Saturday, 18 August 2007

Our Project

From Friday 17th August 2007

Photo: Our Project

Char says: Arrival camp finished on Friday with a party in the field. The loud music attracted half of the village to come and join in! Unfortunately I have been suffering with a bad cold (the Ugandan’s call it the flu but really it was just a cold!) and so couldn’t fully enjoy this crazy party!

On Saturday (11th) we left for our projects. I felt a little sad to be saying goodbye to our fellow ICYE volunteers but at the same time it was exciting to think that we would finally see the project, start work and unpack! We arrived late on Saturday in Kyamukama, a village about 20km from Masaka – the fifth largest city in Uganda. We had been told in advance that we would not actually be able to live at the project straight away due to construction work but what we didn’t realize was that we would be living with Stuart’s family. Stuart is the ICYE/ Ugandan Volunteers for Peace (UVP) Country Co-ordinator and he lives and works in Kampala during the week, returning to his family in the village for the weekends. So we are currently living in one of the rooms of a building detached from the main house and living and eating with the family. We were surprised to find that we are sharing a room (a good surprise obv!) but the bathroom was less of a pleasant surprise! It consists of a hole in the ground and an over-sized washing up bowl. These are our shower and toilet – I’ll let you use your imagination…!!! But we just have to get on with using this typical African set-up. I try not to think too much about the home comforts I am quietly missing!

Photo: A typical house on the hillside of our village

Our project – Kiyumbakimu Children’s Village is set in a gorgeous location but it is remarkably less built than we had imagined. In fact, we will be the first people to live there when we finally move in. I am in two minds about this: Firstly, it gives us a lot of flexibility to run the project our own way and we will see a major change in the project over the months we are here. But on the other hand, it is not what we were expecting and as Ugandan time is considerably slower than UK time (eg. If someone says we will leave at 9am, don’t expect to go before 10:15am at the earliest!) when they say we will move in in ten days, my cynical side says we will be lucky to move in within a month.

The biggest hold-up with the project is because of money. And therefore, if anyone reading this would like to help the project to develop faster then please feel free to donate money. PLEASE!!!!

The internet is very slow so that’s all for now but we will try to keep this as up-to-date as possible xx

Arrival Camp

Photo: The other ICYE Volunteers in Uganda

From Friday 10th August 2007

Jay says: So hello from Uganda. It took us about 24 hours but we´ve finally got here! The trip was quite eventful (none more than arriving nervoulsy in Uganda, being picked up and driven to arrival camp, but being pulled over by the police within 5 mins - thankfully it was just to allow the president and his full cavulcade to pass!).

Photo: Local school children came to visit the Mzungu every day (check out the shorts and socks action!)

Upon arriving we were taken to our orientation camp - a camp based at a scouts camp around 12 miles from the capital city - Kampala. We were there with the other volunteers who have projects in Uganda - 5 Germans, 1 Swiss, 1 Icelandic, 1 Finish and 1 Canadian (all of whom are really nice and its great to have some friends in the country we will be able to meet up with throughout the year). We were learning all about Ugandan culture, history and geography - however as long as you had read the introduction to your guide book (which we all had) - you know it all already - but its was fine as it was all very laid back (Ugandan style) and huge amounts of work didnt get done - more exploring, playing football, cards and drinking cups tea than anything! We were also taught some Luganda - the local language - its bloody hard but i´m sure we´ll pick it up when we have to start using it!

Photo: Our Local BAR!

Our time so far has been amazing - whilst its definately basic (nothings wakes you up like a cold shower outside at 9am!), we expected as much. But most of all its so beautiful - our camp had amazing veiws overlooking Lake Victoria and we explored the local area, visting the local villages. The poverty is on a scale you cant really understand or be pepared for - we drove through what i thought were slums on our first day, coming through them just a couple of days later you realise that these towns actually have houses with windows and roofs, and they have shops and everything they need - in fact they are quite afluent - its amazing how your perecption changes within a couple of days! But to be honest now you no longer notice the poverty - as everyone is just so happy and content - the children in particular.

Photo: Our view over lake Victoria

Just being white makes you such a novelty everywhere - but particularly in the villages - the children look on with amazment and calls of 'hello mzunugu how are you' follow you everywhere.

Boats to send Fish to Export near our arrival camp

Stopping for a soda draws crowds of children to see the mzungu

Friday, 3 August 2007

And we're off

Jay Says:
Ok this is just a really quick one to say bye.
Today is Friday and tomorrow we fly off to Uganda.

We are both excited but to be honest i dont think what we are doing has sunk in for either of us yet. We have just been too busy - we only moved out of our flat this morning. So we are both pretty tired! And have the pleasure of at least a twenty hour journey tomorrow to look forward to! (Twenty hours because we are not going direct but going via dubai AND adis adaba!!)
We're also not really sure whats going to happen when we get there - but we should be getting picked up from the airport (we hope!) and somethng should be sorted for us - but this is Uganda - things are a lot more laid back than us organised Brits!

Anyhow we know we're going to have an amazing time. Thanks to everyone for all the good luck messages etc - we'll try and keep in touch as much as possible but i'm not sure how we'll do.

But yes so its six months at the Orphanage and then a couple of months making our way around eastern Africa and then back in time for the wedding (6th September 2008 for those that dont know)!

See you in 9 months! Take care,