Uganda: New Home (Days 30 – 36)

Uploaded for James by Jo due to old word or something along those lines. But he send his love to all!

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Saturday 6th February

We went to Jinja! We were picked up from backpackers, and progressively went round posher hotels picking up guests, until we were on the open road! We even passed through Kitega and Lugazi! It was weird!

We arrived and very quickly were dressed in life jackets, helmets and paddles. Ben, Boz, Vic, Shaun, Oscar, Emma, Sophie and I went in one raft, with an American girl Sarah, and our instructor Josh.

It was to be a 6/7 hours raft journey. With lunch on lunch island half way through.

We practiced our orders, ‘forward’ ‘back’ ‘get down’ ‘back on the job’ etc, and even practiced capsizing! We Ben & I getting left behind has the boat was caught in the currents.

We took about 4 rapids before lunch, capsizing once, with the boat hitting me on the head when it was uprighted.

Lunch was amazing!!! We had bread, cheese, ham, salami, salad, potato salad, pineapple, water melon and black current juice! It was delicious! I had pineapple and cheese sandwiches!

After lunch we had 6 more rapids, dispersed between long stretches of flat water where we’d have to paddle. It was during these moments I get my serious sun burn.

The highlights of the rafting was going down a 14ft waterfall backwards (after much fussing as we got caught on rocks at the top, and so spent 10minutes trying to free the boat) and the last rapid, which was tagged on the end of a grade 6 (too dangerous for us to go down) and so we had to climb around it on land, then paddle out into the rapid from the side.

We paddled out, Shaun and Emma almost wetting themselves, as hard as we could. The order came to get down and we did. We survived the huge wave that took us from the left side. Oscar and I smiled at each other (we were at the front) as the others cheered.

The next second we rode up the giant wave, the boat almost tipping over backwards. Water came cascading over the top of the boat and I was blinded.

Next thing I know, Oscar is scrambling around reaching out for me – but we had survived!

We paddled to the end of our route, and climbed up the hill to the free sodas, water , beer and BBQ that awaited us, it was then I realized how burnt I was – spending the rest of the evening wincing in pain, un able to lift my arms above me head and having a terrible night. Though watching the video of the days events made it more bearable.

Sunday 7th February

Bungee jump day – Into the Nile!

We got up, most of the crew anxious as we munched on our beans on toast.

We got up there, and as last jumper, I took over as camera, getting to sit right near the end of the platform and enjoy the view.

After nearly everyone jumped (Emily fainted at the top) I went up for my turn. I waited for the nerves to kick in as my feet were strapped up. I hopped to the edge, wiggled to the very edge and stood there.

I waved at the people in the bar (Vic) got counted down, and dove in.

The bar turned to cliff, which turned to the river. I hit the water, going in waist deep, it was like being in another world and it turned dark, bubbly and thick.

For having the best jump, Vic got me a soda.

We spent the rest of the day hanging around the campsite, as our bus didn’t leave until 5pm.

During this time Vic decided to bungee jump and Ben and Sophie had second and third jumps.

Evening came and we headed back home, with Box and I getting out at Kitega, as the rest of the vols and Ben went to Kampala (Ben had left his cameras at backpackers!)

Monday 8th February

We arrived at the school and amazingly, the unplastered classrooms now had metal bar windows and doors!

We still sat around for 3 hours though.

Suddenly, the head made all the kids gather together, so we walked over, and were told the school was moving, because the landlord no longer wanted a school there!

So us and the kids trekked half a mile to a new school building, right on the edge of Kitega!

After a few more hours, we headed off, only to run into the head, who told us to be back for lunch at 1.30pm!

We felt very down that afternoon, with no stability in school or housing.

That evening we saw Joseph, the first time in 2 weeks, and he explained lots of things. About school, how the room we were moving into had fell through because the land lord was fussy and wanted tenants right away (or something) and that our rent money hadn’t arrived because the Western Union form was filled in wrong. The plan was to look for a new house. We also decided we didn’t care (or want) electricity.

Tuesday 9th February – Day 33

We finally had our first real lessons!

We got given text books, and were told to take classes. My first class was P6 maths (at this point the maths text book was missing, but I had already written a lesson plan on sets) which I dragged out for a couple of hours for my 4 students.

After break I took P4 science, getting the text book 5 mins before I took the class.

The first 20 pages are missing, and it jumps from 24 to 29 – leaves to pollination – and is missing lots of pages from the back! But it went well.

For lunch we had rice – my first plate of Ugandan food finished!

Boz took his first lesson this day, but it went badly. P6 Science, he walked into, wrote the title, opened the text book, and then walked out to do a lesson plan. Since then, he has taught about 3 lessons, choosing to spend his time reading and doing nothing in the staff room (we don’t have enough teachers to implement the timetable!)

In the afternoon, the head got me to draw a poster of living things – this I would end up doing as homework back at the house.

In the evening, Paul was meant to take us house hunting. Due to F.A.T (F*cking African Time) it was dark at this point and some of his students took us around. We never did go house hunting with Paul that day.

Then, just as we were going to bed, Mable brought us Beans and Sweet Potato.

Wednesday 10th February – Day 34

Again I taught 2.5hrs of maths, this day gaining one extra student.

I got the middle section off, so was able to pop into Lugazi for an hour and a bit. I popped into the post office to send Ben’s and my letters, withdraw money and get it changed up, and got on the internet update my blog and check my email.

I was running abit late by now, so filled up a Jerry can, made the water drinkable and shifted Ben’s guitar to school for music in the afternoon.

Ben and I took music, teaching P4 ‘Blackbird’, ‘Smile like you mean it’ and ‘The Soup Crimp’ from the mighty boosh.

Finally at 5pm we got off from school.

We bumped into Paul’s student from the previous night and he showed us this house. It was boiling, had no glass windows and when we mentioned that Joseph and Paul would be paying, she had a hissy fit, saying they were unreliable and she would not let them rent the rooms – that was that!

Paul said he would come round ours to see us, but FAT, he didn’t show up – TIA (this is Africa)

Thursday 11th February – Day 35

I had the best P$ Science class yet. I took them for 2.5 hours, including dissecting a flower, and going out to collect leaves and identifying if they were compound or simple leaves.

We’re learning some quite interesting and useful things – Ben especially, learning about chickens, ducks and turkeys.

I took P6 maths next session.

Lunch we had Posho and Beans – I ATE IT ALL, THE FIRST FULLY UGANDAN DISH I’VE EATEN!!!

When we got home, after teaching music to P5, we treated ourselves to Mountain Dews (a delicious soda!)

We hunted down Paul, but when we found him, he had guests. He said he’d turn up later, he never did, so we went to bed.

Friday 12th February – Day 36

We found our new home!

The day started as any other. I watched Pauls wife Rachel teach a P4 English class. The style seems to be to teach for 20 minutes, making the kids repeat everything you say, and then set them exercises for the next hour, during which time you leave the class, occasionally returning to mark some work.

During the morning session Boz and I munched on some sugar cane.

Our porridge for break turned up at 11.10, 40 minutes after break began, so we began teaching after that cooled at about 11.45 with me taking P6 maths.

At lunch time Paul was coming to help us house hunt. Eventually he turned up (FAT) and we walked across the street, to this house, where on the other side, were 2 rooms for rent.

They weren’t much to look at, covered in cob webs and filled with rubbishy things, but we quite liked it, despite its close proximity to school, no water nearby and no electricity (though that was almost a bonus!).

We checked out a house we’d seen the other day, but after the land lord said he’d have it painted, with windows by Friday, and he hadn’t, we gave up on it, and went back to the other house.

Talking with the land lady, she wanted us to move into her house, with her moving into the rooms. We were having none of it, and Paul persuaded her not to do that.

We ran back to Aunty’s and began packing. By 5.30pm, Joseph had returned from Kampala, so him, Paul and the 3 of us went into Lugazi.

We bought 2 two 3inch mattress 3 ft wide (they were then out of stock, so would hopefully get some the next day…)

We went deeper into Lugazi with ever before and we bought a saucepan, wok, rolling pin, rolling board, a spoon, soap powder, and a charcoal stove – for a lot less than we thought.

The mattress went off on one Boda, Ben on another to make sure they got to the new house and to lock them in.

Boz and I went to Aunty’s, bought is some Pepsis and waited until Ben and some helpers from the school came back to carry our stuff over. It was a difficult journey, with only torch light to guide us.

We drank our Pepsis at Aunty’s, went and bought Rolex and Fantas, and carried the last of our stuff to the new house, dumping it in one room, and chillaxing on the verrander with a rolex in one hand, a Fanta in the other, looking up at the stars in near pitch black – a truly TIA moment.

We qwuickyly laid out our mattresses, Ben and I in one, and Boz in the other.

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J.Molkenthin

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