Monday, 16 November 2009

Days 25 - 28

Day 25
I have a lazy morning chatting to Lydia, Charlie and Uboo then decide to 'move' to Jinja, as they say here. I really want to buy a mop and bucket for Lydia. I bump into Jess and Madam Joy outside the school and we walk together to the main road. They are 'moving' to Jinja to buy costumes for the kids to go with the new instruments. The taxi van is very busy this morning and it is a relief when we finally arrive in Jinja. It is obvious that not everyone brushes their teeth regularly here and I have been sat next to a man with quite offensive breath for the duration - who insisted on talking to me. With his mouth about an inch away from my nose, it was a loooong ride. In Jinja, Jess and Madam Joy walk with me to Barclays which also doubles up as a Western Union. My mom has sent me some emergency cash (to top up what I came with) so I line up and begin my long wait. I won't bore you with the details but it is a total palava getting the money and to say that customer service is lacking in Uganda is an understatement. Still, it's the same in Barbados so I just sigh and wait, and wait, and wait. It is a completely silent transaction with the woman not making eye contact with me once, and looking as though she would rather be sticking pins in her own eyes than working here today. Yup, same level of customer service I'm used to in Barbados, ha! Feel nostalgic about Bim.

Jess and Madam Joy have gone on their way so I head into the market to try and find a mop and bucket. I am offered a multitude of brooms but there seems to a shortage of mops, or even understanding about what I want. Whenever I say "No, I mean a mop that you put in water and then clean the floor with", even demonstrating through basic drama skills the tool I am talking about, they still insist that it is a broom I want. Eventually a man comes to my rescue and tells me there is a lady selling mops elsewhere in the market. I follow him and realise that I had no idea the market was quite so big. It is like a totally separate city, full of winding, tight little corridors, jam packed with stalls heaving with all varieties of merchandise. The smells are quite overpowering - rotting rubbish mixed with fish and dried (or raw) meats. We arrive at the lady's stall and she shows me a mop for 18,000. I say this is too much and we settle on 12,000. I still feel this is too much but I am not sure whether I will find a mop in another place so I snap it up. She doesn't have a bucket and suggests I go to Nile Supermarket. Before I leave, I buy a scrubbing brush from her for 2,000 so that I can clean the walls of the Owino house. They are caked in red mud and Moses is talking about re-painting. I want to prove to him that it just needs a good scrub.

In the Nile Supermarket, guess what I find? Yup, mops. And they are only 8,000. The slight irritation I feel at being 'ripped off' soon passes when I remember how little it equates to in the UK. I also find a bucket with a separate attachment for wringing the mop and, feeling proud of my achievement, I decide to tackle the issue of a swimsuit for Lydia. I head back to Main Street as I can't face the market again, nor do I think they will sell such an item really. Quite a few shops later, I am feeling hungry so I stop for lunch and people-watch. It is hard to take photos in Jinja itself as I can't ask everyone individually and don't want to offend by just snapping away. Back in Kyabirwa, I can ask and if I am told "no" I say "kalay" (okay) and then they usually change their mind when they realise I know a bit of the local language. Here in Jinja, when I have asked a few people and been told "no", I know they mean it. And I have always been told no so I have stopped asking now.

After lunch - I choose matoke and rice over a Muzungu dish, I am now quite fond of the local food - I continue with my swimsuit mission and come across a shop that has them. She only has 3 so the choice is limited but I find a pretty white one with large pink flowers. I hope Lydia will like it. With two successes under my belt, I head to the internet cafe and try to upload photos. To my amazement, the internet is quite fast today and when I upload smaller thumbnails of my pics, the result is even quicker. I am on a roll!

With the photos done (as many as I could in the time I had), I look for a boda and find one that remembers me from previously. He charges me just 3,000 with no argument and I can't believe my luck. Normally I have to try and get them down from at least 5,000, sometimes 7,000! I balance on the boda, mop in one hand, bucket in the other and we bump along home. Arriving at the compound, I hold my purchases above my head (feeling a little like Braveheart LOL!!) and Lydia comes running to meet the boda, frantically making a grab for the mop. Luckily I have bought biscuits for everyone else so I quickly share them out so no one feels that Lydia is being unfairly favoured. Lydia is busy 'miming' using her mop. Charlie tries to take it from her and Lydia yells that it is hers and she gets a black pen and writes "Lydia's mop" on it, ha! Florence and Moses are both smiling and giggling. Then Lydia finds her swimsuit in the bag and holds it against herself saying "Aayyyy Ma-ma!" and everyone joins in. She gives me a bear hug.

Once the excitement has died down, Jess and I read quietly on the porch and Moses does some paperwork. Moses gives me the best news of all time - the porridge at school has been reinstated! HOORAH!!!!! We sit chatting, reading and relaxing for a couple of hours, just enjoying the evening and the goods news. After a dinner of fish and pasta, Jess and I go to bed - at 8:45pm! LOL The days are long and hot here, and the evenings long and dark .... you get tired very easily.

Day 26
Today we are up at 6:30am. We are going to another local school to watch some of our P6 kids perform in a competition set up by - guess who? - Soft Power. To make a clear point, I pull on my Kyabirwa Primary School Project t-shirt. Moses laughs when he sees the 'statement' I am making. After breakfast, we race to the school to meet the children (along with Madam Joy and Mr Paul) and we walk to the main road. My goodness, it's HOT today. By the time we reach the main road 20 minutes later, I am dripping with sweat. Nice. We wait for the truck to come and pick us up and, when it arrives, Jess and I realise that it really is a truck. The kids - and us, along with the instruments - are squeezed into the back of the pick-up. There is standing room only so we hang onto the bars that are around us. The Muzungu driver up front seems to forget we are standing and have no real room to manoevere should we lose our balance, and he races along the road, bouncing hard over the potholes. Miraculously we arrive at the school unscathed and it becomes obvious to us early on that Soft Power are on another one of their power trips, barking orders at us as we jump from the truck. Jess and I "aren't on the list" so we are denied the coveted wristbands that would allow us access to food at lunchtime. Still, we're here for the kids so we overlook this and crack on with getting the kids psyched for their performances.

Madam Joy takes us on a quick tour of the school - she lives in the grounds as her husband is a teacher at this school; we can't believe she walks from here every day, it's miles - and we bump into the Headmaster. He launches into his well rehearsed speech about how great Soft Power are and begins thanking us for all that we have done but Jess interrupts him and explains we are not with Soft Power. I turn around to show him the back of my t-shirt and he looks confused. We explain the situation and his face changes - he looks more .... relaxed? He is impressed that we are independent volunteers and says he didn't realise Kyabirwa had their own project; he thought that Soft Power did all the work at that school. Hardly surprising.

First up in today's events is a football competition. Despite our super loud Muzungu-style cheering, Kyabirwa loses out to another local school. There is a disagreement about the 'rules' during the penalties and I overhear Mr Paul trying to argue the case. The Muzungu referree is being very rude to Mr Paul and saying "Look, you lost alright? Just get off the pitch. Go on, get!". Part of me wants to step in and ask if such rudeness is really necessary, but part of me is glad that Mr Paul (who was leading the beatings I witnessed) is getting a public dressing down. Jess agrees that we should leave him to his telling off and we head over to a man selling chapatis under a tree and grab a bite to eat instead.

Next up is the drama and singing. Jess and I sit in the main hall while our P6 kids are off practising with Mr Paul and Madam Joy. We see some really great drama - some of the kids are soooo enthusiastic. Bodondo Primary School seem to be in a league of their own and I won't be surprised if they win. Their drama sketch is particularly funny, if only because the African 'mother' has a Muzungu baby doll on her back - Jess and I are in bits, tears of laughter rolling down our cheeks. Their performance is strong, their costumes and dances well choreographed, and the kids are obviously really up for it. Bravo! Then, in total contrast, another school come on stage and sing about how 'joyful' it is to have Soft Power in their community. Quite ironically, the kids singing are probably the least joyful children you could have picked to take part and their teacher is frantically pulling faces and gesturing from the side of the stage, but to no avail. It's quite funny and the whole audience is trying to stifle their giggles.

All of the drama sketches are about what Soft Power has done for their schools or community, such as putting in water wells, introducing education about sanitation, knowledge being good, stealing people's crops being bad, and that it is a crime for teachers to date pupils. Bizarrely, one of the sketches is about polygamy being alive and well, and Jess and I are left thinking that maybe that particular school didn't quite understand the message of the day. Bless.

Madam Joy sticks her head into the main hall and beckons for us - our kids are performing in the church next door instead. We rush as they are about to start and I end up slipping down a ramp leading off from the main hall. It is bare concrete and very rough, covered with dirt. I end up scraping my thigh quite badly and the top of my calf. My DSLR camera drops from my hand and, ignoring the burning pain in my leg, I jump up and yell "My camera!". A teacher runs to me and asks if I'm okay. I say that I am but I am worried about my camera. She looks confused as I dust my camera off, all the while muttering "Please be okay, please be okay". I tell her nevermind, that I'm honestly fine, and I carry on - limping - to the church next door. I sit down, check my camera and take a 'dummy' shot to the test the lens. Phew. Nothing out of the ordinary showing up on the photo - camera seems to have survived. I turn my attention to the large curtain across the middle of the room, creating a makeshift stage. Mr Paul appears and says something to the two judges and then our children appear. They do their drama sketch first - about how large families are not good if you want to afford to send all your kids to school. They are so great, completely in time with eachother and giving it their all. Jess and I beam and clap our hands as loud as we can. There is faint applause from the rest of the audience but that was the same in the other room, so we are not fazed by their lack of reaction. Next comes the song - it is a 'thank you' song about Soft Power. Jess and I had to endure it at the previous SF function we went to but we smile regardless, through gritted teeth. The new drums make an appearance and the kids are amazing to say the least. The belt out the song and little Oliver (a girl) gives it her all on her new 'tall drum'. When it is over, the applause from Jess and I is louder than before - and to our amazement, the rest of the audience are not only clapping but also whooping and whistling. It is such a GREAT response, Jess and I get goosebumps. Definitely the best reaction we have seen in in the competition so far. It is only when our kids are finished that I let myself be reminded about the burning pain shooting up and down my left leg. I make my way to the first aid station and get cleaned up with some Savlon. Once the mud and grit has been removed, I see that I have a large graze on my thigh and some more grazing on my calf. It looks quite innocent but, blimey, it hurts and I wince like a little girl everyone time the Savlon lotion touches me. The first aid man notices that Jess and I aren't wearing wristbands and, out of pity I suppose, calls one of his colleagues over and produces some. Hoorah!

After being cleaned up, Jess and I make our way to a classroom where our kids are taking part in the final aspect of the day - a quiz. First they have to guess what colour would be made if you mix two colours of paint together. They do very well. Secondly, they have to sort books into Fiction and Non-Fiction. Although they separate the books correctly, they put them under the wrong corresponding signs. Bah - so close. Thirdly, they have to pass around a book and correctly identify both the title and author. They get this correct. Lastly, they must demonstrate how to use a mosquito net correctly, tucking it in around all sides of the bed. Again, they get this spot on. Jess and I hug each of the kids and tell them that they did amazingly. We are chuffed to bits with them. We all make our way to the lunch line and are given a mountain of rice, some lamb and some cabbage. We also get a free soda. It is a lot of food and Jess and I have to ask for half portions. The kids however gobble it up.

The afternoon is going to be a long process of prize giving and sitting around. Jess and I decide to leave the kids and teachers to it and head out onto the road to flag a boda. We walk almost back to the main road (which is quite a way!) before a car pulls over and offers us a lift. It is a Soft Power Muzungu from Holland who we learn has been living here for 6 years. He came for 6 weeks initially and just decided to never go home. He takes us to the Kyabirwa sign on the main road and we walk from there. Back at the compound, we read for a while, take showers and then head to Bujagali for the evening. Jess and I decided yesterday that we fancied a 'night off'. Without prompting, Moses had earlier refunded us the 7,000 we usually pay for dinner at the compound. He is a very fair man. The boda man who takes us agrees to pick us up again at 10:00pm so we don't have to haggle with anyone else. In Bujagali, we head straight into the campsite and order steak and chips. We spend the evening listening to Western music (an awful lot of Linkin Park, bizarrely), drinking Club beer, and chatting to Willie (barman) and Peter (trainee Manager). A few locals come and join us and we have some interesting and fun conversations over the course of the evening. Jess gets chatted up by some Muzungu lads - I leave her to it. At 10:00pm, we leave to meet our boda and it is only when we are stood up that we realise the heat from the day and the Club beers have got to us. We are a bit 'wobbly'. The boda ride home is fun, with us trying to take photos in between bumping over potholes. The boda man is laughing at us. Back at the compound, the kids are sitting in the dark on the porch but when they see us pull up, they run over. On noticing we are a bit worse for wear, they start laughing. We say "Shhh, we don't want Moses to come out" but that just makes them laugh louder and then, inevitably, Jess and I begin giggling. In the pitch black and still wobbly, the kids lead us into the house where they take great pleasure in snapping shots of Jess and I bleary eyed with my camera. Moses does eventually make an appearance and just laughs. Then he retires back to his room where we hear him giggling occassionally in response to whatever we are getting up to in the sitting room. My mom calls me and after our phone call has ended, Lydia grabs my phone and says she wants to call my mom. I let her and she is beaming from ear to ear as she asks my mom how she is etc. She hands the phone back to me and my mom tells me that Lydia sounds very sweet. She is. I then head off to bed and fall asleep listening to Bon Jovi's 'Bounce' album. Bliss.

Day 27
Wake up at 7:20am with Lydia banging on my door ordering me to get up. She is excited because today we are taking her and Winnie swimming at Nile Resort. Jess and I looked it up yesterday on the internet and we too are excited - it certainly looks very nice, and after a month of mud between my toes and rainwater showers, I am craving a day like today. I come out of my room and see Moses heading off in a private car to the airport. Jess's friend Laura is arriving today. Breakfast is quick and the girls are eager to get going so after the final sip of our coffee, we head off towards the main road. After another long and very hot walk, we wait at the roadside. And we wait and we wait. No taxi vans. Well, none that have any space anyway. Bah. A boda man drives past in the opposite direction, signalling that he will be back. He comes back five minutes later with another boda and, with Lydia and Jess on one and Winnie and I on the other, we are finally on our way. We encourage our bodas to race each other (safely) which entertains the girls and Winnie and I end up as the winners. First impression upon arriving at the Nile Resort: swanky! I can't wait to get my swimsuit on and dive into the crystal clear water. The girls are in awe and have gone very quiet. Inside the lobby, there is a fish tank embedded in the wall which has them spellbound while Jess and I pay. It is 6,000 for adults (less than 2 quid) and 3,000 for children. This allows you to use all their facilities for the day - restaurants, swimming pool, hot showers, saunas etc. Bargain!

We dump our stuff at a table under a grass roofed gazebo at the edge of the pool and go exploring. The resort is beautiful and I already know that it's going to be hard to leave. Ha! Once a princess, always a ....... you know how it goes.

The girls and Jess change into their swimsuits and I take a few photos, recording Lydia's first time in a swimming pool (Winnie has been to another pool with a previous volunteer), and then I dump the camera and join them. Lydia is nervous but she wants to learn to swim so I encourage her to lay across my arms and kick with her feet. We go back and forth the pool like this and Lydia gains confidence. She doesn't want to go it alone but she says she will another time. After an hour or so, the rain clouds arrive. Ugh! Today of all days! We leave the pool and take shelter back at our table, ordering hot chocolate for the kids to warm them up. The hot chocolate comes with free cakes which is a nice gesture. This however awakens our hunger so we order some 'fish fingers' which go down very easily. Still hungry, we decide to put our lunch order in. Lydia asks for chicken and chips in a basket, Winnie is curious as to what a burger is like (I am having one too), and Jess opts for steak and chips. After some hot showers and while we wait for our food, Lydia heads back into the shallow end of the pool with Jess. Winnie and I sit at the edge and watch - Winnie has taken control of my iPod and is bopping along to Rihanna (Lydia prefers Black Eyed Peas and Sugababes). The girls are so happy, it is infectious. I wish I could bring them here every single day.

Our lunch arrives and, after more hot showers, we tuck in. Lydia keeps looking back at the pool, desperate to return now the sun has reappeared, but we explain she must wait for her food to go down. After filling our bellies (Winnie can't finish hers, it is so big!) we go for a lie down on the loungers in the shade. Lydia asks why there are some Muzungus lying in the hot sun and we try to explain about sun tans. She tells us that they will get "sick" and shakes her head at them, ha! Unfortunately, by the time our food has gone down, the rain clouds are back and Winnie doesn't want to go back in because she remembers how cold she was when she got out last time. Lydia however is undeterred and makes a beeline for the shallow end. We watch her quite happily paddling about, splashing the water, and giggling. The rain will not spoil Lydia's first trip to a swimming pool, no sir! A young Muzungu couple follow Lydia's lead and jump into the pool with her. The three of them join hands and jump around in a circle counting to 10. Lydia's laughter fills the resort.

Lydia eventually joins us back at the table and we take a vote that we should go home and try to return next week, hopefully with the sun on our side. After another hot shower (the kids love them and I do too - the bottoms of my feet are white again!), we pack up our things. On our way out, I stop at reception and ask how much the rooms are - out of pure curiosity. The man gives me a price list and then beckons a colleague over and instructs him to show us a room. Hoorah! We follow him to one of the large bungalows that overlook the Nile and head inside. It is GORGEOUS but then at $200 per night, it would be. Oh to have money! After a minute or two, I drag myself away from the room, imagining what it would be like to shut the door to the outside world, wrap myself in a white fluffy bathrobe and crack open a bottle of wine. Then I snap back to reality and realise how materialistic and fake this all is. I thank the man on reception on our way past and, as we near the front entrance, I cast one last longing look over my shoulder, back towards the rooms and the materialistic lifestyle that - although it shouldn't be - is so inviting *sniff*

Outside, we telephone 'Boda Man Moses' and he says he will send two boda drivers for us. The roads are very muddy now and I wonder how easy this journey will be. Turns out, not very. Our bodas are taking it very slowly (thank goodness) but often their tires slip and we lurch from side to side. Winnie is with me again and she squeaks everytime the boda does this. The boda man has to put his feet on the ground more than once to steady us. When we eventually reach the turning from the main road to Kyabirwa, he stops to let us off, explaining it is too muddy to go to our house. We had already guessed that. We are in for a looooong walk. He then tries to charge me 3,000 which I argue with him about. For one thing, Boda Man Moses - and whoever he sends - always charge us 2,000 and that has been agreed. And secondly, he has only taken us as far as the sign so 3,000 is bogus. I tell him that if he wants another 1,000, he had better ask Boda Man Moses for it. He and the other boda driver laugh, knowingly, and with good humour. They've obviously heard about me and how I don't negotiate :-p Back at the compound, we eat freshly roasted maize straight off the cob (tastes like burnt popcorn, but nice!). At 6:00pm, our own Moses returns to the compound with Jess's friend Laura in tow (they've also had to walk due to the mud - poor Laura, welcome to muddy Kyabirwa!). Moses laughs at my boda story and tells me I was right not to pay the extra and that he will phone Boda Man Moses to put him straight about the types of drivers he next sends. Danny runs up to me whispering something frantically in my ear. After repeating his request a few times, I realise he is asking me if he can phone my mom. I laugh and explain that I have no battery but when I do, he can phone her. He goes away smiling, with a confident little swagger.

I leave Laura and Jess to catch up and I read quietly on my own, enjoying the peace. I am going to miss the 'stillness' when I return to the UK for sure. It is one of the most beautiful things about being here. As much as I enjoyed the resort today, there is a lot to be said for the kind of simplistic lifestyle we have at the compound. Tonight we are served two whole fish (talapia) and chips for our meal. It is a lot of food but - probably because of swimming - we are starving and grateful for it. After dinner, Moses and I retire to the porch for our 'smoking party' as he likes to call them. We are the only smokers in the compound and we often sit out here for hours, talking about anything and everything. He keeps joking that he is going to have to send my mom some goats and get me to stay here. Tonight we chat about what has been going on at the school. Suffice to say, Moses is dealing with the situation. He is a strong willed man and - if you met him you would know - very well respected in the community. I feel confident that my concerns are being taken seriously and after yet another revealing conversation in which I appreciate Moses's honesty, I take myself off to bed, knackered.

It's been a beautiful day. I just wish my own son was here to have joined us. He would have loved it! I go to sleep missing my family immensely.

Day 28
We wake up at 7:30am - on a Sunday! Definitely one of the things I won't miss about Africa; no one sleeps in here. If the cockerel or cows or pigs don't wake you up, the many children will :-p After breakfast, I decide to put my new scrubbing brush to good use and tackle the walls and doors in the porch area. They are literally caked with mud and it takes me well over an hour. I then mop the floor and dry everything thoroughly. I am very pleased and - jokingly - sit guard at the entrance to the porch instructing the kids to wash their feet if they want to pass. They take the joke as it is intended and, just to prove a point, go to the back door, walk through the house and appear behind me, giggling. Cheeky little so-and-so's :-) When Moses returns later, he is amazed and says that his neighbours will think he has re-painted after all. He thanks me, over and over, and says he can't believe he thought the only way to rescue it was by painting. Bless.

I then decide to attempt to do my laundry again, this time wearing rubber gloves that I'd forgetten I had brought. End result: cleaner clothes than last week (practice makes perfect) but still a blister. Ugh. I'm pleased with myself regardless, as is Florence.

After a lunch of chapati, egg, raw cabbage, tomato, cucumber and carrots, I shower and, with Laura in tow, Moses and I head off to a 'housewarming party' at the main road that we were invited to earlier in the week. Jess has taken some of the kids to Bujagali for soda. Moses says it will be a great experience so I'm looking forward to it.

Hmmmm, how to describe the party? Well, we arrive to find a small covered area in front of a house, with 8 rows of plastic chairs. The music is deafeningly loud but everyone is just sat on the chairs, all facing the same direction, not talking - not smiling. Odd. We are seated in the front row, in the centre. I wish we could have sat at the back really. Directly in front of us is a single row of 6 empty chairs, decorated with lace covers, facing us. We sit like this for more than half an hour, going deaf. The music is randomly interrupted from time to time by a man with a microphone who is speaking, slowly and hypnotically, in Lusoga. Moses then announced that he is going to Jinja but that we should wait here. Whaaaat?? Laura and I exchange nervous glances and I appeal to Moses to stay with us, or at least to let us go back home. He says that it would be rude for us to leave and we have to stay. Ugh! Moses strolls off and so Laura and I sit, feeling uncomfortable, and wait. The ridiculously loud music continues, and the other 'guests' still sit, not talking, in the strange seating layout. What kind of 'party' is this?? A man is dancing at the edge of the compound, on the road, blatantly drunk and with his flies open - leaving nothing to the imagination. Eventually, we see a lot of women from inside the house run to the side of the road and the music is changed, abruptly. Obviously something is about to happen. Good. The women begin to move slowly, rocking their hips with the music and smiling broadly at whatever is coming down the road. A few minutes later, two men wearing suits followed by yet more women come into our view. They form some kind of procession and - although it can't be described as dancing - they are walking in time with the music. The procession is so slow and so strange that I - along with Laura - start to video it. After what seems like an eternity of slow, rhythmic walking, the procession enters the compound where the party is and lots of 'shrilling' from the women follows. A group of men and women (all wearing the most beautiful Gomez dresses I have seen to date) sit on the chairs facing us. The music stops. No one is smiling or speaking. It is eerily silent. Then, Moses returns saying he is not going to Jinja but he does have to go somewhere and will be back "in a minute". Laura and I watch him walk over to a bicycle at the edge of the compound, partly obscured by bushes, and we joked that he was making a break for it on his 'getaway bike'. Then he glances in our direction to see if anyone is looking and speeds off! Seems we were right LOL. Laura and I settle back into our chairs, resigned to our fate of sitting this out, whatever it is. After another long gap in the 'proceedings', a man gets up and makes a long speech. During his speech, another man comes around each and every guest holding an open laptop. Every guest looks at the laptop screen, without smiling, and then he moves to the next person. When he gets to us, we realise that he is videoing the event through a built-in webcam. Why anyone would want to record a load of solemn faces staring into a camera, I'll never know.

The speeches, oh the speeches! Ugandan people love their speeches. Man after man gets up and gives a lengthy speech, all in Lusoga. Needless to say, Laura and I don't understand a word of it. It is all very .... bizarre. This is meant to be a party, isn't it?! When Moses returns, Laura tells him that she is feeling sick and needs to leave. Hoorah! Saved at last! Moses tries to convince us to stay but Laura is adament so we grab our bags, make our apologies, and leave the 'party'. On the main road, we ask Moses what kind of party that had been?? He shakes his head and apologises saying that the owner of the house had got everyone there under false pretences and the men that were giving speeches were in fact politicians, campaigning. It would only be after the hours and hours of speeches that any food or drink would be served. Yikes. Moses is a bit embarassed but we assure him that we are just happy to be out of there and tell him not to give it a second thought.

Back at the compound, Jess and the kids have returned from Bujagali. We sit around chatting to Moses about marriage and attraction. No, Ugandans do not marry for attraction - it is based on whether the women is a hard worker and comes from a good, healthy family. We had gathered as much. I ask what would happen if one of his children wanted to marry for love. He says - matter of factly - that it would not be allowed and he would "talk to them". After further thought, he then says that Lydia would in fact be allowed to marry a Muzungu for love and even move to England, but not John. It is important for men to remain in the community and remember their culture. The debate continues and, as usual, it is very enjoyable chatting to Moses about such things. He always sees both sides of every argument and can appreciate pitfalls in both, making for interesting and fair conversation.

Charlie and John set up the generator and it roars into action. Tonight we are watching music videos again. A few minutes pass and, just as I am wondering where our king of dancing, Danny, is, he comes into view out of the corner of my eye. He is running down the road as fast as he can - it is like watching a cartoon; his back is poker straight, with a determined look on his face, but his legs are going so fast, they are almost a blur. He gets closer and starts smiling and squealing. He runs straight past us and into the house where he immediately breaks into dance. It is the cutest thing. We spend the evening watching the local music videos and drink 'afternoon tea'. Jess and I had explained earlier in the week to Moses about 'afternoon tea' being cake and a cup of tea and he decided he liked that idea. To be fair, we have had it daily - a muffin and a cup of black tea - although the timings are a bit irregular. This evening for instance, we are having our 'afternoon tea' at 7:50pm LOL Very much appreciated though!

Lovely dinner tonight of pork, matoke, rice and cabbage. Filled up, fit to burst. Bed at 9:00pm.

1 comment:

  1. I swear that you and a country where you can do lots of cleaning, or help people to do lots of cleaning, is a match made in heaven. You do make me smile. Miss you lots. Love, Lu xx