. We really would have slept in the garage but were extremely grateful to be able to rest in a bed. Thank you. The 2 doors were pointed out and I was told I could choose either room. I went for the door with the most pictures on and pink Princess drapes so Tom took the other room. Inside I found a flurry of toys, teddies and games. Eva explained I had chosen her room. She introduced me to some of her favorite toys which included a giant Giraffe, a dolls house and many others. Tom had by chance taken Eva’s room which included the big bed. We were left to wash, relax and gather ourselves as Andrew, Sylvia, Eva and Lauren went shopping. I positioned my cycle kit in-between the toys, took a shower and then sat on the couch in the living room. It was a large double room with a curving wall and lots of African, Columbian and other crafts collected from visits around the world. It was a very warming family home and one we felt comfortable in straight away. When everyone returned Andrew and Sylvia began cooking whilst Tom and I played hundreds of games with the girls. They appeared very happy to have some company and after a while I felt like a big brother to Eva and Lauren. We ate dinner around the dining table and got to know each other a little better. The girls wanted to know our names again which we explained ‘Tom and Pete’. From that moment my name was switched and I became Jerry, so that the girls could introduce us as Tom and Jerry. We discovered Andrew was living in Wenhaston before he moved to Columbia, and so we spoke of home with joy and intrigue as we named many of our favorite teachers at Halesworth Middle School and Bungay High School
. Mr. Bennett was top of the list but followed by many. We spoke of Adnams Ale, St Peter’s Brewery, Southwold, Halesworth, Wenhaston Football Club, Norwich Road Rangers and other local odds and ends we could relate with. Andrew and Sylvia met whilst Andrew was living in Columbia. Sylvia didn’t speak English and Andrew hardly spoke Spanish. They got married and raised Eva and Lauren first in Columbia before moving with work to Uganda. As a result Eva and Lauren now speak Spanish and English fluently whilst studying in a French School and learning Dutch on Wednesdays. Eva and Lauren are both very creative and love to draw and invent stories. The first being a pantomime version of Cinderella called ‘Shrekerella’ Tom and I were given the role of the ‘Horrible Sisters’ and had some colored rope attached to our heads and told to argue about who was the prettiest. I of course was the prettiest of all, however Tom disagreed and claimed he was the prettiest. Eva played one of the cool Mice and Lauren was Cinderella. The next day we were invited to attend a French film being shown at the cinema in town but decided to explore Lower Kololo. We were dropped at the shopping center and left to wander. Later we were invited to a gathering/party hosted by a Venezuelan couple, expected to be quite a Latin America event. We were greeted in Spanish with plenty of kisses and strong handshakes. Men smoked cigars, sipped whiskey and danced with bodies like liquid as they kept up with the rhythm whilst the Women cheered and danced alongside the men, laughing all night and applauding fancier dance moves
. The food was amazing and the atmosphere electric. Tom and I loosened up a little and attempted to blend in with the men dancing but stood out like a ‘drunken uncle at a family wedding’ with our sturdy two step, fixed arm attempt. A Cuban surgeon was my favorite dancer, as he continued all night adding props to his moves and spinning the women around with fluent ease. We also met Dave who was originally from Wales but has been living outside of Britain for many years as he works full time as an engineer with British Petroleum (BP). He invited us to his apartment the following day to enjoy some food, watch England play rugby and swim in the pool. We lasted until 1am as the girls curled up on the couch. I carried Lauren to the car and sat in the back as Eva slept beside me. The following morning we all played in the garden before going to Dave’s house. Me, Eva and Lauren read stories in the pink princess castle tent and invented stories whilst swinging on the hammock. I narrated and swung the story around as the girls played their own characters and guided the story with their imagination. Lauren played a Mermaid in one story and Eva was a big blue whale that Lauren got for her birthday. Lauren was an explorer and together they swam around the sea in search of a secret gem hidden and guarded by sharks. Another story was about being late to a birthday party but luckily they found a wishing stone and with only 1 minute to spare they wished themselves to the party and blew out the candles. Later at Dave’s we relaxed and watched England win the rugby and swam in the pool. Dave’s wife also produced an amazing meal which we enjoyed with Apple Pie for desert, a very enjoyable afternoon, Thank you. Tom and I went to a health Clinic the following day to get a health check-up due to our extended time in remote Africa. Tom came back clear of everything but I had caught Bilharzias through swimming in Lake Malawi and an Amoeba from bad food. Luckily everything else was fine and the Bilharzias and Amoeba can be easily treated
. The treatment for Bilharzias is a heavy single dose consisting of a tablet per 10kg. I took 7 that night and awoke horribly at 3am shaking and sweating. The next day my body ached all over and I was a little drowsy so luckily Andrew and Sylvia had allowed us to stay as I wouldn’t have been able to cycle. I rested whilst Tom cooked lasagna for dinner with garlic bread and salad. The following day I was 100% fine again but I would warn anybody considering swimming in the lake to check the Bilharzias warning first. I took a day off from medication before starting my Amoeba treatment which will take 6 days. The last day saw Tom and I pack our bags and collect some bottled water before cycling to Jinja. We also picked up 2 children’s books and a chocolate bar each for the girls. We then went with Andrew to collect the girls from their Dutch class and played in the garden with our bikes until it got dark. Andrew and Sylvia explained about a forest midway between Kampala and Jinja where we could stay at an eco lodge for cheap. I got a good rest that night but awoke a little sad about leaving our stand-in home from home. We gave the girls their new books and thanked Andrew and Sylvia for their amazing hospitality and making us feel so at home. I also tucked in a personal letter the girls had made for Eva and Lauren’s grandparents back in Suffolk to be delivered courtesy of the East Africa Cycle Couriers. We waved goodbye to our adopted little sisters and then cycled back out into the adventure to continue with the East Africa Cycle.
Andrew arrived in his truck about 5 minutes after Tom and I made it to Silver City. In the back were his two daughters as he had just picked them up from their French School. 'Do you want to follow me?' he asked then we found ourselves back out in the traffic, however this time we had quite a large 4WD friend to guard us. When we arrived at his apartment our bikes were unpacked and then locked away safely in his garage. Sylvia his Wife was already home and we introduced ourselves as we entered. She is Columbian and both her and Andrew have been living and working in Uganda for 6 years. Next we were introduced to Eva who is 8 years old and Lauren who is 7, both very beautiful and bursting full of energy and soon to be my personal morning alarm clock during my stay by creeping in and putting teddies on my head when it was time to play. ‘One of you will be sleeping in my big bed’ said Eva as Lauren added ‘Yeah and one of you will be in my room’ Andrew and Sylvia decided that as guests Tom and I would have our own room