Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Less than two weeks before I fly...

I haven't blogged for a bit because I've been pretty busy zooming to Exeter, Bristol, Scotland and on my last days in London! Moving out of my flat and into my brother's damp shed (that's my things, not me...) on Saturday. Farewell London after 7 years.

Thanks to those London-ites, mostly the Bethnal Green Maths-sive (inc. those who've flown that nest), who came to my Farewell Tea Party last Sunday. We raised £127.40 in the end from a raffle and cake sales. Thanks to all who helped. That money is now in the Chilli Trust bank account and will be sent off in March to cover expenditure May to July. Watch this space! (Sorry if you weren't invited - it means I've lost your email address so please be in touch!)

I'm all set to fly off on 7th Feb. I'm being 'picked' (as they say in Uganda) from the airport by my friend Gloria who lives in Kampala. Gloria is one of the first people who was helped by the 'Bisley & West End World Affairs Group' when it was started by my parents and their friends 20 years ago. Her school fees were sponsored (there wasn't a state school system in the 80s/early 90s) through this group by a Scot and she went on to become a doctor. While she was in the UK doing her medical degree she spent a Christmas and an Easter with our family and we became firm friends.

I'm so looking forward to seeing her and my other friends in Uganda again! But it's been VERY hard to say goodbye to my UK friends. Tears before bedtime, there've been a few.

The solution, therefore, is for you UK guys to come out and visit me in Uganda! There you go! Two at least are definites and others have given good intentions. So I'll be considering a 'visitors blog' to put all the info you need on there. If you're even mildly considering tropical travel, start your jabs now! (The first time I went in '97, it was a last minute decision and had 10+ needles in 2 weeks)... oh dear, jabs and pain association too soon, I've never been good at selling.

Something more exciting - lions and tigers and bears, oh my! (well 1 out of 3...)

Suggested itinery for a 12 day visit:
Day 1: Arrive Entebbe airport and get taxi to Kampala (30mins - soak up the woodsmoke smell on this drive - it's magic! you've arrived! welcome to Africa!)
Day 2: Acclimatise in Kampala - with a friend of mine or a recommended hotel - and get currency, books, swim in a pool and check emails (?) (recommend Blue Mango)
Day 3: Travel to Rukungiri (we'll figure this one out - hopefully I or a friend can come and pick you otherwise you can get the Post Bus - safest but slowest - from outside Kampala Post Office)
Days 4-7: Visiting the Children's Project in action around Rukungiri with food at my place and a we'll find you a good bed.
Days 8-10: Safari up at Queen Elizabeth National park (lions, elephants, hippos, baboons, etc.)
Day 11: Travel back to Kampala, swim in the pool and visit theatre/craft market or rest
Day 12: Fly back to Blighty

I recommend getting the Brandt travel guide - most comprehensive.
If you can stay longer then there is MUCH more we can do and more you can help with, on a level and subject that suits you.

If you visit, the main help you can give is bringing things over that we can't get in Uganda. For example, I think one of the old laptops is dying that has ALL the accounts and stats on it. If anyone can source us a secondhand laptop then we would be very grateful! You'll be glad to know that you can get a good cup of tea in Uganda, unlike some other destinations, how would I be even attempting a 5 month stay without my daily cuppas?

Ok, I must finish reports, letters and start packing!