotel whilst filming The African Queen at Masindi Port.)


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