Uganda: From Heathrow to New Homes (Days 1 – 10)

Thursday 7th & Friday 8th January

Passing through security at Heathrow was a sad moment to say the least, but we soon got over it and began hunting down our final meals.

I had chicken smothered in cheese, bacon and BBq sauce with chips whilst Boz was happy with fish and chips and Ben with a chicken & beef burger.

By the time we left Heathrow we were running 2 hours late, and were ever so slightly worried as the time between our connection was 1hr 45mins.

Although the plane had the most amazing entertainment system, I decided I’d be better off to sleep and proceded to do so.

As expected we arrived at Dubai just as our next flight took off, so we waited anxiously in line, thinking we might have 24hrs in Dubai.

Un/fortuantely they could redirect us via nairobi, kenya, then onto Entebbe, Uganda.

As we got to the gate to board, we were told the flight was over booked and that….. We’d have to be upgraded to Business Class.

Heaven knows what the other passages must have been thinking seeing us board the plane first and drin king our champagne.

Needless to say it was everything one imagines, with reclining chairs, noise cancelling headphones and beef dinners served on china plates (in fact Igot a first class meal as they ran out!)

Nairobi was very bbasic and very warm, but we chilled out drinking iced coffee and playing scrabble 9now fast becoming a staple in out days).

We arrived at Entebbe about 7.00pm as the sun was setting, paid $50 for a 3 month visa and passed through to baggage reclaim.

After 40 minutes Ben’s bags had not appeared, and we realised they were lost. After filling in the form we passed out the airport to find our Country Reps weren’t there yet!

Eventually we met them and travelled back to their house. Unfortunately by now we were 5 hours late, and the other vols who had come to meet us had been sent back to their hotels for the night.

Thats first night was incredibly sweaty!

Saturday 9th January

Next morning the vols began arriving shortly after 9am. They’re all quite nice.

About 1pm our host, Joseph appeared and we travelled off in search of mozzy nets and towels etc, leaving behind the most luxurious accommodation yet.

A few hours later we arrived in Kitega, a suburb village about a 1km from Lugazi, comprising off brick houses forming rectangular court yards.

It was then announced to us that we would be staying in a hotel the next few days whilst our room was being prepared.

To get to the hotel was scary, as we took Boda Bodas there. for the uninitiated Bodas are little motorbikes that carry passengers on the back. It was not much fun carrying my 20kg bag on my back on rough dirt roads.

But we all bonded very quickly from the event, as we spent the niight with 3 of us in the one double bed, head to toe in order to get under the mozzy net.

Sunday 10th January

Expecting to be picked up by 3 bodas at 6.30am, they never appeared. Instead the 3 of us hoped onto one boda and travelled down to jospeh house, hoping he’d take us to church.

We arrived late and had to be taken by his son Issac.

On the way back we walked thrugh the village and got a first taste of Jack fruit. Very nice and we hope for some more soon when the fruits ripen in out garden.

Around 11am we walked down to the pentcoastal church, and eneded up staying there for 2 hours. Whilst the dancing part of the service was fun, the fact they told the congregation not to employ muslims and that Obama should pass a law against homosexuality were slight downers.

The second night in the room we managed to get an extra mattress.

As we returned to the hotel the heavens opened. Paul assured us the water was clean, and so we began collecting it in our empty bottles. (A few days later we saw the water wasn’t so clean….)

Monday 11th January

Ben left at 4.30am in order to collect his bags in Kampala.

Rory and I walked down to Jospeh’s as we were heading to the school tht day.

As soon he walked in, Rory managed to knock a boiling kettle on the floor, scalding is foot at the same time.

Needless to say, most of that day was spent sitting around at Joseph’s.

About 6pm we were shown around our new accommodation, which seemed such luxuray compared to the hotel we asked to mopve in right away.

BIG MISTAKE as it meant brinign all our gear from the hotel to the house on the back of a boda at night.

By the time we were in the house, it was 10pm and we were deparate to sleep, but the landlady “Aunty” had cooked up supper and was insistant we ate it. Her insisted made us fearful of the next 8 months.

Tuesday 12th January

This was the day of our first visit to the school. Shabby looking buildings with about 7 tiny classrooms. We’ve been hearing talk of 300 hundred children being enrolled this year – we don’t see how it’s possible to fit them all!

We travelled into and out of Lugazi to get food for cooking, and whilst we were talking to some locals, none other than Shaun and Oscar appeared on the horizon (2 other vols from nearby).

We hung out with them the rest of the day – it was nice to see them so well adpated.

Wednesday 13th January

We had been told that we were going to have to pay 20 000 Ugandan Shillings each for the accommodation, and so we rang Isabel (the Representaive) to sort this out.

For lunch we learnt how to make chipattis (flour water salt and fat) whih has since become our main staple with almost every meal.

On wed I also finally got to hang up my own hole free mossy net and I had the best sleep yet!

Thursday 14th January

Thursday was filled with household tasks.

After a usual few hours writing journals at school, we headed back, made chipattis and the started on the huge mound of laundry.

This took up the next 3 hours, with the boys having to leave me to it in order to buy food for the night’s dinner.

Friday 15th Jaunary

By now the days are becoming more and more same-ish so there’s less and less to write.

It was our first day without Aunty, so we felt more independant.

I calculated we’re spending a total of 218 in Uggy.

We sat down and spoke to Joseph about the rent issue, which we don’t have to pay, but he wants us to go to Mbale every month, which is 30 000USh there and back. We get 125 000 each, so we’d have less than 10 000 to life on each day. Less than we do now!

Saturday 16th January


Thanks to everyobne for all the cards (and money Bridget!)

We went for a walk around the local villages trying to sign up more kids for the school.

After 3 hours of this Paul bought us sugar cane which we greedily munched. Its a bit like celary, really viborous but sweet and watery and I got a song from Jo.

In the evening we went into Lugazi and hung out at the Norah complex, a bar, and watched Man U vs Burnley whilst sipping cokes and pepsis, before eating chicken and chips and going home.

Oh, and the lads bought me a 1 litre glass bottle of coke – thanks!

All for now! Hopefully get on soon but money tight.

By J.Molkenthin

James Molkenthin is an enthusiastic and energetic British Designer, with a background in Graphics, Website and Product Design.