Friday, 27 September 2013

Hello from Uganda!!

Wow! Internet finally! After many attempts and power always down when I am in Fort Portal I have FINALLY got internet!

I feel so at home in Uganda. I have been here for nearly one month and I'm having a fantastic time. It hasn't all been easy but we have dealt with any obstacles that we have come across. Before we all travelled to our individual projects we were taken into Kampala. The traffic is out of this world. Taxis (minibuses) and Bodabodas (taxi motorbikes) all fight to fit into the smallest of spaces. I cannot begin to explain how crazy Kampala is and being called Mzungu all day! When it rains the roads turn into rivers.

Our first day in Kaihura we cleared the house as it was a bit messy. We don't start teaching until the 16th so this coming Monday. I get on really well with my 3 Project Partners.

We definitely haven't been "spoon-fed" since being here. We have been placed in a house and just left really so we have been put in the deep end and have had to use our initiative and explore ourselves.

Being here has made me realise how in the UK you can just buy anything. Here you can only buy what is in season to eat . We have eaten a lot of eggplant, tomatoes, rice, pasta, posho and beans! All the food here is very heavy!

We have spent most of our time at the Children's Home which is about a 20 minute walk. We love it at the Children's Home. The children are all orphans between babies to 18 years old. It has affected us all a bit meeting the children as they are the most positive, friendly hard working people I have ever met yet knowing that they have no parents makes us sad. However they all love it at the home and I can seem why. They are like brothers and sisters and they have a few "mothers" and one "father" who is called Justice. Justice is the most fantastic person I have met and had so much love for every single child. We see him nearly everyday and he has said that the Children's Home is our home for the year. We have spent a lot of time entertaining the younger children and a lot of time doing manual labour! Everything you grow is used and nothing is wasted at all. They do not even have bins!! This shows how resourceful they are. We have helped clear the outside of the church, cleared the overgrown pigstye for when they get new pigs and have been farming most morning from 8am planting beans and cadaver. Your mind frame is so different here as you know everything you do is going to directly benefit the people we know and are now friends with. There is no better feeling in the world than helping and assisting and getting to know the people here. Everyone is is welcoming and friendly. We always go home feeling appreciated and that we really have a purpose here although volunteering at the Children's Home was our own decision. We are not wasting a moment here.

I went to explore my school - Kaihura Pink Primary School. I eventually managed to find a teacher but I am not sure what age I am teaching all I low is that I have to turn up at 7:30am on Monday. Looking through the windows I think my classes may be larger than 40... My school is very African looking and is very very run down. The walls are peeling and it is very dark, there are windows but with no glass or shutters and the roof is tin meaning that when it rains my classroom will be very wet and very loud. So please keep your fingers crossed that my first week of teaching goes well!

We have been invited to 2 weddings, one is Justices so we are very excited to witness that. He has asked us to be the bridesmaids - I cannot believe it! The wedding is on the 19th October.

When I have a bad day all I have to do is go outside and the children will talk to me and teach me how to speak words in Rutooro. I love the children here.

So I was meant to start school on the 16th of September but my school has been on strike as the teachers here are very poorly paid which has meant I have ended up doing the office work in the orphanage so I have been keeping myself busy and useful! However yesterday I was at the orphanage and I got a phone call saying, "Your class is here, you teach now. Bye" So off I went to Kaihura Pink and got put in a class. I will be teaching P.6 which is from about 12-16 years old. As my school still isn't officially open I only had 16 children. Project Trust told me I would have 40. They were wrong. I shall be teaching 92 children..!!! 

My first lesson was - teach the children how to use a dictionary. Me- ok, do you have a dictionary? Teacher - No.

Great! So I had to teach for 3 hours without a dictionary for an example. It was bizarre. And teaching English here is not like English at home. After teaching the dictionary the next topic is Carpentry vocab then Hunting!! I have to teach hunting!! As in the language of it. It is just so so bizarre. So I start properly on Monday. Wish me luck!

Today in Fort Portal we treated ourselves to a pizza. It has chicken AND cheese on it! Wow it was so tasty. I miss english food so much!

I'm sure I have so many other things to say but it is hard to write it all down but I hope this will keep you updated for a while!

I still miss Formula 1 like crazy and get my mum to send me in a text Top 10 Qualifying and Top 10 Race Results so that keeps me happy!

I will try and put some photos up now.

Hope all is well in the UK! Missing people a lot!

Bye for now.

Love from Amoorti. (My Ugandan name meaning King and Queen.)


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Today's the Day!

I never really thought that this day would come. It's just been a date in the distance but now it is the 1st September and there is nothing I can do about it!

So today 23 of us will be flying to Entebbe, arriving early tomorrow morning, Uganda time! We will then be picked up by our overseas representative Ian and be taken to Kampala. From then on I'm not entirely sure what we will be doing. For sure we will have to go and see our doctor, sort out our visas and find a Ugandan Sim Card for our phones. Then on the 3rd we will all disperse to our separate projects with just under a week to settle in and then I believe we start teaching on the 9th.

I am very excited and still can't really believe i'm leaving today. It's been just over a year that I have been signed up with Project Trust so I must be ready now!!

I would like to thank every single person who has contributed some way to my soon to be year in Uganda:

  • Through donations for my year or for the 160 mile bicycle ride my sister and I did - which have been so generous and I wouldn't have managed to raise all the money without these donations. Really a massive thank you. 
  • I would like to thank all of the Charitable Trusts who have supported me with donations. I will be very happy to give a report to all of those who have asked for it and the Trusts which haven't asked for a report I will be making some sort of documents when I get back to send to each of you anyway.
  • To my school Wymondham College for being so generous to have awarded me with the Travel Bursary. I was and still am so happy to have been chosen for it and it is great knowing that I am going to Uganda with the support of my school behind me!
  • To all the people who have offered advice and said I can approach them with questions. Project Trust seemed to have that sorted so I haven't had any unanswered questions but all the same, thank you for the offer!
  • My friends have had to deal with me non-stop talking about Uganda since August last year and have had to deal with me being over excited then swing the other way and have a melt down... I will miss you all!
  • Then my family! Especially Georgina for doing the 160 mile bicycle ride and as you may remember me saying from previous posts, if it wasn't for her there was no way I was ever going to get on a bicycle and start training!! Charlie for being amazing at helping pack my rucksack for Uganda. Don't know how he managed to fit it all in. I say he "helped" it would be more accurate to say he just did it! I watched..! To Dad for actually letting me go on Selection as it took some persuading. Also for the various raffles he did and helping spread news of my bicycle ride. Then of course my mother! The hours she has spent helping is crazy. Right from the start she checked and double checked my letters and flyers, kept a count of the fundraising, filed EVERYTHING which I now help doing! Listening to me talk and talk about Uganda when I know sometimes she just doesn't want to hear a story I had probably already told her. Then more recently the chaos of buying clothes and little things for teaching etc etc. We have been very busy in the last month. 
So as you can see I have had a lot of help with my year and it is now time to go off to Uganda and do it by myself. (Not completely as I have my three Project Partners and Project Trust!) However it will be me in Uganda having to make every decision for myself. 

I am very keen to keep this blog updated as much as possible but I just do not know when I will be able to get internet access... However when I do find internet my priority will be to let you all know what I am doing and how I am getting on.

Again, my nearest post office is:

Bella Watson,
Villa Maria,
PO Box 214,
Fort Portal,

Only a few hours left in the UK! 

Bye for now and who knows when I will next get to write..! Thank you for all of the support.

I'm about to go and live my childhood dream of going to Africa!