Uganda: Easter Time (Days 81 – 95)

Monday 29th March – Day 81
“I’m blue da-bo-di-da-bo-di…”
We prepped the room before school, kicking our stuff out and the bed to the middle of the room.
School was normal, with nearly all my P6 maths in tears at some point, I’m sure nothing to do with me or my teaching!
After school we got round to painting. It was the most bizarre emulsion ever, as you had to water it down, but it neglected to say in what proportions!
The first coat was really patchy, I guess it being fresh plaster, or more like cement work. The second coat made it better, but the selected 3rd and 4th quotes made it better (behind the bed only got one coat).
By the time we finished, it was late, and we rushed to Kitega to get 9 eggs and 9 chipats – eggs and chipats just don’t work!

Tuesday 30th March – Day 82
“To make it all yellow…”
My P4 class are loving the sticker wall chart I’ve put up, and it seems to be making them want to behave better. Maths was still painful.
After school this day we painted the living room cream, well, yellow. Only this time we used 2 tubs of paint, so the finish is far superior.
We finished the job at around 6.30pm just as Shaun arrived for dinner. We took him to 5 Angels in Lugazi and had a great time munching the delicious food, before heading back and meeting Sophie and Caitlin who were spending the night too.

Wednesday 31st March Day 83
Mukono Mayhem
I was the only one that had lessons in the morning so had to get up before everybody else.
By the time I’d finished at 10.30, all the other vols were heading off back to Shaun’s project.
Whilst the Lads had their lessons I packed my bag for the night we were spending in Mukono before heading to James & Isabel’s (JIsabel’s).

We lunched at the regular spot, and popped back for our bags before leaving for Mukono.
We arrived just before dinner, and walked up to Kisowera to enjoy a 1000/- dinner of matoke, rice, spaghetti, meat etc – not my fav. food in the world, followed bya couple of the best chipats in the world.
Heather arrived later on, and then at bed muggings here had to sleep on the floor!

Thursday 1st April – Day 84
…leave nothing but [muddy] foot prints…
My Kisowera breakfast consisted of chipats and a coke.
We all managed to hitch into Mukono on the back of a pickup truck, which was nice and breezy and then spent some time on the internet in Mukono. Shaun took me on his hunt for flip-flops.
After a couple of hours Shaun, Heather and I hitched into Kampala to go to Owino markets (for Dad’s B’day present and possible an England shirt for me, whilst Ben and Boz took bags straight to JIsabel’s.
Unfortunately it had been tipping it down, and wearing only flip flops, Owino was a horribly hazardous and muddy mess. I did manage to get Dad’s present though, as well as picking up a sexy pair of skinnies for me, though lacking a button unfortunately…
Getting to JIsael’s was a nightmare, with us being stuck stationary for 20 minutes, but somehow we got there!
Sophie had bought is Crunchies – they were so good!!!
Dinner was delicious, a ragu type saunce with wedges and guacamole! Mmm!
We passed the time after watching An Education – mostly because Martha is an extra in it, but it was thoroughly enjoyable! Love actually followed, making us all feel Christmasy, then Hot Fuzz came out, by which point I fell asleep, I was on the floor again!

Friday 2nd April – Day 85
Polo Play
Breakfast was sooo munch! Pineapple, yoghurt, milk, corn flakes, museli, banana, OMG!
We had a formal Q&A session about the middle of the day, discussing the problems at project, potential for continuation etc and I typed up our post report for the next vols – they better send vols next year after we put so much into setting up the house!
After lunch we were driven down to the nearest pool, and spent the afternoon playing water polo – I wasn’t very good, hitting Emma, the opposition goal keeper in the head a few times… But my team weren’t very good either!
Dinner was, disappointing, a fish curry thing.
The films were as follows: Nottinghill, Hurt Locker, then Elf. They were ok, intriguing and sleep-making, but at least I was on a cushion that night!

Saturday 3rd April – Day 86
London Calling
Breakfast was once again magnificent – though lacking pineapple.
We were going out to tonight so I was on the hunt for a tee and shoes for Iguanas.
Ben and I went around for what seemed like several hours, but all I bought was a London Calling tee about 15 minutes into the ordeal, and almost bought a pair of blue converse, but the man wanted 100000/- then 40 000/- they should be between 15 000 – 20 000/-
We had booked a triple room, and were planning on getting 9 of us into it, but they’ve cottoned onto us so were watching us all evening…
After a hour or 2 at the club I felt a bit ill, and so swung by Annex to pick up my stuff, and then Boda’d up to Backpackers and hopped into a dorm.

Sunday 4th April – Day 87
There was an English man, a Canadian, a Princess and a Frog
I got up a thoroughly enjoyed my shower before heading to the lounge area, where I spent most of the morning chilling out with Rob.
As we sat chatting, we got speaking to a Canadian chap who’d flown in the previous day and gave us one of the chocolate eggs he’d been given on the flight!
This hygiene micro-biologist we took down to the food court and made him eat a Uganda lunch of rice, matoke, meat etc from one of the grubby little restaurants there – he was a good sport.
Around 2pm I got a call from the Annex lot that they were seeing the Princess and the Frog at 2.30pm. I downed my cup of tea and chocolate, and boda’d it there, arriving at 2.35 and having to find the group in the dark – not easy!
The film looked really good, and it was enjoyable, but definitely a children’s film – duh!
After, we sat around discussing what to do next. Ben and Sophie headed to her project, Caitlin and Rosie to their Project and Vic, Emma, Shaun, Boz and I went back to Mukono.
The evening passed with many of those odd questions like, would you rather loose your sense of smell, or sense of taste…

Monday 5th April – Day 88
The Birth of a new Franz
Breakfast was a delightful banana and mandaz affair, we us getting free bananas and I got a bonus mandaz!
In the afternoon we got to watch DVDs in Shaun’s land lord’s house, so we all sat and watched Shutter’s Island – an amazing film, with such a surprise twist I did not see coming, ingenious!
Vic and I continued to watch some random ninja film until we couldn’t put off going to rehearsals any longer.
We arrived 45 minutes late.
No matter though, we hadn’t missed our scenes.
It was then that Mary broke the news to me.
I could play one night as Franz, possibly more, during the second week, as the actor may be unable to get to the performances on time due to some kind of exams!
After a Java dinner with the loved up Ben and Sophie I made my way back to project on my own, thankfully finding a taxi that took me straight from GC to Lugazi! I got back at 10.10pm, and Boz followed shortly, having gone down to Paul’s earlier that evening and ended up having dinner.

Tuesday 6th April – Day 89
The Return of Shadia
I admit it, I got confused what day it was and ended up missing half my lessons – nobody said anything to me though!
I got to take my P6 maths class though, and Shadia had returned. Within 10 minutes she had picked up the work better than Shafick had done in the last3 or 4 lessons!
Then the stitching began.
I transferred a button to my newly acquired skinnies and then stitched up the bottom of my sleeping liner bag.
Boz went to Lugazi and bought me lunch whilst I swept and rearranged the living room.
After lunch I went back to school and read P6 half a chapter of twilight – they didn’t understand hardly any of it unfortunately.
Dinner was made for just the 2 of us, nice and early so we went down to Paul’s; discovering a supermarket on the way!
We got tricked into taking tea and got back to the house around 9.15pm to find Ben there!
He’d bought is back skittles, so we got a plate out, divided them into colours, and then divided each colour into 3 piles! Very clever we are!

Wednesday 7th April – Day 90
Eric (Molkenthin…)
Returning from school, this teenager called Eric came with me, and sat and spoke with me for a good few hours, I just couldn’t shake him off. I spent most of it standing whilst he sat on the veranda and then he sdaid he’d just sit there if I wanted to do tasks etc.
We didn’t finally get rid of him until ben and I said we had to go to rehearsals. He asked me to set him up an email address;
ericmolkenthin@hotmail.com
Stalkerish or what?
Even though the 3 of us were headed to Lugazi (we needed lunch still!) we lost him and got to 5 Angels.
On the taxi in, I got a text from Sophie saying that my parcels had arrived! I excititedly opened one straight away, saving the other one for later on.
When we got to rehearsals, we were told we weren’t even needed, so proceeded to take the long wealk from the Sharing Youth Centre to Garden City to wait for the girls to finish.
Here I opened the second parcel.
I got 2 PT tees, dozens of Cuppa Soups, fruitella, chocolate, rice crispy squares, a wind up radio, batteries, super noodles, Oxo cubes and Haribo!
After a call from home, the girls showed up and because Ranchers was closed, we ate meat pies from Effendys – boy were they good!
Ben and I managed to get a bus/coach to Lugazi, but spent the first 30 minutes atanding on the steps with 3 other people, me facing backwards and one leg on each step, going some unknown back route! Funny but painful!

Thursday 8th April – Day 91
A New Purchase – A thermos flask
After school, we realized how much washing we had to do! It had crept up on us after the guys hadn’t been able to get clothes washed at John’s, so Justine offered to do our items at 200/-.
Once again Ben was off to kampala for rehearsals, and because I wan’t needed, I hung back at Project.
Boz and I made 3 Cuppa soups – he managed to kick one over… Followed by porridge.
For dinner we were having spaghetti so we wondered to our newly discovered supermarket, and in the process, treated ourselves to a new thermos flask!
We made friends with the DVD man next door, Joseph, before swinging by the community centre to see our Korean friends.
Later that evening they dropped by with some sodas and we chatted on the veranda – it’s a shame they were leaving on the 17th April.
After dinner music on the veranda followed before bed, with Ben waking us up 20 minutes after.

Friday 9th April – Day 92
The Sheraton -***** Luxury
As soon as I got out of school I was packing and off to Kampala to meet with Heather.
Her parents were flying in that night and had booked a night at the 5 star hotel – The Sheraton.
She was allowed to book in before them, and she was letting us vols experience the luxury!
We checked in at 3 after some seriuous internet, and enjoyed the complimentary banana, apple, passion fruit and orange.
Not long after the rest of them showed up, and we chilled in the room before heading down to the pool.
We did not fit in at all, laughing and shouting but we had great fun followed by great showers up in the room. The toiletries were all imported from London and were such beautiful colours!
Then Heather kicked us out so we went and had Ranchers, before settling up at Backpackers.
It was an expensive night for me, not having anyone to share Bodas with, as we went to Casablanca, and then up to Iguanas.
We met up with Liz, our American Peace Corps friend and partied to the wee hours.
Getting back to Backpackers, my stuff had been moved off my bed and so we had to run around in the dark looking for beds to sleep on…

Saturday 10th April – Day 93
Mary Kenny’s House – ***** Lunch
I slept awfully, if slept is even the right word.
I still enjoyed the hot shower and Vic and I chilled in the lounge area until she found she had rehearsals at 9.45, so her and Sophie had to disappear sharpish.
Ben and I passed the morning playing pool, before travelling out to Shoprite for Mary to pick us up.
He was there to rehearse his scene with Lisel and the dance that accompanied it. I was there for the lunch.
I was so glad I went.
We had real French stick, real butter, real ham, with cheese, caramelized sweet onion chuckney and Branston pickle – it was divine!
Then whilst Ben was rehearsing I got to play on the Wii with Lisel/Alice’s brother and boyfriend.
When they’d finished we got tea and everything.
We’d have stayed later if Ben hadn’t wanted to go back to Project, collect stuff and go see Sophie again…
When I got back, I packed for Mbale, then Boz and I went round to Paul’s.
Jospeh was there and broke to us the news that Mbale was postponed due to one of our host’s sister dying.
I, rather skillfully and tactfully, managed to get us the week off regardless (the kids are only doing exams) saying that we’d explore the country.
After a tea of ‘coffee’ and bread, we found out our DVD night with the Koreans was cancelled as Ah-ram was ill.
We went to bed sad.

Sunday 11th April – Day 94
A Day at Project – A Day of Washing
I was decided.
I’d be a good volunteer and do my own washing again.
I got it on soak at 8.30 and then got more water; my muscles are looking ripped (ish).
I spent the rest of the morning washing.
Then Boz came back with a discovery – Ariel washing powder!
A Lugazi lunch followed, and then we hunted down a plastic sealable container for a food, which, after a couple of hours, we found for 4000/- and on the way, found the same fabric as our living room curtains and bought to make a door curtain! Rather intelligently, we even got a local, erm, sticher, to hem and make the loop of the string.
We visited Paul again; we were meant to have pork the previous night, but hadn’t and then we were meant to have it tonight.
No pig had been slaughtered, so another dinner of coffee and bread.
See, the problem is, for some inexplicable reason, the chapatti places don’t make chipats or rolex at the weekend!
Our DVD night with the Koreans was rearranged to tonight – only their host had family round, so it was cancelled.
We went back to the house, 5 sodas in hand, and drank them to make ourselves feel better – then Ben played guitar!

Monday 12th April – Day 95
Silence is Golden
What was meant to be a decent early start turned into us not leaving the house until 11.30 and then getting stuck in Lugazi for 2 hours, waiting for samosas to be made, and then for our ‘friend’ Ivan to disappear.
We were heading to the Mabira forest, just out of Lugazi, and Ivan had offered to take us there – we didn’t fancy this.
When we arrived, we made our way to the recommended Rainforest Lodge. Boz and I walked the what turned out to be 2.5Km to the lodge.
It was beautiful though -deathly quiet, only the rustle of the leaves, and besides us, only 2 members of staff.
Somehow we managed to pass 3 hours here!
We hitched back in a truck, which was excruciatingly slow on any kind of up slope!
For dinner we finally got pork!
Admittedly, we arrived at 7pm and it wasn’t dished until 9.30pm but who’s counting/
The good bits of meat were delicious, it’s one of the best Ugandan dishes I’ve had, but the bad bits were not good at all!

To Dan and Rob’s
Was the plan for the rest of the week, and we did eventually make it, we only got back yesterday! So I’ve yet to write up our adventures I n my journal, maybe in the next few days.
It’s nearly holiday time, with just a week left to go, some maybe some more fun lessons?
And next Tuesday, Dad should be arriving, but with this Icelandic volcano, who knows?
Hopefully he will make it though!

By J.Molkenthin

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