Uganda: Hunter-Gatherers (Days 74 – 80)

Monday 22nd March – Day 74

The Earliest Bedtime Ever!

I got woken up by a dog sniffing my face.

Then we had to try and sneak out of Jon’s as other guests weren’t suppose to be staying over – it failed miserably because there were gardeners everywhere!

Unfortunately I had left some items in the house and washing machine, such as my towels and tee shirt.

From Jon’s we traveled down to Garden City, where I finally managed to pop online after working all weekend, and had a CafeJava breakfast of waffles and ice cream, with a shared fruit smoothie with Ben.

We managed to get a taxi back to Lugazi for 2000/- – a first for me, saving 500/- on out normal price (15p).

For dinner we had the staple of friend eggs and salt bread and went to bed at 7.30pm…

Tuesday 23rd March – Day 75

Finally! Got me some storage*

*Storage: Ugandan slang for a lady’s region

Even after 11 hours sleep, I was still tired!

The school had a new timetable when I arrived. I say new, it was the same subject wise, only rewritten on new paper with a P6 row included. Plus it was wonky – all rather comical really.

On this day our porridge drought commenced, and as of the 31st March we have not had porridge at school.

After school I was commissioned by the headmistress to draw a Science poster with the disgrams of a flower, mono and dicotyledons and a leaf – she was very impressed!

After this, Ben and I ventured into Lugazi on the hunt for storage.

We discovered what has become our regular haunt, the Outreach Café, or as it known as of 2 days ago, The 5 Angels café. It does deliciously large and thick chipats, meat samosas and chips.

Then came the real task of bartering for our 4 shelf storage units.

There are 2 craft shops next to each other. The first we asked how much, and got him down to 18 000/- each. Then we went next door to the nicer units, and told the bloke the other was offering them for 15 000/- a piece, he was having none of it, not going below 18 000/-.

I changed tact at this point, and said 2 for 30 000/-.

Five minutes later Bruno, the carpenter had settled for 2 for 32 000/- and had order us bodas to take them back.

There are no words to describe how you feel riding on the back of a boda with your storage unit sitting on your lap, riding past you land lady as your going up the hill to your house; I should imagine its much like being a hunter returning with a mammoth.

After all this success, we made the best spaghetti dish we’ve had yet!

Wednesday 24th March – Day 76

“Zey are gone!”

After the usual double Science, double Maths, I began the tricky task of making seat covers for our stools – it took all day, and they still weren’t done!

For lunch we went to 5 Angels and had a chipat and meat samosa – heavenly!

This evening we had rehearsals and so we traveled into Kampala after lunch.

We arrived a little early, and so chilled at Oasis, sharing a delicious sweet lassi.

As it approached the time for rehearsals, Ben went off to post a letter at the Post Office, whilst I bought tea in Nakumatt and then caught a boda to rehearsals.

I was there so early it was only myself and the directors daughter there, so we got chatting and I mocked her for her paperclip earings.

About 30 minutes later Ben finally turned up, and 20 after that rehearsals began!

We sat there the whole time, the only interesting bit being when the 65 year old American woman was measuring me up. I had a ball winding her up! She called me a jerk and even slapped me!

Then it came, 10 minutes before the rehearsal ended, the words I’ve been waiting, neigh wanting to hear.

“We have a line for you”

I took the news with my normal poise and dignity.

I get to say, they are gone, but with a German accent.

The whole room watched as I went up for my line, they hung on my every movement. I delivered the line, and marched of stage. I think I got the biggest applause of anyone since the auditions!

To get home Ben and I went via the Old Taxi Park, picked up chips in a little café next door, and then a taxi all the way back to Lugazi. It was the earliest we’ve got home after rehearsals, I think because Vic wasn’t there persuading us to go to Ranchers or CafeJava.

Thursday 25th March – Day 77

Outreach – Take 3

I awoke, got out the room, and my walking shoes had gone.

They’d been knicked!

Both Ben and I had forgotten about our shoes (it was dark) and they had gone in the night.

Our landlady told us, by way of her daughter translating, that the man who’d help carry our jerry can back with us was actually a known thief in the area and that he’d probably helped to find out where we lived.

Lucky dad is coming out in less than a month with a new pair!

At school, P4 impressed me with how much of the early stuff I’d taught they remembered, and Salima was suspended from my P6 maths class for not having done her lines.

I’m no longer the P5 SSt teacher, as this Thursday a new teacher arrived, who has his own P5 SSt – Fair enough I suppose.

For lunch we took Boz into Lugazi to check out Outreach/5 Angels, he agreed it was good!

Thankfully it was rolex night, so no food prep and no washing up!

Friday 26th March – Day 78

Neither coming or going.

After class I packed my dirty laundry and rushed into Kampala to get my washing done at Jon’s house.

On the way in I learned that Rosie wasn’t going to be there, and so I couldn’t get my washing done, or get my towels back.

I was meant to be collecting the paint roller from Vic and Emma, and on the way in they told me they wouldn’t be around until 4pm – it was now 11.30am!

I thought I might pass the time by going to the cinema, or Owino and was contemplating this in a African café when Sophie rang and told me her and Shaun were waiting on wages at the Surgery, so I went round there.

At 2pm we were meant to be paid, according to Stockly, then at 2pm we were told we’d have to wait for Stockly to return. At 3pm he said his staff were useless, and then once it was sorted, we had to wait until the till had cash because they’d just taken money to the bank!

We passed the afternoon chatting to the on site bookshop owner Karen, who then gave us a lift to Mkindye at 3.45pm so we could drop dirty laundry at Jon’s house as Rosie was now back.

When we got to Jon’s house I hurridly pulled out my stuff, into the washing machine, and then had to get back into kampala to the National Theatre for a 5pm free Salsa class.

When Shaun and I arrived at 5.20pm, the class hadn’t started and it turned out it wasn’t free.

So Ben, Shaun, Sophie, Caitlin and I returned to Caitlin and her mum’s, Sheila’s, room at Annex and chilled for a few hours.

For dinner Ben & I had butter chicken at GC and then headed to Backpackers for the night, and to meet Georgia’s mum and sister.

When they got to Bp it was 11pm and we sat and chatted, whilst watching Georgia open all her b’day and Xmas presents.

Around 11.45 Ben and I boda’d to Iguanas and partied the night away with Sophie, Shaun and Caitlin, crashing back at Bp around 5am.

Saturday 27th March – Day 79

“Getting more than friendly… It was just a kiss” – Go:Audio

Six forty-five the 2 men in the dorm started talking to each other across the room – I told them to be quiet.

Seven thirty I was up, walking to Sanyu Baby Home to meet with Vic and Emma before they started work there to collect the painting things.

I passed the rest of the morning in the lounge, reading a weird book about a Vicar who moved to a Native American Village.

Nine thirty arrived, as did Ben and we got Bodas to Oasis for internet.

On the way we got a call from Sophie. Her, Shaun, Caitlin and Sheila were all at the National Theatre, and there was an outside dance thing going on, with an art exhibition on the side.

We arrived and caught what we thought was one performance. It turned out the show was meant to start at 9am, and byu now it was 11.45am and those people were still just rehearsing!

We gave up and Sophie, Shaun, Ben and I chilled in an African café for lunch, before heading for some internet.

We met up with Rosie and Martha there, and got a private hire to Jon’s so that we could collect our washing.

When we got there, we had to wait outside, until they came back and said our washing wasn’t dry yet!

It was during this time that Ben got a call from his Dad, and who is now coming out for a 5 day visit.

We returned to Backpackers for the evening, where Ben and I had a D’n’M (a Deep and Meaning conversation) whilst they bought us dinner of chips and chipats.

Shaun and Ben went out to Iguana and met with Sophie and Caitlin around 11.30, but I couldn’t be bothered after my early start.

Much later that evening Georgia’s father arrived at Backpackers (around midnight). The family had had its flight mucked up due to the British Airway strikes.

He was a good giggle, but eventually I had to retire to my comfy bed, with sheets and a blnket this time, for only 2000/- more.

Sunday 28th March – Day 80

It was perhaps the best sleep I’ve had in Uganda.

I went and sat in the lounge, and continued to read the strange vicar book.

Then Sophie arrived at Backpackers, and I could tell something was up. Within 2 minutes I had worked out that her and Ben had made out!

Much of the rest of the day was spent 1)waiting for Rosie to come to Backpackers with our washing 2)playing pool with 2 brothers, 10 and 13 who were moving for Hong Kong to England, via a years road trip through Africa and 3)taunting Ben and Sohpie.

It wasn’t until 5 pm that we made our way back home in the taxi.

That night we also discovered that nowhere sells rolex on a Sunday night, so I had to settle for 2 chipats.

By J.Molkenthin

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