Tuesday, 29 April 2014

April Update

April update.

Hello, sorry it's been a while since I posted a blog. 

I'll start with the bad news! Project Trust have decided to stop sending volunteers into Uganda meaning that we are the last volunteers here. This makes me very sad as I feel that we are really needed and appreciated out here. It's odd to think that no one will be living in our house after we leave, carry on our work of teaching and no one to play and entertain the children at Home Again orphanage. 
The Uganda projects are being cancelled due to repeated problems confirming our 12 month working visas and this has been a problem for many previous years in Uganda. So I imagine our year was the last trial for it. So no more Uganda...

In other news...

For my Secondary Project I started working at the craft workshop, however when I started sewing and cutting fabric I then remembered why I stopped textiles after GCSE. I really dislike sewing!!
During this time I had also set up an art club at Home Again and after trying the workshop I decided to focus more on this and making it into my Secondary Project. I do art club every Wednesday and so far I have just given them the freedom of pencils and paper and showing them things to draw one to one, but this can get pretty hectic..! Therefore I spent many afternoons after teaching making "How to draw..." sheets from a book I used when I was younger whilst adding my own ideas. They are step by step guides of words and pictures. I imagined how these art sheets would be received by the children and pictured the end of art club having the floor covered with the sheets ripped and bent from the children all fighting over them = a waste of my hours! So in Fort Portal I found a tiny shop that offers laminating so yesterday I laminated them all (so they are now child proof!) and shall take them to art club tomorrow. I will take some photos and try to upload a few onto this blog.

I'm hoping that by the time I leave (little over 100 days) I will have made even more art sheets and I'm also in the process of making snakes and ladders boards! I want to make other games too. My idea is to get a cupboard made for the children's house at Home Again and to fill it with art sheets, games and pencils so that they have things to do in their free time when we are not there to be with them. Hopefully I can think of more ideas for the cupboard in the next few months. This is my main focus for the remainder of my time in Kaihura.

What else?

About a month ago a puppy was shoved through the bars of our window... What could we do? It was so tiny we had no option but to keep him. None of us are particularly fond of him. We named him Gimli (apparently someone from Lord of the Rings?). At least Frodo (the other dog) has another dog to play with. Frodo has turned into quite a nice dog but he is a complete wimp!

At the beginning of April my family came to visit me! So on the 6th April I left Kaihura and had the long, very hot, tedious journey to Entebbe. Entebbe Airport has very high security so unless you pay for a private hire (I wish!) you have to walk in - it's not a short walk! Because I knew I would have to walk the distance I arrived at the airport around 6:30pm as I didn't want to walk in the dark. My family's flight was due to arrive at 10:50pm. You can probably imagine how slow time goes when you haven't seen your family for over 7 months! Although luckily it was at that time the Bahrain Grand Prix live so I could read the trusty BBC Live Texts on my phone! After that I killed time by eating many beef samosas (soooo good!), people watching, reading an F1 book on my kindle and half watching a football match on the cafe TV that wasn't really that interesting... EVENTUALLY it was an hour until their flight landed so I went downstairs to Arrivals but again, due to high security no one is allowed to wait inside so I waited outside with about 100 Ugandans. The screen showed that their flight had landed then everything just became very stressful because you could see people in the distance through the glass windows collecting bags and in my excited state I kept making people who look nothing like my family look like them so basically for about an hour I would get very excited everytime a tall white person walked out of the doors, only to see that person didn't actually look anything like my family. So when my brother was walking towards the doors I didn't quite trust my eyes. Turns out it was him and the rest followed! It was fantastic to see them. Even more so when I was given a Crunchie and an F1 magazine! The Crunchie was a struggle to finish, it was just so rich and sickly - chocolate is somewhat of a novelty to me out here. The next hour consisted of a lot of questions and me trying to eat all of their chicken sandwiches from the plane. (I probably haven't mentioned in previous blog posts how much all of us (the volunteers) talk and dream of food. Food here is so so limited and something like a chicken sandwich would be a crime to waste!)

The next day we went to a real supermarket like the ones in UK (the supermarket in Kaihura is a room of basic stuff like rice, flour, oil etc) and my family bought me some hot chocolate and Nutella!! Then we left fancy Entebbe and spent all day travelling on public transport. My brother struggled with the lack of leg room even more than me!
The funniest part of the journey was when the bus stopped and "chicken on a stick" was shoved through the window nearly poking my sisters eye out! I forgot to warn them about the food stops...

We arrived at Jinja which is my favourite place in Uganda. It's just so chilled out and less hectic than other places. 

So in short we went white-water rafting on the grade 5 rapids which I would describe as TERRIFYING! But awesome all the same. We flipped the boat so badly and ended up half flying/half drowning in the Nile! 
We then visited my friends Abi and Jess' project in Myanze, then later arriving at my project in Kaihura. It was really great for my family to see and experience what my life is like out here, also seeing my school and meeting all the children in the orphanage and just for them to meet my friends out here.

After Kaihura we spent two days in Fort Portal and Fort Portal also marked the end of our use of public transport! From then onwards we were with a safari company so we had a nice spacious taxi! 

We went chimp trekking which I loved as it's always been a dream to trek through a rainforest. We stayed at a really nice lodge with great food and the biggest bed I've ever seen plus the added bonus of HOT water! 

After trekking we travelled down to Queen Elizabeth National Park which is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I can't believe I live only 4 hours from it! 
This lodge we stayed at had a BATH!!! But no hot water, even so, I wanted to sit in a bath so I had a cold bath...

We did a game drive which was awesome and a boat ride where we saw so many hippos, crocodiles, birds, elephants etc etc. Seriously cool! On our drive back the road was blocked by a herd of elephants so we stayed to watch them. In total at Queen Elizabeth we saw 35 elephants up-close!

Finally we ended up in Biwindi which is very south and compared to where I live, Very Cold! (This lodge had a bath with HOT water!!) We were there to go Gorilla Trekking. For people who know me well "Bella" and the word "Trekking" are not well suited. However I did just about make it up the mountain and we ended up standing in plants taller than us but standing about 2 meters away from a huge male Silverback Gorilla just going about his business (eating) and not paying us much attention. Then he got bored of us and just walked straight towards us fully expecting us to clear the way for him. Obviously we did not get in his way. We found all his family. It was an amazing experience.

Then it was time to head back to Entebbe and time to say goodbye! And for me - back to public transport with screaming babies, no leg room, windows that do not open and meat on a stick being shoved in my face everytime the taxi stopped. It was also the end of a solid 10 days where meat was always on my plate! Back to tomatoes and onions and if we are lucky a cabbage! But still, it's my life and I like it!

Steph, who is one of my housemates has her mum and auntie visiting and they brought out soooooooo many Mini Eggs. For Easter we made egg tokens in team colours, then were given teams to find them then at the end we all got a few eggs as a prize. The Home Again children (even the older boys and girls) faces were priceless as they were running around looking for egg clues. It was so lovely! My team finished 3rd fastest.

So that's April...

Also I just would like to thank you if you have sent me an email in the last month. I have not been able to reply as Microsoft is obviously confused that I am in Uganda and has blocked my emails. So I have been able to read them but I cannot reply so I'm really sorry about that.

My plans for May? Well we are on school holidays now and on Friday a load of us are travelling to Jinja for a few days of relaxing. I was only there about three weeks ago but I honestly love it there so I'm not complaining at all! 
Then the rest of the holiday time I shall be at Home Again and hopefully I will get round to doing some art. Then of course back to school for my last term of being a teacher!

I hope you all had a nice Easter!

Bella xxx

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