Well hello friends and family,
We have been in Uganda since Tuesday July 5th and are really enjoying it here! First impressions numero uno – blink, and you’ll miss the airport! I did. We landed and I saw something out of the corner of my eye that appeared to the naked eye to be a shed where they might repair a helicopter. Instead – much to my surprise, said shed was Kampala International Airport – no bigger than the size of an average high school gym! Our luggage arrived perfectly safe and sound after a 24 hour flight with 3 stopovers, which is always a relief for a fashionista like myself and we were warmly greeted by Sandra from Watoto. Our 90minute journey towards our new home – Suubi Village, was a bumpy one (the roads are either sandy or pothole (ish) and I was FASCINATED to see Africa up close and personal.
Uganda is beautiful and green and the dirt is red and stains/dyes your feet and legs. I kinda like it as I look browner than ever and it’s a super cheap way to fake tan. The poverty is imminent from the moment you step out of the airport, but I was not intimidated by this nor did I feel uncomfortable. For the most part it appears that people are happy going about their business, they look well fed and clothed and although to a Western standard things are under par – here everything just seems to have its place. I felt instantly safe, comfortable and happy to be here. I feel so warm and loving towards these people. Perhaps it’s because they are that way towards me.
Our house is amazing, much better than the mud hut with the drop hole I was half expecting. It has four walls and is white and has a concrete red floor. We have a bathroom and a kitchen (not like home) but they are here nonetheless. Our 2bedroom apartment even has a microwave – would you believe we have not had one in 3 years of marriage, and now we do, of all places here! We also have a fridge which makes me very happy. Oh – and I found Pringles at the supermarket. Kitkats however, are nowhere to be found – believe me, I’ve done a thorough check. Coke is plentiful though – good, good. We are eating fairly plain and basic meals. Breakfast I just have cereal and milk which is pretty standard and then for Lunch we usually are fed by the cooks who serve up rice, potatoes, beans, meat and pineapple or watermelon. Its all rather healthy and filling – just not particularly flavourful, but that’s ok! Dinner has been a challenge, Pringles is a popular choice for me hahahah. But Tim usually cooks mince and rice with a few veggies – just have to be careful to find good looking veges – they can look, shall we say, hot and bothered.
These last few days we have been mainly hanging out at the Babies Home – my all time favourite place. Come on – 30+ black babies is heaven on earth to a girl like me, so its no wonder I will make the 20minute straight uphill journey twice if not thrice to see their angelic faces. I just usually help the ‘Mum’s’ of the kids feed, play and change their nappies. We also take them for walks, play with water and sing to them. Its so amazing to see first hand how accepting and loving all the kids are. Whenever you go there, even though they barely know you, its like your their long lost pal. You are smothered with hugs and kisses and it would be rare not to have two or three children climbing on me at any one stage.
I have found myself particularly drawn to a few babies and toddlers and so today Tim and I took one little girl called Hope to church. It was so fun to have her all to myself and just to love her, and only her, for three hours. She fell asleep on my lap in the middle of church and I could have sat there all day just holding her she was so sweet.
I am awestruck by how well behaved and appreciative and grateful the children are. They are honestly some of the best kids I have ever met in my life. It is making both Tim and I reconsider how we feel about raising our own kids. It takes a village to raise a child in Africa and I quite like the motto. Things like spinach and pumpkin are gulped down and the ability for these children to be warm and friendly to anyone is something to be encouraged and treasured.
Yesterday we took a trip into town to do some grocery shopping. We found a mall – yes, thats right a mall. Albeit – not ‘my kind of mall’, it was still a place to shop – and for that I was grateful. No clothing stores though, just knickity knacks and a supermarket. Ps: There is no McDonalds in Uganda – I was genuinely surprised by this. I really did not expect that.
Our way into town involved a 15min walk to the road, a one hour ride in a van packed with 21people – no exaggeration, a 10min motorcycle ride and the same on the way back. It is a mission. We saw goats and cows (on the road) on the way. Everyone finds us white people hilarious, they say ‘Mzoungu’ which means white person as you drive or walk by, and they say it with Gusto!
Im in love with Uganda already.
Am impressed by Watoto – Gary and Marilyn, you guys are true trailblazers.
Start my job on Tuesday in the Publicity and Public Relations Department – cant wait.
Photos are on Facebook!