The 7 Most Common Misconceptions About Africa

Elephant with Sand

This is a massive issue. Once, in a small presentation at a school in Florida, I spoke about Uganda and my life therein. After finishing my small talk, I asked if there were any questions. Instantly, almost every hand rose. For the next half hour, I fielded questions from curious sixth graders, none of whom had even left the country.

Why is this a problem? Because every question they gave was slightly offending, and all are addressed in this post. The lack of African education in the United States is, quite frankly, concerning. So, to combat this massive blight of ignorance, here are the 7 most common misconceptions about Africa.

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The Quirks of Living in Africa

Africa Sunset

Honestly, one of the most common questions Africa Boy gets is this: “What are some of the funniest things you’ve seen in Uganda?” Well, after living here for 15.5 years, I have a few that are almost sure to make you laugh.

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America or Uganda?



You know, as an MK to Uganda, I receive a lot of weird questions from both sides of the globe. When in Uganda, I receive strange questions about America. When in the USA, I receive strange questions about Africa. Interestingly, there is one question that appears on both sides of the planet. This question was actually something I wrestled with for over three years. Here’s how it usually goes.

“Out of both the United States and Uganda, which is your favorite country?”


“You’ve lived in two totally different cultures. Which one is your personal favorite?”

Some of you will laugh that this seemingly simple question has been something I’ve drastically wrestled with for years. Others, having asked me this question, will scratch their heads, unsure as to why this question is so difficult to answer.

It should be simple, right?

Honestly, it’s far harder than you would think. There are elements in both countries that I love and hate. For one, I love pizza! That, to me, is one of the best things about the USA. However, I also hate the “my personal space” atmosphere found in America. The fact that you don’t greet that random dude on the street often grates on my nerves. While in Uganda, that man would have greeted you cheerfully, without any regard for “stranger danger”. But upon arrival in the United States, I instead find that the harmless runner on the sidewalk will call the cops if you say hi.

Honestly, if you are repetitively telling your kids “stranger danger”, then how do you expect to meet anyone?

Anyway, I digress. There are many, many factors to my likes/dislikes of the USA and Uganda. Despite these, there is no clear cut answer. As a country, I find that I like Uganda a bit better than the USA. However, the USA also contains some of my favorite people.

So, to answer the question: I can’t answer the question. There you are. There is no real answer to that. While I like and dislike things about both countries, there isn’t a clear-cut answer to the dilemma.

So, if you ever have the misfortune of meeting me, or you somehow already know me, make sure to ask me: What do you like and dislike about the United States? You will receive an interesting answer!


Alright, that’s all for today. Thanks for reading! Also, I’d like to apologize for my inconsistency in blog posts. Our internet has been down for the last week, and I’ve found it very difficult to publish posts. Please bear with me!

The Ultimate Insult


Today I was reminded of a very humorous story. Now, living in Africa, I have many of these stories, but this is one of my favorites.

On a hot, mid-October afternoon, my family and I were taking a boat tour of Murchison falls. In order to reach the falls, we had to take the boat about 30 minutes up-river. My entire family and I sat in the boat, chatting, and drinking the complimentary water. On a dare from my brother, I drank a full 900 mLs of water; so much water, in fact, that my stomach felt bloated.

Upon reaching the falls, my family and I spent some time taking pictures, hanging out, and admiring the pretty view. After about 15 minutes, the tour guide announced it was time to head back to the hotel. We got back into the boat, but as we did, I noticed (unsurprisingly) that my bladder seemed quite full. I decided to hold it for as long as I could, hoping to make it back to the hotel. This plan did not work, however, as my bladder continued to fill.

Finally, I announced my pressing need to our tour guide. He grinned knowingly and stated that if I really needed to go, I could do my business off the back of the boat. Sadly, I need some peace, and the back of a vibrating, moving boat is a rather difficult thing to urinate from. After a few pitiful tries, I told the tour guide that we should probably stop. He nodded, and slowed the boat to a crawl, searching for a place on the bank that we could stop and wait. After a few minutes, we stopped, but I had to go so bad I didn’t even step off the boat. I simply did my business off the side of the boat and into the water.

Looking back, I realize that was probably not the best idea, but it seemed appropriate at the time. Well, after doing my business, I looked down into the water. There, to my horror, I saw a fully grown, adult crocodile floating in the water. I had just urinated on a crocodile. To this day, I am thankful that the crocodile did not notice this grave insult but merely continued to sleep. Personally, if I had been the crocodile, I would have tried to exact revenge upon the guilty party, but it (thankfully) did not.

The moral of the story-Don’t drink water on a dare, and watch where you urinate.

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