Thursday, 28 June 2012

Milking it...

hey guys!

what with all the drama of the other day i forgot to mention some things, so im back tracking a bit. on tuesday night me, danielle and Christy went with Frank the Cowboy to milk one of his cows. wierdest experience ever. i did actually manage to coax some milk out, though i dont think the cow was very happy about it! it had a little calf running around as well, who was dissapointed not be getting in on the action, and kept running past us and kicking out, i was scared it was going to kick me!

after all the drama i actually feel a bit better, i spoke to a few of the girls who were really reassuring, and ive just been keeping away from Amon and Oz as much as possible. ive been doing some serious work at schoolt he last few days too, which has been a good distraction. we are doing a huige survey of all 470 kids to find out their favourite things, about their parents and sibling etc, to send the info on to the people who sponsor them, so they can have a bit more personal information about their child. it took forever because the records the school has about the children are years out of date, and they have taken on 200 kids in the last year alone, so we had to go through and sort all of the enrolement forms and update them to show what class the child is now in, and then copy the information into a book, and only then could we start asking the kids what their favourite animal, colour, and lesson is, and who their best friend is and what chores they do at home. it was quite sad going through all the forms, lots of children dont have more than one parent, and a surprising amount dont have any at all. the notes on each child ranged from 'from a poor family' to 'has been defiled by her father'. the child who had that on her form is only 5.

yesterday we continued with the survey, and then we started organising sports day, which is today. the whole school is participating, which is great. im excited to see them have some fun after a week of exams. last night i walked one of the kids home, who doesnt live particularly far away, but very high up the steepest mountain. i was knackred by the time we got there but she hadnt even broken a sweat. it was worth it though, the view was amazing. no sooner had i got back to the lodge from this walk i was persuaded to go on a 'sweetie walk', which basically involves walking around the hills giving a sweet to any child you see. they love it and it helps to stop the parents and other villagers feeling that we are starangers, as we come by ther houses and chat to them too. after that we went to school and played baseball. ive never played it before but is basically rounders with a metal bat and a stupid glove on. a few people had been playing at the lodge earlier and had persuaded one of the staff to bat. unfortunately he smashed a window! everyone else said it was them and that james wasnt playing, as they didnt want him to be in trouble. thankfully anne thought it was funny. so anyway, we moved the game to school where the windows are just holes with metal accross them. i played barefoot and when i had finished running round my foot and big toe was killing me, whenever i moved it. the possibility of it being broken is pretty high i think, as its still really swollen and painful today.

thats all ive been up to really,. but ive got an excting few days ahead! its sports day tonighjt, and then clubbing at sals, then tomorrow im going to the refugee camp/settlement, and then on sunday im going to lake mburo for a day safari, and then on monday im going to kampala with my roommates for a night out and the craft market and nice food before they go home. im going back ot the lodge on wednesday and i dont know what im doing after that!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Secrets and Lies

The last few days have been a bit mental, and necessarily in a good way.

On Monday night everybody got back from safari which was nice, I hate it when the lodge is empty. There is a new guy who came on Monday too, called stuart. He’s about 35 and really down to earth, which is good, we need someone to diffuse all the bitching!

we had chips for dinner on monday,  so ive had the rare treat of nice food 3 days in a row.

for the past week or so, one of the younger male staff at the lodge had been making it apparent that he was interested in me. its not like i dont like him at all or anything, but i really didnt come here to get a ugandan boyfriend. he had wanted to dance with me a lot at Sals last friday, and i didnt really think anything of it, we were all dancing with everyone, and being staff from the lodge, they are supposed to understand the limits and also i would hope understand that we would much rather dance with them at Sals than dance alone, because that you makes you more vulnerable to unwanted advances to random african men. so anyway, the long and short of it is, i danced with Oz but i also danced with alex, Teacher MK and Amon. as far as i was concerned it didnt mean anything. 

on monday night Oz said he wanted to talk to me alone. i was a bit nervy about that because i didnt really want to have to turn him down and upset him. it turned out that declaring his undying love for me was only a very small part of his adgenda. we walked over and sat at school in the evening to have this talk, and he basically told me hat all of the other volunteers at the lodge hate me, that they are constantly bitching about me, and telling him he's crazy for liking me. he named a few specific people but also said that there was nobody who didnt feel that way about me. that was a bit of a blow really. i wasnt feeling welcome as it was but could just about persuade myself it was me being paranoid, not EVERYBODY hates me, etc, but there he was, claiming that he had been told all of this stuff.

the next thing he spoke about really shocked and upset me, and i still dont know how to deal with it. Amon is the volunteer co-ordinator, and although he's not really old enough to be any of our grandfathers, he is basically viewed as the grandfather figure of he lodge. he's really nice, knows a lot and looks after us. i obviously know him from last year and i am freinds with him on facebook. throughout the past year, whenever i am online he would come on chat and talk to me. i always just thought he was being nice. after i mentioned that i was coming back, he was always messaging me saying things like 'hello dear, have you fixed your flights yet?' again, just thought he was being nice. the only thing that i ever thought was slightly odd about Amon and his behaviour towards me was that when we were at Sals (which i don really think is his idea of fun) he was quite insistent about dancing with me, and was trying to grind with me. I'm not against griding with someone for a laugh, but when they are older than your mum thats just wierd. anyway, Oz tells me that before i arrived, Amon has been telling everyone that he has this girlfriend called Lucy Fordham who is coming to visit him for 2 months. a lot of the staff believed him as well, because i quite often sit next to amon in the evenings around the fire and talk to him. the only reason i did that was because he is a nice man and a familliar face, and interesting to talk to. 

after dropping that bombshell, Oz did then tell me that he was in love with me and asked if i loved him back. i told him that he couldnt possibly love me having known me for only 2 weeks, and tried my best to let him down gently. he seemed to accept that and thanked me for being honest, and then he swore me to secrecy about the whole conversation. i had no idea what to do and was really upset, so naturally i rang home in tears. my parents advice was to talk to Dennis, who runs the lodge and school. i havent spoken to him yet, and i dont know if im going to, i just thnk that all of this is out of his control, its not like he can UNsay what amon said, and he cant force the other volunteers to be nice to me. 

i basically just went to bed miserable, and ried to decide what to do. yesterday morning i got up and felt a bit better, and got really stuck into ome super boring paperwork. it took forever but did feel like i was being generally useful. i tried not to say anything to anyone, i dont want them to get annoyed with me any more than they are already. yesterday evening i spoke to Dannii, who i feel i can trust, and Brittany, and they both think i should speak to denis too. today all i ahve really done is come into town to get phone credit, money and to use the internet. im definitely going to go to school later and walk some kids home this evening.

Monday, 25 June 2012

bunyoni and breaking in...

Its been a little while since my last post as ive been on a bit of a holiday! On Thursday we killed the pig and had it for dinner, watcjhing it was super interesting, like a bio lesson, africa style. We didn’t eat anywhere near all of it, I think we managed about the ¼ of it and the staff will get to eat the rest. On friday night we went to sky blue for dinner as it was some people last night, and then we went to sals. Before we set off most people were up for sals, but by the time we got there there were only 3 of us brave enough! I cant belive how nervy some poeople are about it, they all think its really rapey or something but its not, the men will try it on and have a grind or whatever, but if you are like ‘seriously, no.’ then they will leave you alone. A bit like being in england really!

On Saturday morning we set off for lake bunyoni, getting a matatu taxi bus to kabale and then a private taxi to the lake. The geusthouse we were staying on was on an island, so they took us there in a dug out canoe, which was cool but very long and tiring! When wee got there the place was really nice, though we chose the most basic accomodation which was basically a big dorm, it was still comfortable. When we arrived we put all of our stuff in a locker and locked it with a cheap lock that Christie had brought, but when we came back to get our stuff later the lock was broken and wouldn’t open, so we had tp get a guy alomng to come and cut it off, it took him all of about 30 seconds with a hand saw. After that we just left our stuff under our beds and it was fine. It was kindof cold when we arrived but we were looking forwards to a swim in the morning. We sat in the bar just chilling and reading which was so nice, and we had amazing food. We went to bed quite early because there was no electricity and so we couldn’t really see after it got dark. Apparently I was screaming in the night, having slept silently the whole time ive been here I started mouthing off when in a room with a load of random germans!

The next mornming it was raining and cold again which was a bit rubbish so we didn’t swim, but just spent more time chilling out and eating nice food! The whole weekend cost me under 20 quid, including food and accomodation!

When we got back lat night the lodge was absolutely dead, everybody is away on safari and in kampala etc, so we were just chilling a bit more! The safari-ers are back tonight so it should be a bit more lively.

At school today the kids are all doing mid-terms, so we couldn’t do much with them, only supervise the exams. We ended up going back top the lodge to make posters and resources.

I came to town today to try and get cash but the ATM isnt working today so im probably going to have to come in tomorrow, which is super annoying.

Anita, the girl with malaria was finally back in school today, and she seemed much brighter, so I can finally stiop worrying about her!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Pig love

yesterday after I posted, i went to Sals to meet Ian and Gerrard, but gerrard didnt turn up, so we gave up after waititng an hour for him. pretty much as soon as we got back to the lodge he arrived and was apaoligising for being late etc, and said that we should go back to his place then. he had a boda waiting outside so we agreed and went to get one. it transpired that the 3 of us were going to go all the way to Kahunga on the back on this one boda, which was defititely not a comfortable ride. it was about a 45 min journey, along increasingly narrow paths that were little more than foot paths. i was in what was probably the most comfortable posotion, in between ian and gerrard.

when we got there it was super rural, up on the mountain and we looked at his house that he is building for himself and the house he currently lioves in with his parents. it was super basic. no electricity or water. twe met his family and siblings, and his dad gave us some eggs from his chickens. the whole village came to look at us through the windows, they dont get to see very many mzungus around kahunga and kiyoora! i got asome amazing shots of the views from the house; it was serisouly a view that you would pay millions for in a more developed place.

after we got back from gerrards we had rolexes for dinner at the lodge, which was great. i played pool with the guys and strangely won both times, i insisted it was a fluke but they are now convinced that im a secret pool champion!

this morning before school the pig was delivered to the lodge, we are having it for dinner tonight. we have called it percy :)

i went to school for morning lessons and saw olivia, and her eyes are looking much better. no sign of anita though :(

tonight we are killing and eating the pig. super excited to have some meat!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

tears and foriegn toilets...

Hey guys

Sorry about the lack of posts, its been really hard to get internet access recently. The last few days have been kindof run of the mill anyway, but I thought it would be good to provide an update. On Saturday we went to the comedy/variety night, which was fun, I proved to be very popular and was hauled onto the stage several times. The toilets there were a complete joke, they were locked with a padlock which they fortunately gave us the key to, and you had to walk through the mens urinals to get to it. Once you got inside there wasn’t really a toilet at all, rather a tiny hole in the corner of the room, with washing lines strung above your head with various undergarments drying on them and dripping on your head. Most of the other volunteers managed to piss all over their feet, but I am fortunately quite well practiced at this, so I managed not to.
On Sunday I went for lunch at sky blue with Danielle, one of my roommates. I spoke to her about the uneasy feeling I had relating to the rest of my roommates. I had been thinking for a few days that there was some sort of issue between us but I wasn’t really sure what, I just felt as though they didn’t really like me. Danni invited me to join them on safari so I told her that I thought she should talk to them first and see if they were ok with me coming, as I didn’t think they would be. She seemed a bit surprised but said she would talk to them. Later on when we got back I went into the room to get my phone and they were all sitting there and stopped talking when I walked in. it was pretty obvious what they were talking about, but I tried to just get my phone and go. Dayna was then like ‘we didn’t mean to make you feel awkward…’ but I don’t know, I was really upset about it and I couldn’t really hold it together so I just walked out. Danni followed me to make sure I was ok, but in all honesty I wasn’t. Dennis saw me crying and kept asking me what the problem was but I didn’t want the staff getting involved so I didn’t tell him. I went for a walk on my own and ended up just sitting at school for ages, thinking stuff over. I came back after a bit and sat in the food banda on the floor, so that it wouldn’t be obvious I was there. Amon came in and was standing still for ages, so I think he saw me. A few minutes later dennis came and tried again to get me to tell him. He even bought me a beer which was foul but kindof funny.  I went and sat by the fire for a bit with Mrass and some of the other local people, and then I went to bed without really talking to my roommates. The next morning I moved rooms, but its still kindof awkward.

On Monday I took Olivia to see the eye doctor and he diagnosed conjunctivitis, which was a relief. He also said that she had some other problems that I hadn’t really noticed like a chest infection so we saw another doctor who prescribed a load of drugs. Because she is so young I walked her home that night and gave the drugs to her grandmother who she lives with. Amon has since told me that she was born with syphilis, though I don’t know how that affects children, but it made me think that the chances of her having HIV are pretty high, especially as she doesn’t have a mother. On Monday Dayna also brought me a child who was feeling ill (why she brought her to me and didn’t deal with it herself, I don’t know) who looked as though she had malaria. She was seriously miserable but she was just complaining of a headache and stomachache, and didn’t have a temperature, so I gave her some paracetamol (I was advised to do this by the head) and some water and just let her be. Later on I went to see if she was feeling any better and she wasn’t, but it was nearly the end of the day and the staff said to jut leave her to go home and see how she was in the morning. Before she left after school she said to me ‘Mzungu, im not happy.’ Which totally broke my heart. It had been an emotional couple of days anyway and I felt incredibly guilty when she didn’t show up to school the following day or today.
Yesterday we went to a big market in a nearby town where we bought fabric to get bags and shorts made, and some stuff for the lodge. Amon is trying to get us a pig so we can have a hog roast tomorrow night! Im going to Gerrards house now (he used to work at the lodge) so I had better go, but ill try and post again soon!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Clubbing and Comedy...

hey guys!

i havent posted in a few days because it has been really hard to get a space in an internet cafe. they are always rammed, when previously they were always really quiet.

the other day i was at school and Olivia who is one of the basbies i especially remember from last year came up to me looking pretty sorry for herself, and when i looked at her her eyes were really red and bloodshot. i pointed it out to they teacher and she told me that she had vbeen complaining thast they were hurting all morning, so i should take her to the hospital. i thought it looked like simple conjunctiovitis but im no doctor so off we went. when wearrived at the hospital the doctor asked her some questions about whether they hurt or if they were itchy etc, but she didnt seem to understand even though he was asking her in runyankole. the only thing i do know is that she told him they didnt hurt, which is the opposite to what she said before. very frustrating but i guess thats kids for you, he is referring her to the eye specialist as he didnt know what it was, so i have to take her back on monday for that.

on friday night we went out clubbing  to Sals, as is traditional, but hardly anybody wanted to come! 2 of my roommates came, and me, and then a few of the staff and Ian, another volunteer who is in his 60's. i was the only Mzungu woman, which attracted a bit of attention, including the village drunk who gave me a love letter, which is hilarious. how he managed to even write at that level of intoxication is beyond me, but there we are.

yesterday me and a couple of new people went to Mbarara for shopping, we had to buy ingredients for cake and bread to make in anne's solar oven. we also got ugandan football tops, which are fakes amazing, they say 'Ubanda' on them! when we got back we went to help paint some of the classrooms with the most watery paint ive every come accross, it took ages because you had to keep going over and over the same place to get any coverage. after that i did some training with one of the new girls, she is a PE teacher, i never thought id undertake this sort of thing willingly!

then lastnight we went to this 'variety performance' at the pub, which was completely bizarre, lots of singing miming and dancing, and also a comedy guy who was so weird it was hilarious. i seemed to be a favorite and got dragged on stage several times. in the beginning i was completely terrified but by then end i think i was too drunk to care!

this morning we made cake mixture with the ingredients i bought and put it in the solar oven to bake. the overn only got up to 120 degrees at its hottest so the cake has been in there for hours, though it is rising! while the cake was in the oven we went to church to see the singing, it was a bit uncomfortable though, they made a collection as usual but they spoke to us in english first and we had to introduce ourselves, and then they shouted out how much money each of us gave, and then the total for our group. they didn't do that to anyone else and the whole thing was pretty awkward.

later we are going to do some more painting and then get an early night, im seriously tired!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Bus rides and boda accidents...

hey all!

i arrived in entebbe on tuesday morning where i got a taxi to kampala, and had some breakfast with paul. that was to be my last good meal for a while! then i got the bus to the lodge which was a bit scary as i was worried i wouldnt get on the right bus or they wouldnt stop in the right place, as i was the only person going to the lodge. It was fine though, paul arranged for a local guy to take me there and make sure i got on te right one. i had a seat for a while but then after the short call, (when i was too scared to get off in case they left without me, despite being desperate to pee) the 2 mzungus sat opposite me were nearly left behind, and a lady with a baby had got on the bus and sat in their seats when they were away. when they came back they made her move which i thought was really rude, it was their fault they were late! then she didnt have a seat and was sitting on the floor, but she had this teeny tiny baby so i let her have my seat and i sat on the floor. the whole bus was gasping and whispering about it, im not sure if they thought it was good or bad though!\

when i arrived it was so nice to see everyone, and there is a really nice group of voluteers here. marass came on wednesday night to make rolexes which was great and we are going to sals for clubbing tonight!

last night some dancing ladies came to show us traditional songs and dances, which was really interesting. they sang a song welcoming us in english and Amon had obviously tipped hem off about some of our names, as the were singing 'you are very welocome, mista roosy!' it took me a while to realise they were talking about me!

on my first night i made a bit of an entrance by getting a motorcycle lesson from adam, and crashing spectacularly into some bushes. i was completely fine, but i did look a complete twat. i think motorbikes are not for me!

this is about all i can manage, there is no power in town at the moment so im paying five times the usual price for the computer as its running off a generator. i'll post again soon!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

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Back to the blog!

Long time no blog! Almost a year after I last went to Uganda, I'm returning for a second visit, and I leave tomorrow. Excited doesn't even cover it. 

I'm going back to the same lodge and the same school, which has had some pretty major changes since I was last there. I'm told that they now have something of the order of 400 children, when previously they had a little over half that! There are also 2 new classes and teachers, and a new head. Exciting stuff!

I'm staying in Ntungamo for a bit longer than I did last time too, spending nearly nine weeks there and then planning to spend about a week in Kampala and travelling around at the end. I want to do a couple more trips this time too, I think I will go on safari with Denis and I would like to go over to Rwanda for a couple of days too, as well as doing some of the more touristy stuff around Kampala and Jinja. 

I will obviously be posting here with regular updates throughout my stay, so make sure you stay tuned!