Trip Start Nov 01, 2005
Trip End Apr 14, 2006

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Flag of Uganda  ,
Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Let me apologise again for not putting up photos- I was going to do some today (depsite them taking hours because i cant make small copies)but i appear to have landed myself with a pc without the connecting line thing. Plus the keyboards funny and the shift dont work that well so sorry if i miss some capitals! Should really move, but its quite busy.

Anyway- where did i get up to? Friday was meant to be a day off as it is a public holiday, but Stephen decided that the state has issued too many public holidays recently (mainly due to allowing people to vote) so since it was a privite school, he didnt have to adhere to them. We and the teacher's probably wouldnt have minded, only he didnt tell us until Thursday afternoon- until then, we'd been told we didnt have to come into school. I dont teach on Fridays anyway, so it didnt really bother me, and since we had power I spent most of the morning typing up my diary on Jackson's computer (which saves lots of money in the internet cafe!) Liz lead nursery prayers today- Noah's Ark. After which I sat outside in the shade (and kept cool by a nice breeze) reading my book (I've started Emma) and while Esther and I got a bit hassled by the kids, you cant really expect them to totally leave us alone! Rose, the girl from my class, gave me a really sweet letter too, so I've written a quick reply.

After lunch, we got Stephen to take us to Shoprite, the biggest supermarket in town. It's great! Got lots of nice stuff, spent a little more than we should've done maybe, but I got a doughnut, youghurts and a crunchie bar! So worth 60p ;D We went on the internet for quite a while afterwards too- didnt realise quite how long we left Stephen waiting, but he did insist, and didnt seem to mind too much.

We got up early on Saturday to go to the Good Hope Organisation in the slums again- Benon came to escort us, which was really kind- since he didnt have a car or anything, so had to get a taxi right across town. We got straight on a taxi to Kampala, which is quite unusual, and then got another one from Kampala out to Kyebando (not the Kyebando that is really near our house). I'm always amazed each time we drive through the slums- that this is how millions of people actually live. Yeah you see it on TV for comic relief etc etc, but when you actually think about individuals, that one person who lives their entire lives in a single room with 10 other people, who feels lucky to have a bowl of rice a day, and has no hope of ever breaking out, it makes it a lot more personal. You cant even begin to compare the world that they live in to our world its like they're on different planets. Yet they're often much happier than people in England! It's hard to know what to do about it. For the time being, I'm just grateful I've been given the opportunity to see and fully understand what -is it 2/3?- of the world is like. This is the kind of thing you think when you're driving over waterways filled with rubbish, with all these kids just standing around in their rags.

Anyway Liz and Karen had given them some money, so we were going to distribute bags of pocho, sugar, and soap to the kids. It was quite like the shoeboxes- every child's name was written down, and then they were called up one by one to receive their food and soap. I dont know how long the food would last them, but we figured it'd probably be quite a while-they dont eat as much as us. They all gathered to meet us and introduced themselves again, and then we took in turns to give out the aid. Every Saturday the children can come to the centre (well, the field behind, overlooking huge piles of rubbish and dusty roads) and get a cup of sloppy porridge. Didnt look very appetising, but as Benon said, some of the children will not eat anything for the rest of the day, so I guess it wouldn't look so bad then. I'm feeling a little better about being in the country now-not so much a tourist, but a visitor who has been accepted into the Ugandan's lives so that we can help them. It's good! As a result, I went straight up to some of the kids that were hanging around and started chasing them-its the easiest way to make a child laugh-tickle them! It breaks any language barrier in the world.

We didnt stay that long, and got another taxi back into town where we were very busy! First I picked up, not 1, not 2, but three parcels mum had sent me, and then walked up to try and change my flight home. Couldnt find the BA office anywhere, so ended up phoning them to ask for directions, and found out that they close at 12:30 on a Saturday. Easy life! It was by that time 1:30 so I got a boda-boda back to the main road (already too tired to walk the 20 mins) and went on the internet. We took Liz out for lunch to Nandos (really nice pizza) since it was her last weekend, and then headed up to the craft market where I brought lots of souveniers! Ooh yeah also got a (possible pirate) DVD- it was from the garage, and has 8 films on one DVD. It looked a little more reputable since it was in a proper shop as opposed to being sold on the streets, but I think one of the films hasnt even come out in the cinema in England yet so I dunno. Also it says on the back the running time is 104 mins in total (though we're hoping its a typo) so it may just be adverts! Only time will tell- it was only 8000 anyway. I was soo tired when I got home, I waited up for tea and then went straight to bed. zzzz

The service seemed longer than normal on Sunday, but I dont think it was. I wasnt feeling great, so trying to teach a bunch of non-English speaking children about the Lost Sheep, then running out of things to do so singing tons of songs in an overcrowded, boiling hot office room wasn't my idea of fun. After I while I left it to Emily and stood outside. I went home pretty quickly and went to bed- apparently I had a temp of 101! It was quite exciting to use my thermometer- since I havent really opened my first aid kit since I left- but as Karen said, its not exciting- its a sign of malaria! Anyway I forced myself ot get up to eat lunch and as soon as I'd eaten, I felt a lot better. I think it was becaause I had my malaria tablet on an empty stomach, which you're not meant to do. Oh I forgot! When I got home, I'd just got myself a glass of juice, and had colappsed on the sofa, when a man appeared at the door. I'd met him earlier in the week when I took round food for the kids- he runs/is part of an AIDS clinic in Nansana and want to find people in England to help him out. The government give them the drugs, but no money for food. (Have I said this before?) To cut a long story short, he invited himself round to talk to us. Anyway he held true to his promise, and turned up, at the house just 5 mins late. Typical. No-one else was home from church yet, so I had to get him some juice, give him the newspaper, try and tidy up... He didnt really have much to say, but we're going to go and visit the clinic sometime next week I think. Anyway I kind of make it obvious I want him to go- the second he finishes his drink, I stand up, and say thankyou for coming (never chucked anyone out the house quite so unsubtly before) and so finally he leaves, and I can crawl into bed! We had dinner quite late, but I was up and about most of the afternoon anyway when I felt better. We had chips- made from matooke! V.novel idea (a la Emily, of course), and they tasted quite nice, considering I dont like matooke!

Back to school on Monday. Got a bit frustrated with the P3s- they work quite slowly and I always asuume they'll understand, when often they take a lot longer to get it. I taught them a quiz again, and made sure I picked them people who dont pay attention and sit at the back- and then talked it through with them. They should really have different groups for different abilities- it'd make it a lot easier! TC always manage to cheer me up though- Esther and I went through 3 dances with them- the macarena, saturday night,tragedy and Stop (Spice Girls)- with the music this time and it was fab! They all sang along to We will Rock you too. GOT to film them next week- they're getting really good and most of them really enjoy it! I did some more marking and helped another kid write a letter to her pen pal afterwards, and had a long conversation with Welly Boot man (named so because K,C and L never knew his name and he wore welly boots the first time they saw him). He told me about how he grew up in the area, and the people who took him in now run a hospital and need money (like everyone else). Gotta give him credit though- he didnt ask me outright for money, which i really appreciated- instead he said he was just asking if on the offchance I came across a 'Good Samaritan' on my travels. We were sitting chillin in the shade (like you do in the midday heat of Africa) when Rose came to see us. Somehow we got onto the topic of her parents, and she got a bit upset. As I've said before, her parents have both died- she said it was only a few months apart when she was very young, and although I'm not sure whether she said she could or couldnt remember her dad, it obviously made her upset to think about it. It was really sad as up until now all the orphans have been OK, but I guess you never recover from losing your parents at such a young age.

When I got home after lunch, Sandra, one of the neighbours came round, asking to do something for us. Since I'd been putting it off thus far, I thrust my washing at her (as did Chris) and she grinned and said thankyou very much! She washes a lot better than we can as well so for once my clothes arent still really soapy! She'd been asking me for a school bag (although I only gave her one exercise book so I dont know what she's going to put in it) for a while now, and I wasnt going to use the one I bought in NZ again, so I gave it to her. I didnt really want to since there were other kids there watching, but I told them it was just because she did the washing for me. Not sure they understand though. Hopefully I wont get barraged with requests for bags now! She's constantly asking me to pay for her to go to a better school now as well, and although its only 10 quid a term, there's no reason why I should pay for her and not all the other kids that constantly mill around us.

While I was explaining to her for the 5th time why I cant give her the fees, I had another visitor (Chris had since gone back to school). THis time it was another man, who apparently lived really nearby us. He'd come to tell me about a drama group he runs- and surprise surprise, he needs money for food and accommodation. Dont take that the wrong way, I totally understand that theres a huge problem, and that to some extent, we have the money that can temporarily solve those problems, but WHY ME? I'm always the one at home whenever people come and ask for money, and I never know what to say- I feel so bad! And its such a huge problem, I cant even make a dent in it. I suppose its like that starfish story- chucking them back in the sea one by one even if you cant save them all. Anyway I told him we couldnt pay for the school fees of these 20 illiterate people he helps, but they can come and perform for us if they want. Doing that next week too. When Esther and Becca got back from school, we did aerobics to vent some of my frustration. Phiona was quite impressed that we were all dancing in time and together. I think we should make a 'Kampala Exercise Video', all proceeds to the people who keep asking me for money! It'd be great.

We had an electrical storm tonight too- the second one in a week. Its quite cool seeing all this lightning without rain or thunder. I like watching them! It makes me think of the U2 song too. (electrical stoooooooooorm bah dum dum dum daaaahh)

I'm teaching Top Class how to tell the time at the moment, and I think they're slowly getting it. We did _:30 today (_ o'clock yesterday). I dont think they properly teach them until about P3 but I figured- why not start early?! Practiced the dancing again too. After lunch we sat around (unable to go home because Liz had disappeared again- this time with the keys!) but I got another parcel at lunch so I was happy and had a new book, magazine and letter to read! I went home breifly, before we went down to see the hostel where the sponsored children live. Liz had brought them some Bibles, so we were going down to give them out, and the rest of us havent been there yet. We caught the others who were leaving from school with the kids up, and walked down together, into the sunset. The hostel kids dont leave school until about 5:45, and then they have a 20 minute walk nearly all the way into Nansana. I dont know what I expected when I got there, but they were all so happy that their teachers had come to see their bedrooms. Most of them were getting changed- they wash their clothes everyday after school. We went to see all their bedrooms-they have between 3 and 8 bunk beds, each with 3 beds in them in each room, which isnt that big-theres no room for anything else. i'd hate to be in the middle bunk you have about less than a foot between your face and the next bunk bed ontop. As soon as I got my camera out though, they all went mental, jumping in front of the camera, posing, taking photos of me (badly I might add) it was great! Considering that their day consists of walking to school at 7am, a long day at school, walking home and spending the next hour washing their clothes and themselves (outside-theres no running water, just a tank),spending half an hour singing and saying prayers, and then eating pocho and beans for dinner (the same as they have day in, day out for lunch), they were remarkably happy and full of energy! I was thinking its not really much of a childhood, but they see education as the main part of childhood i think. Emily also said that she had to correct herself praying that these children may become as blessed in some ways as the primary school kids in England, to praying that those in England can be even half as happy or willing to praise God and pray as the kids over here. I'm still amazed how cheerful they were-these were kids who have nowhere else to stay, mostly have no parents, and eat the same thing every day (which, to me, is the worst of all!) I suppose they feel they've been given a second chance by these kind people who are sponsoring them- and they're really grateful. We stood on the roof and watched the sunset over the mountains, and then played with the kids until the moon was high in the sky. We went into Nansana quickly for supplies, and then got a boda-boda home.
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