Friday, 13 February 2009

Friday 5pm Garden City Mall Internet Cafe

The internet has come back up and I only have a few mins to write this so please excuse spelling mistakes!

Nearing the end of my week in Kampala and my first days in Uganda looking out across this 5 month trip. It's a busy week but near the end most jobs were done and I was able to slow down and move at Ugandan speed. But actually what is Ugandan speed? It's more Ugandan flow. One minute it's fast fast on the straight jam-free roads then slow slow in the middle of a city jam. When it comes to arranging a day, there are few fixed times but somehow everything is fitted in and goes smoothly without much stress. Like the traffic, everyone glides in and out of their schedules and makes enough room for others without slowing themselves down. Very few are really pushing solely their own agenda but all are moving forward in a good speed (most of the time). It's an amazingly self-organising co-operative yet fast mode of operation. Maybe these Game Theorists should forget some of their old Western assumptions and come model Kampala traffic.

Enough of the maths, the basics of the week have been: heat, reunions, shopping and transport.

  • Heat - 28/29 degrees Centigrade average over the last week, some rain but it's refreshing!
  • Reunions - staying with Gloria and her lovely sisters has been great including meeting Gloria's colleagues at the HIV/AIDs treatment clinic at Mulago Hospital and also last night I stayed with Patrick (Tall Controller from Newsletter 4 - see and his wife Eva. It's great to be able to say hello without having to say goodbye straightaway. There is already talks of what to do in Easter and of helping out visitors who need picking from the airport etc.
  • Shopping - all cash, no cards - I'm really having to watch what I spend. But I've managed to get some supplies like hair conditioner to give me some 'luxuries' when I get down to Rukungiri. Also, for those who took part in the 'Hunt the Colostomy Bag Game' that I was playing before i left - the good news is I found them here eventually! They were 40p each! So much for Boots of Hitchin who wanted to charge me 40quid but then wouldn't let me have anything without a prescription. There are two children under 4 who are going to be a bit more comfortable now!
  • Transport - I've been catching a ride with Gloria from Ntinda suburb into her work and then 40p boddaboddas (motorbikes with back seats but no helmets!) or 20p matatus (minibus taxis) or just plain walking. I got a map but this is very strange for the locals - they just 'know' where things are.

One of the best things that works really well and is actually cheaper than UK is mobile phones. So my Uganda number is now: 00 256 783 101 586 (this includes UK int. dialing (00) and Uganda no. 256) If you want to call then please do it would be nice to hear from you! Please remember that I'm GMT+3hrs and UK is GMT until end of March then GMT+1. International phone cards from PO are v good at approx 10p per min.

Random people I've met this week: someone who works with the Minister for Gender, a couple of US volunteers working with one of the main newspapers Daily Monitor, lovely people from Africare (another community development NGO) and whilst helping out Ellie from Community Links I've met her friends who actually used to teach with my uncle in Kettering - it's a small small world!

Words learnt: (all Lugandan this week) Kale (karley) = OK; Ggabale (jaybarlay) = Hello; and if some one is looking good then you say they are 'sharp, sharp'.

The week coming: Travel to Rukungiri tomorrow in the Project's ambulance with Warren (although he's still on his way to Kampala and fixing a tyre). It's a 7hr journey in heat but let's hope we see some zebras!

Hope you're all well - I hear the snow is still coming down! I recommend going to a sauna! Warming up is good for the soul. Or just keep each other warm!!

So in general all is well and I am just feeling like I am in the right place at the right time.


your sister-in-birth said...

Lovely to hear your news sis, I have been wondering how you are. I have tried to phone a number of times but your phone always seems to be off. I loved your blog. All power to African time and cooperative transport systems - well cooperative everything! love Catherine
(the word verification for this comment is oudles!! I send you oudles of love!)

Becky said...

thanks sis for your persistance with the phone. it was great to talk on Wednesday night. There's no answerphone so best to keep trying. But I have it with me pretty much all the time. When we're driving I don't always hear it and the roads are SO bumpy you just can't have it out resting. said...

hey hun,

good to read you. I haven't registered with skype yet but will do so next week. I'm off to Lx tomorrow, returning sunday. Hope you have a good weekend
Lots of love

katie said...

Hello lovely, I guess internet access is more sporadic than you might have thought? Is nice to come here and find you...

Will call soon! Lots of love xxx

Dave Holland said...

Thinking if you Bex in sunny Uganda, and can't wait to see your first report on the way forward for CC. Lot's of love from the