Uganda: First Lodgers at the LLP (Days 37 – 51)

Saturday 13th February – Day 37

Ben & I went into Kampala to audition for ‘The Sound of Music’ at the National Theatre, along with Vic, Heather and Sophie.

I was calm and collected, until Ben and I were standing next to each other on stage and I had to start singing. I sang ‘Close Every Door to Me’ from Joseph, physically shaking by the second line.

Singing on stage was the weirdest thing, as you voice just disappeared into nothing as soon as it left your mouth!

We got through the first round and went back onto the stage. We were both auditioning for the part of Rolph, the oldest Von Trapp’s love interest.

We were told we would be emailed the results.

We sat around abit, and watched the girls auditon. They were good, but Ben & I were better!

We followed the morning’s activities with a meat lunch at Ranchers, Garden City.

That day we got back to Kitega around 6pm, and Joseph decided we should have dinner at school – it was posho and beans…

Sunday 14th February – Day 38

After a late start, laundry took us 2 hours. By this time it was afternoon, and so we went to see Joseph, who provided us with popcorn AND sodas!

We still needed bits and pieces for the house, like plates and forks, so after being let down by Paul (a no show, FAT) we headed in ourselves, trying to hitch hike, but realizing as we arrived in Lugazi it was private hire and had to pay 200/= each!

I ventured off on my own and bought a pineapple, using my basic grasp of Luganda – Hello, how are you, how much? The problem was I didn’t know any Luganda numbers.

I met back up with Boz and Ben, who had managed to by 3 stools for 5000/= – a good price!

The lads were desparate to cook. I tired to change their minds, but they had none of it. We cooked, ate and cleaned in the dark.

Monday 15th February – Day 39

I taught a 2hr P6 Maths class, where they got 12/12 on my symbols test.

Next they asked me to do a P5 SST – the text book still isn’t there, so how was I meant to do that?

I went home and did some washing up and made a cutlery holder out of a plastic bottle!

Posho and beans again…

Whilst Boz taught P6 Science, Ben and I attempted to do a map of the area for PT – the results were questionable.

Ben checked our emails in Lugazi, and we found out we had parts! Ben was Rolph, and I’m a Nazi and dinner party guest…

We still don’t have the knack of cooking dinner before dark.

Tuesday 16th February – Day 40

Another 2 hour maths class…

Then the lads and I sat around for the next few hours, creating our own new timetable, based on last years. Obviously it was never going to be implemented or used!

Then we got asked to take Baby class PE.

What a mess! We split them into 2 groups, and started with the Okekoke, It went ok, but then we ran out of ideas! We tried Duck Duck Goose, only for the kids to run in circles when Ben & I stried to demonstrate it!

Then when Boz went to the toilet, half the class followed him!

Lunch = Posho & Beans

Later that evening Ben returned with a 3 shelved storage unit for all our food stuff – it was finally becoming home, we were so excited!

Wednesday 17th February – Day 41

Another 2 hour maths class teaching sets!

The following periods I wrote a letter to LPBS about how it was going, they did help me a bit!

Posho and Beans.

After lunch, Ben and I played hangman against P6, with each letter you get giving you points. We won 80 to 71 after 26 rounds – it was close!

We made chilli con carne for dinner, minus the con carne! But it was far too beany.

Thursday 18th February – Day 42

The usual 2 hours of maths to start the day…

After porridge, Paul arrived at the school, and took us to see the carpenter about our triple bunk bed, as today was the day it should be ready.

The carpenter was in town, and so we couldn’t see the bed.

Turned out it wasn’t finshed, as of the 27th Feb, it still hasn’t made it to the house!

We bought a huge sack of charcoal, which I had to take back to the house on the back of a Boda, scary going down and up our hill!

We got back and I sat in on Ben’s P6 English class.

It got dark quickly, drizzled and then CRACK! The loudest biggest rain I’ve seen here happened. It was amazing! Little kids dove for cover as they ran back from the toilets.

When we got home we made spice holders from all our plastic bottles of Safi, whilst Boz prepped dinner.

We were on track for an early night, when Edith, the baby class teacher who lives in the house next to us asked me to escort her to Paul’s house!

It was dark, muddy and slippy and took nearly 20 minutes to get there.

The only real advantage was that Paul bought us a Chipat and we had Coco drink.

He talked about African life and how the poor are jealous of the rich and because they had so little to do, people spent all their time gossiping, but apparently the West isn’t like that! I tried not to burst his bubble too much.

We also discovered the root of African time – it’s considered rude to be stood up and eating, so you have to sit down and have a proper meal!

We returned from Paul’s at about 9.30pm and I had to faff around cleaning my muddy feet in the dark!

Friday 19th February – Day 43

P6 flopped the Maths test I gave them.

Then I set them a multiplication test, explained not to teach and caught 2 cheating.

I set them 100 lines of ‘I must not cheat at multiplication in Master Molky’s Mathematics class’

Hanningthone the boy proceeded to do the task, whereas Shadia the girl, spent most of the time huffing and crying, having written 18 lines in about 45 minutes. The Following hour or so was spent telling her how she would keep coming back and breaks and then how she would be kicked out of my maths class, but she eventually finished.

Then I took P4 Science for about the 3rd time ever. They were good and I remembered their names!

At lunch, I gave the posho and beans straight to a student. They always take it most gratefully!

For dinner we had spaghetti with a improvised sauce, helped by Ben’s mum’s suggestions – it was munch! But Boz did managed to lose half the spaghetti draining it out!

Dad rang this day, and said that he would be spending a week or so out in Uganda with me!!!

Saturday 20th February – Day 44

At 5am the rain started – it was deafening on out metal roof, you couldn’t hear yourself speak. It continued all the way to 10am, ruining our plans for washing.

Boz went to fetch the first guests of ‘ The Lugazi Lads’s Pad’ , Heather and Sophie.

On the way to the house, Sophie managed to fall on her behind, setting up a day’s worth of hilarious jokes!

We spent the day sitting around and chatting.

As we were making plans for dinner, Shaun and Oscar announced they were on their way, and so we would be having 7 for our spaghetti dinner! This was a problem as we only have 5 plates, 5 forks and 5 cups. We made do with saucepan lids and saucepans.

Eventually the boys went back to Mukono and we settled for a near sleep free night with 5 of us on 3 mattresses on the floor. It took forever to getto sleep with all the talking!.

Sunday 21st February – Day 45

Eventaully we got up (11am) and Heather made us all American style pancakes which we devoured with mixed fruit jam – Yum!

Then we took the girls to meet Joseph and Paul and we got G-nuts and tea!

Eventually they hitch hiked their way back home, leaving us to do laundry the rest of the day!

Boz went to Lugazi whilst we did this, leaving at 1.30pm and getting back at 6.30pm!

We ended up having our fried egg sandwhiches (with salt bread) in the dark! But it is soooo good!

Monday 22nd February – Day 46

The downpour lasted all morning, with the school and stuff filtering all morning and us arriving at 8.45am when we saw the classroom doors open.

Looking down the lane, we saw the mud bridge was starting to disappear as the water threatened to rise over it.

We sat and wrote journals, and at 10.30 – break time – we were told to take lessons. From then on, school was running a couple of hours late.

The next few periods I sat down and planned Dad’s itinery and wrote us a food rota, so that we can shop in advance and price up our meals 😀

Again I palmed off lunch onto a student.

We left, cooked dinner and had a fairly early night. I sat in bed reading the Kenya Lonely Planet guide Heather has leant me.

Tuesday 23rd February – Day 47

As per I taught maths for a few hours.

Then I read the Ugandaguide book – it’s not a Lonely Planet so it was rather dull.

At about 5pm the Head and Rachel started making up, quite literally the timetable.

They’ve taken out all the drama and sport to increase lessons from 40 a week to 60 for each year.

We set down our specifications that we have 8 leesons per subject we teach, and get Tuesday and Friday afternoons off.

They seemed not to pay attention, but claimed that the classes that didn’t fit with our requirements would be taught by the other teacher.

Oh yes, 2 teachers per subject, although at the moment we only have 6 teachers for 8 classes!

The made it so that our lessons clashed and only planned up to Wednesday!

I discussed Dad’s visit on the phone to him. He’d been to the travel nurse, and I talked him through our itinerary, and he’s agreed to pay for the Murchison Falls trip! 😀

Wednesday 24th February – Day 48

Double maths followed later by a P4 Science .

The Science class failed their tests so badly.

During my free time between break and lunch (all my lessons had clashed in the morning, so I had none in the afternoon) I did some outstanding laundry and read about Rwanda.

Posho and beans.

We had dinner the earlisest yet, and washed up before it got dark.

We went to Paul’s to charge phones etc, but the power was out. As we were drinking our Coco at his, the power tripped back on.

He put on UBC, and there was the most bizarre Spanish soap dubbed in American English – it was great!

We stayed a little later than hoped and where in bed by 10pm.

Thursday 25th February – Day 49

Double science, followed by double maths.

I taught about photosynthesis and set them a test, and continued with sets with P6.

The head says she will get a P5 SSt book when the school has money – the schools meant to be paying us back for our mattresses and bed, over 200 000/=! And how on earth will they be able to afford more teachers???

The period before lunch, Ben & I left so that we could go to Kampala, to be on time for a first read though of the play that evening.

We hitched in, a rather scary experience as just as we were reaching Kampala, the driver was swigging whiskey, and racing at nearly 100 Km/h down the road.

We got out at Garden City and went to CafeJava just next door. I hoped to spend less that 20 000/= that day.

For lunch I had a BBQ chicken breat burger and chips for 12 500 with a soda at 1000. Bang went the budget, but it was the most amazing thing ever.

The staff greeted you and opened the door for you, took you to your seat and gave you your menu. The décor was delicious, expertly designed with dark greys and orange designer lamp shades; it could have almost been Pizza Express.

Ben & I sat there giggling at our nearly English dining experience, taking pictures and giggling like small girls. The food was delicious too!

We met the girls (Vic, Heather & Sophie) at the post office. We caught a boda there between the two of us – the usual practice – but the police are cracking down on bodas, and they’re now all wearing helmets, providing helmets, wearing Hi-Vis vests and on the whole, refusing to take 2 passengers.

We each took a boda to the Sharing Youth Centre for the rehearsal. Heather went off somewhere, as she didn’t have a part!

We got there well early. But the rehearsal started nearly on time and we got out a little early.

James plays the Captain in the play, and took us back to his house afterwards, as we were going to collect our money!!!

There we ran into Heather, Shaun and Oscar watching Love Actually.

We stayed for abit, then wanted to get food.

By the time we got to the taxi park, it was 9.15pm. Vic gave up on her food dream and went off, as did Ben & I.

We found a taxi direct to Jinja that would stop for us, but wanted 4000/=. We argued for 5 minutes, then walked off and they gave in; we were well pleased!

The journey was pretty speeding, in part to the driver overtaking lanes of traffic by driving on the wrong side of the road, and partly travelling at great speeds (even going on the wrong side of the road even if there were no cars.

After milk and biscuits, Ben and I got to bed at 11pm, with Box joining us, having read until we got home.

Friday 26th February – Day 50

Getting up was a task, with us getting up at 7am instead of 6.50am.

The rain every day meant that the bicycle man with the water hasn’t been showing, and so we were running out of water and because of all the rain, the river water is far too dirty to be useful!

The timetable hadn’t been done, so we dosed around at home, until my Science lesson came up.

Five students were absent. We later learned that the late kids had been sent home – useful!

The rest of the day was spent at home, drawing pictures and reading Boz’s book on relativity.

Sophie and Heather made their way to our project for a second weekend – Ben went to collect them.

Vic and Emma were meant to be coming around, but Emma has been ill, so couldn’t come, and it was touch and go if Vic would come.

At 6pm she said she was coming, and so had to travel for nearly 2 hours to get here, arriving in the dark.

Because she has never been East of Kampala, she didn’t know when she got to Mukono to text us.

At 7.15 she said she was in Mukono and so I fought the mud to get down there. Over an hour later, in the drizzle, in the dark, and having spent most of that hour chatting to David, our friend and one of Paul’s students, she arrived, looking slightly scared!

I took her back, she was slipping and sliding everywhere in her crocs! We got back and munched on our dinner about 9pm.

The water situation meant we didn’t do the washing up, and sat chatting and taking photos to nearly midnight. It was a good game where the camera man would say “1,2,3… someone’s stolen your underwear and you’d have to pose.

Then we fitted 6 of us on our 3 mattress on the floor (making the triple bunk nearly a week late!)

It was alright night sleep.

Saturday 27th February – Day 51

We awoke quite early and made Sophie make rice pudding for us, using rice, milk and ‘special spice’ it was good, but the rice was under cooked!

We got dressed and made our was into Kampala, hitching in teams of 3.

I was with Heather and Vic.

It took us nearly 10 miutes, but we got a lift with 2 great guys, who spoke great English and took us all the to Garden City.

When we got in, Heather had passed a coat on the seat to Vic. She held it all the way to Kampala, and continued to carry it out of the car, evening shaking thweir jads with it in her arm. Then they drove off, leaving us with the coat. It didn’t have any money it it 😛 Vic felt well bad and we waited for the to perhaps drive pass. What makes it worse is, Vic gave them a fake number!

We went to CafeJava again and I had a double BBQ chicken burger. It was too much and too soon to the previous visit, but it was satisfying.

Later on we’re going to Bubbles, and Irish themed pub, to watch the England vs Ireland rugby match and then 6 of us crashing what is apparently the tiniest single room in the whole of Annex Hotel.

Whilst I sit here typing this (and rather excitingly, my clock has been stuck on 27mins forver!) the other 4 (excluding Boz) have gone to see Avatar, but I feel very good for updating my blog.

Whilst I remember, we have burrowed another vols postal address, so if you wish to send letters (or parcels!) please send them to-

James Molkenthin

Care of Sophie Connolly

Happy Times School

PO Box 2061

Kampala

Uganda

Thanks to everybody and lots of love! James

By J.Molkenthin

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