2nd Day of Current 7 week trip to Uganda– As my assistant Alfred and I raced back and forth across Jinja yesterday, frantically trying to beat the clock on the many errands we had to complete before leaving for Buvuma Island tomorrow (Sunday), hunger finally took us out, and we stopped by the side of the road, unable to finish one more task without sustenance. We had Pastor David Waisana with us, and between the three of us, no one had a good idea where to find a quick but filling midday meal, which for them would be their main meal of the day. Our plans had been waylaid and set back by car problems. Our list was still unpleasantly long and incomplete.

Finally, I remembered the new Mexican restaurant that opened in Jinja last November (2014). Neither of them was familiar, of course, IMG_0170with Mexican food, and so, I thought, this would be an excellent and enlightening opportunity to plug that cultural gap, as well as hopefully find some good food. We taxied around the block and there it was, surprisingly close to where we had been sitting at the curb – the Sonrisa Mexican Restaurant.

When I had visited it last year, just three weeks after it opened, the enterprising young lady who owned it had just one table and a wicker patio chair and coffee table set. Now they sported three tables and the familiar patio set as well. Previously, I remembered, IMG_0169they had two dishes to choose between, but now she handed us a full four-page menu, listing the kind of items I could find in any authentic Mexican restaurant in the States. Apparently, business has been brisk and her enterprise is very successful, though she was experiencing the typical staff difficulties of the restaurant field – on this day, two of her staff had called in sick and she was training new cooks. So we waited quite long for the food.

An additional factor that supported the successful aura of the place was a Sharpie signature wall. Among all the graffitti-ed signatures and brief compliments – “Best Mexican food ever!” “My kinda place!” etc. – nearly one-third of the US states were represented and severalIMG_0172 European nations, and even some Ugandans. So, strange as it sounds, Mexican food has hit Jinja and become a hot spot for passing musungu’s and even many locals.

Aside from Alfred’s nearly fall-on-the-floor gasping-for- breath reaction to a tiny bit of hot spice in the nachos (I was there, folks – the food wasn’t spicy), both he and David seemed to enjoy the generous tacos, the taquitos, and the enchilada. Ugandans don’t use many spices in their food, so I wasn’t sure how they would take to this kind of food, especially after Alfred’s initial foray into the center of the nacho plate. But, the authentic tasting guacamole disappeared pretty quickly, though I may have helped that along, and the chips were very, very good as well. All in all, a smashing cultural success!

Both David and Alfred thanked me profusely for “taking them to Mexico…” A typical day in Jinja, Uganda, East Africa…not.