Blogs from Central Region, Uganda, Africa - page 53

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Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala August 8th 2006

Friday marked the first day of my "official" research - in that I finally completed some interviews with some artisans. Anyone who's taken SESP's advanced research methods class with me can imagine my inner anxiety right before I started - the pressure of doing good research that will take me through the next year is pretty huge. However, I think that the interviews went rather well... I got a handful done, and the people I talked to were willing to talk and gave me some good information. Add that to a pretty good translator, and so far, so good. Beyond that, it's been a week of design. I never expected to become a designer on my trip here - and I have to admit that I love it. Last week, when the basket weavers brought their ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala August 8th 2006

About three weeks ago some young college students asked if I would classify Uganda as a peach or coconut. At least I think those are the two fruits used in the metaphor but regardless of whether my memory serves me you can get the general idea. The metaphor being that a country is either a peach or coconut, now I realize this is stereotyping and it’s all much more complicated than that, but nonetheless there is some truth to it. It was explained it to me like this- Japan would be a coconut, it’s hard to get into the society to break through (pun intended), but once in you are tight and the bonds are very close. Uganda is a peach, soft on the outside easy to get in superficially but then you hit the seed, ... read more
Owino Market

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala August 6th 2006

Week One: My first week in Uganda was uneventful. I basically just used it to get over my illness and catch up on my lazy time which I had missed in Arusha. First Weekend: Louisa showed up on Thursday and quickly introduced me to the foreign aid working community. Kampala, and Uganda as a whole has a huge population of foreigners living here and working for NGOs and other international organizations. Friday night, after meeting two of the volunteers that I would be working with (well just one actually, named Judith), we headed out to teh local Irish Pub to drink with the platoon of marines and 'regulars.' IT was interesting to hear these guys complain about teh various other soldiers in their unit or other units. However, because of all the soldiers' the ratio of ... read more
Ssebagala and I
The last shot...
The aftermath

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala August 6th 2006

It's 12.30 and I've finally made it out of the hotel into Masindi. It has been absolutely bucketing it down all morning and nothing happens in the rain. Gradually the other GTs are being picked up and taken back to their villages but I've got a bit more time until my boda-boda arrives. Oh what bliss to sleep in clean cotton sheets, to have hot showers, sit down toilets and even eat a bar of Dairy Milk chocolate! Having said that though, my stomach has felt less settled this weekend after being fine for the past two weeks! Everyone found the rich, processed food needed an adjustment! It has been great meeting up with everyone again and to share all their experiences. By all accounts I'm very lucky in my host family and in the food ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala August 5th 2006

Family is a really BIG part of African life and so often when I go to visit people we pend time looking through their photo album. This is usually special occasions: first communion, weddings, thanksgivings, graduation etc. I've given up trying to keep track of Atenyi's family tree as the extended family often lives within the home and a niece may then be called a daughter ( if her parents have died) etc. Death is such a common thing here and people seem keen to remarry if they are widowed so then the whole step brother/sister/son daughter complicates things further. They love looking at the few photos that I have brought out with me. The comments are usually on the lines of 'Isn't he tall?' (Dad), 'Don't you look like her?' (Mum) 'Only one?' (Damian- brother ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala August 4th 2006

Last Sunday I attended Atneyi's Catholic church in her village. It was a large, modern chuch which contrasted greatly with some of the stick structures I've seen. The previous evening I had a great time with two of the guys from the church as Atneyi had told them that I wanted to take back a Ugandan Carol with me. So we sat out on the porch at her house, singing, notating and translating carols ( one of which was 'Il est nee'). They were so impressed with my Runyoro -it's easy enough to read as it's all phonetic, that we decided the following day I would address the congregation in the local language! The service was at 8am. Everyone puts on their best clothes, Atenyi insisted that I couldn't wear a skirt that I planned to ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala August 4th 2006

Uganda wasn't in our plans, but many of the people we met, told us that the pearl of Africa (Uganda) was something that we could not miss. So, we made a little detour in our trip plans. Added this little wonder to our way. One of the highlights was the white water rafting in Jinja. This means 8 hours, 30 Km and 14 rapids starting close to the source of the Nile river with the add-on of crocodiles in the river border. Kampala, Uganda's capital city, was our exploration base. From there we went to Murchison falls. Of course we decide to not take a tour. This resulted in taking a ride in the back of the park ranger's truck in the middle of the night to go to our campsite. The ride wasn't the best ... read more
Nile river boat trip
Rafting
Boda-boda

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala August 4th 2006

Can you imagine the paperwork that would accompany these?! Children collecting the keys from a teacher's house and opening up the school themselves. Children sharpening pencils using razor blades. Children being sent to collect water from the bore hole as the tank is empty. Children cleaning the school and latrines. Children ( even P1) left for long periods without a teacher in their classroom. Children cycling to buy drinks for the staff meeting ( and returning the bottles the next day!) Children walking home alone, long after dusk. At home too, African children have a great awareness for their own safety. Joseph ( 4) was 'playing' with a blade about a foot long and hacking it into a tree! Most of the day he plays with no supervision! Victor (1) happily crawls around the kitchen area ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala August 4th 2006

I thought I'd describe this evening as it is fairly typical. We were invited up to Madam Flossie's for tea ( she also teaches at the school). She lives up on the hillside so we walked up on the dusty tracks, through the banana plantations, bean plants, avocado and mango trees, passing houses ( where everyone greets passer bys), goats, children returning from the bore hole with their jerrycans aloft, accompanied by the sound of many crickets chirping. On arrival at her house there is a routine set of greetings: weloming, thanking for coming, thank you for inviting, what news? nothing new etc. This I can more or less manage in Runyoro. I had taken a set of playing cards as a gift and later taught Flossie how to play 'sevens'. They brought furniture out from ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala August 4th 2006

As I was coming into town today, my host Atenyi, insisted that I was looking at my most presentable so as not to reflect badly on the village. Therefore I was busy scrubbing my toenails clean ( this almost seems a pointless task, as they are dirty again within minutes) when my little jigger was discovered! This was a little creature who had taken up residence under my toenail. How pleasant! Naturally this was a little perturbing however Ateyni was more concerned that they hadn't been looking after me well enough. ( Jiggers are as common as nits though and walking anywhere means you could attract a little friend). So, what to do? Atenyi asked if I had a razor blade ( you can imagine my face at that). Incidentally, the children often have old fashioned ... read more




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