Sunday, 1 April 2012

Week ending 1st April - HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMMA

We are writing this sitting in an Internet café where all profits go to orphans of AIDS victims. We ordered some coffee about 30 mins ago and presume it will come along sometime. We are now learning to live in African time!

Gonzaga and Paskazia are registered with HelpX and Couch Surfing so there have been more visitors this week. Judith, researching a social enterprise project in Masaka producing Afripads. (Eco-friendly, locally produced menstrual pads 20% of the cost of pads bought in local shops. Many young girls can’t afford to buy pads so use rags etc. and miss many days of school). Another visitor Pete is just travelling post uni looking for experiences, work and more! He is an amazing blues harp player. He has left now to work with a film crew shooting a film about the life of a boy soldier called: “The Jungle I Know.” A film to look out for in the future.
Our experiences have been weeding, weeding and more weeding! Cooking, a visit to a local beach resort on Lake Victoria and an aborted visit to an organic farming centre as they wanted to charge 10,000 Ugandan shillings (approx. £2.75) just to let us look around and our hosts thought that was much too much!

Something we eat with nearly all meals and is absolutely the staple diet here is called “Matooke.” It is steamed plantain with a sauce made from different veg and spices (carrots, onion, garlic, tomatoes etc.) It is delicious and known to Ugandans as “Food”. We will be posting a picture of it being cooked when we have the presence of mind to remember to bring the USB cable to the internet café to download the pictures from the camera!!

Tomorrow is our second visit to the orphans’ school where Paskasia is going to show the children and us how to make soap. We are then going to entertain by teaching them a version of “Old MacDonald had a farm” using Ugandan names and any other spontaneous antics that may occur!

Next week we are heading off to Kabale on the Rwanda road to travel a bit and see more of Uganda for 10 days or so. Then we are returning to build a clay oven for our hosts. All cooking is on open fires with toxic smoke causing hacking coughs. It would be so easy just to add canopies to gather the smoke but as always here, costs are prohibitive and so families just endure the smoke filled atmosphere.

Today, Saturday 31st March, we returned to see the orphans at their school. We were overwhelmed! Young children, who are far more proficient than us using knives, building fires and who can work together without grasping. Children who are excited about making soap, being given things that are taken for granted by the poorest children in Europe AND it was us that were showered with “offerings”! Dolls made from banana leaves, balls from plastic bags and twine, avocado, eggs, sugar cane wrapped in leaves and decorated, heady perfumed flowers collected and all given with thanks and humility.
Paskazia had taken bars of soap, she showed the children how to chop them into small pieces, boil them with Aloe Vera, water and a little powder to make 10 bars from the original 2! Now they can wash their clothes!
Richard drove home along the bumpy tracks with an increasingly sharp pain in his back, which he guessed was kidney stones! Several hours later diagnosis confirmed by a Ugandan doctor trained in Nottingham, we came home armed with medication. A deep sleep later we have had an easy day playing ball, reading a little gentle veg chopping and lots of water drinking. No more pain!


  1. Happy birthday Emma! I have no idea what your address is, sorry ..
    Sounds as though you are having the experience of a life time Maggie. Hope Richard is on the mend. All the same here, apart from experiencing summer last week and expecting winter this week! What's the weather like there? lots of love xxx

    1. Not heard from you for a while, hope everything is going well. We've had easter here, went to Bournemouth for a few days. It was lovely. walked for miles along the sea front. Apart from that nothing new. Neil is really busy and I am jogging along. Hope to see some blogging from you soon!

      N & J xxx