Mall, cellphone woes similar to those in U.S.
Students rode in the Mitsubishi Rosa to tour historical sites and get their cellphones at the mall. (Madeline Dippel)

Students rode in the Mitsubishi Rosa to tour historical sites and get their cellphones at the mall. (Madeline Dippel)

So we were not technically stranded. Our group went to the Garden City Shopping Mall with a purpose to get our phone situation settled. It just did not go as planned.

This was our third day in Uganda, jam packed with plans for going across downtown Kampala from Makrere University and the Uganda Museum to the Kabaka’s Palace Mengo.

However, we needed to get our local phone situation settled for easier communication between us and for our upcoming jobs.

We drove up to the huge mall, relatively sparse with people compared to the size, and filed out of the crimson Mitsubishi Rosa bus, passing by several sculptures of dinosaurs and walking up the ramp to the first floor.

Garden City reminded me of an outlet mall. It was widely spread out horizontally. However, the building was at least four stories. The shops were also closer together than I was used to with American outlet malls.

What was supposed to be 30 minutes at Africell, the local carrier we are using, turned into two hours of us wandering around the mall. This gave all 12 of the students the opportunity to browse in the different shops while the professors got our phones and SIM cards.

Student Victor Grössling tried out a hoverboard while killing some time at the mall. (Madeline Dippel | The Media School)

Student Victor Grössling tried out a hoverboard while killing some time at the mall. (Madeline Dippel | The Media School)

I was excited to buy some of the gifts for my family and friends, but it was amazing to experience how surprisingly similar the mall is to an American one. It just had different stores.

Many of us went stopped by the new supermarket and Banana Boat, an African craft and interior design shop.

Once the hour and a half point hit, all of us congregated around the old food court to wait the unknown remainder of time. Most of us settled around the table, taking in the vividly green view, a couple of cranes hopping into view. It was a breathtaking view.

Jim finally approached the table, nearing 11 a.m., ready to leave the mall after our unexpected delay and get on with our day.

And so we did. But I’m sure that we will always remember that experience.