Going to the bank in Uganda is a bit of an event. I never know what might happen. I never know what personal information may become public or how my personal space will be invaded.
A few days ago I went to the bank after work to withdraw a larger sum of money because we need to sort out the last caveates of the title for the land we own. I’m there at the bank window filling out the withdrawal slip and the teller hands me two big bundles of cash. I try, as discreetly as possible, to sweep the cash into my open purse. I turn around and look for a place to sit, where I can count my cash.
I spy the last remaining seat in the small lobby. There is a two seater bench. One empty seat next to a big lady who is counting stacks and stacks of coins in a flat wooden box. I, the other big lady, go to sit next to her and begin to count my cash, while using my purse to give me some privacy. Not even 1 minute later, another small lady approaches us and before I know it her backside is in my face and she is moving as though she will be sitting on my lap–the lap that has a large purse in it. I jump to my feet in surprise. I nervously search the room for another place to count my cash.
Personal space is either collapsed here or there are banking rituals that I don’t understand yet.