Wednesday, January 18, 2012


On Sunday, 1/15, James, the IVHQ program manager for Uganda and the program business manager, Joyce, picked up myself and Leah, another volunteer who had come in from Canada the night before, and took us to the orphanage in Waikiso province where we will be staying.  I signed up to teach, but school here does not start until the end of the month.  Also, the program materials guaranteed running water and electricity in all projects, but we have only solar power here.  There are no lights in the volunteer dorm block, and the building housing the volunteer's toilet has running water only as long as the sun shines on the solar battery that runs the pump.  There is no place to charge laptop, phone, ipod, camera, etc.  Oh well, THIS IS AFRICA, and I am glad I was cautious enough to sign up for only one month.

On the plus side, they treat us more as tourists than workers and our time is pretty much our own.  They have 200 kids here who are readily available to play, and some of the volunteers are working on painting dorms and building a new boys' dorm.

Ryan and Leah walk to the school building

Getting water from the solar pump only works in daylight

The volunteers are 2-3 to a room.  Leah and I have a very large room with a high sloping ceiling.  We can see the bats in one corner in the afternoon and are sure to use our mosquito nets at night when they may be flying around.  They seem to disappear in the morning.  I have never lived in a place here that didn't have some "wildlife."  There is also a gecko I see sometimes.  I heard mosquitos the first night but not the second, so maybe the bats are good for something.

Fava and Barbara take care of us
The volunteers eat meals on the dormitory porch.  We have a cook, Fava.  We usually have pineapple and chapattis for breakfast.  Lunch and dinner are mostly carbs (chapatti, potatoes, pasta, rice, bread at the same meal) with a little meat or chicken and vegetables, lately a lot of eggplant and carrot.  Food has little or no spice, but we do have soy sauce and tomato sauce.  There is coffee and tea at all meals.  We have to provide our own water.

The kids give us a concert

On our first day, Joshua, the pastor in charge of the orphanage, dropped Leah and I off at the surgery clinic in Kampala.  She has had a cold for two weeks that she was afraid had developed into a sinus infection.  The European doctor at the clinic saw her and took X-rays.  He concluded she does have fluid in her sinuses and under her eyes that was aggravated by the two day flight to get to Africa.  He prescribed Penicillin V for six weeks and told her to come back for sinus X rays at that time and that she cannot fly.  He said that if she was in Canada they would do surgery to drain her sinuses, but that it could not be done here.

We were unable to reach Joshua on the phone to see about a ride home.  We later found out his phone was not working.  We walked to the mall for lunch and to pick up some bottled water.  I bought a towel, since they do not supply them at the orphanage and I had given mine away in Zimbabwe.  After lunch at "Pizza Hot" we walked downtown and to the old taxi park.  We met Elliott, who works at the Imperial Hotel, on his way home and he was happy to accompany us to show us the way.  We found that the bus to Waikiso does not leave out of the old taxi park, and had to walk several more blocks to the new one.  I do not have a map of Kampala, so I was very happy he was with us.  The minibus took almost an hour to get to Waikiso, then we both got on a boda boda (motorcycle) to take us to the orphanage.

Connor from Colorado

Ava and Leah from Canada

Watching a football (soccer) game

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