I continue to collect unique and curious signage here in Uganda. The attempts to use English to express a marketing idea or business concept often produce curious results as the Lusoga to English translation stubbornly refuses to communicate the original intention. Sometimes you can tell what they were going for, and other times you have no idea what they might have been thinking when they came up with their final sign. Here are some of my favorites.

One of my favorites from last trip had to be this sign in front of a housing development near my hotel in Jinja. They almost got it, but not quite…Restless

A close second is a sign on a little shop by the side of the road on the way to Kiranga. It proclaimed in black hand-painted lettering: Jerusalem Pork Joints. I’m thinking someone maybe didn’t do their research there. I noticed an older man forlornly sitting in the doorway of this tiny wood shack by the side of the road today, hoping someone will buy his “joints” (ribs, maybe??).

Way out in the villages, we have repeatedly passed through an intersection, and there right at the corner sits a small white building offering “saloon” services, which in Uganda does not mean what it means in the U.S. In Uganda this means salon, not saloon; as a result of this spelling quirk, there are saloons all over Uganda with a wide variety of beauty-related names. However, for some reason which escapes me completely, this little business enterprise in the village of Budongo (sp?) is proudly labelled Texas Saloon. Every time we pass it, I expect to see Ugandans in cowboy hats and six-guns. So far, I have been disappointed by seeing only Ugandans in hair-weaves and barber chairs.

The other day we drove through a market in a little community on the outskirts of Jinja called Bujogali. In the middle of dozens of little shops lining the road is one that boasts a name with a strange mix of genres that leaves me wondering what the story behind that one is: the King of Life Vampire Blood Mobile Phone Service. Maybe I don’t really want to know.

There is also the Empathy Kindergarten, the Saint Judith School (where Judith is the name of the Director’s daughter; the partner school in another community is named for the other daughter without the “Saint” in front of it – one wonders what the story is there), and the Kyabazinga School of Clinical Offices (where Kyabazinga refers to the deceased tribal king of the area).

And then there’s always this one from the last trip where the sign is longer than the storefront that houses the school, the Kagoma International Tertiary Institute of Health, Sciences and Arts. I shared this during my last trip, I think, and simply repeat my former remark – big dream there, and I hope they’re achieving it!