Thursday, June 27, 2013

Town Pics

As promised here are a small number of pictures from around town - mostly side streets (as opposed to main street) because it was less embarrassing to take pictures that way. ;)

The birthday girl, Katie, sitting at Flavours - a popular coffee shop
View from the tapas restaurant we went for Katie's birthday dinner, overlooking the Nile River

More pictures to come - some of which will hopefully show the differences in run-down-ness, if you will (meaning not all of Jinja looks like the photos above).

Out and About

Well the first trip out and about in town proved to be quite successful. We got our sim cards for our phones and some airtime as well as stopped by The Source Cafe. This was the best part of the day for me because I got to see my friend Maxi - who is now expecting a baby!!! Also, Irene from the gift shop definitely remembered me and I wasn't sure that she would, so naturally that put me on cloud nine. :)

We did pass by Eva at her craft shop on the walk to and from town, but I don't think she remembered me. But that's ok, and to be quite honest, somewhat expected. Many people here think that most Mzungus look the same and if you're working at a craft shop you're guaranteed to see A LOT of them.

Today is Katie's birthday and so far has been a pretty lazy day. Mostly because we haven't started working on our projects yet. Since we don't really have anything planned today (other than a possible meeting with Tara and a woman named Tina) we thought we might embarrassingly play tourist and take pictures around town for you kids to enjoy. ;)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ugandan Adventures – Take 2

Monday, June 24, 2013

Well, I haven’t even reached Jinja yet, and I’ve already got bug bites – thank you hot and humid last night in Chicago. Fingers crossed I’ll be mostly spared the remainder of my trip. :D On a more serious note, leaving for Uganda was much harder this time than I anticipated. The most obvious reason being the amazing friends and loved ones I’m leaving behind. But as with all things, time will pass and I’ll forget all about them – just kidding! Time will pass and we’ll all be back together again. But until that time comes, I am extremely happy to be going back to my African home to see and work with my surrogate family!!!

The stories for this great adventure started early, at O’Hare Int’l Airport and the baggage check. Hopping into a relatively short line Joshua and I thought, ‘this won’t take long at all.’ Eh, not so much. Despite having to wait for what seemed like quite a while we were given some good entertainment; entertainment in the form of a small, mischievous boy. Forget running around, not listening to your parents. This kid was running around between various attempts (most successful) of climbing on top of the luggage scale and peering around the corner at the Lufthansa employees working behind the desk.
Finally the mom managed to block his way to the scale but it wasn’t without GREAT effort on his part.

Fast forward to the middle of my first plane ride (destination – Frankfurt, Germany)
The flight attendants are pushing a cart down the aisle collecting dinner trays and who should come strolling up behind them? The little hell raiser from the baggage check back in Chicago! Being a kid and not knowing better, he tries to squeeze past.
Attendant #1 – “Just a minute”
He tries to squeeze by.
Attendant #1 – “Wait just a minute please.”
Still not listening, he makes another attempt to pass through.
Clearly asking him to wait is out of the question. After a quick conversation with Attendant #2 on the opposite side of the cart, Attendant #1 bends down, picks up the boy, and passes him over the cart to her coworker who then sets him down on the other side. Unfazed, the kid takes off only to be seen running around the plane multiple times later, a family member chasing behind.

Airport – Frankfurt, Germany
Not too much excitement here, other than 30 minutes of free internet and a few hours of waiting for the second leg of my trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The flight there was barely noteworthy (shocker). I slept most of the way which was nice and was elbowed intermittently throughout the whole flight by the lady sitting next to me.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Airport
Very. Confusing. Perhaps I was just thrown off from sleep, lack thereof, or the time change, but figuring out where I needed to be in this place was not easy, or obvious . . . at all. Eventually I was able to find someone to help me, learning that I was in the wrong terminal and needed to catch the bus to the correct location. However, multiple busses came and went only allowing passengers off and on rare occasion a select few on. Eventually though, I got on a bus and made it to my gate to wait for my final flight of the trip.

I knew I was definitely in Africa when I got sandwiched by two men heading to Entebbe as well, and one of them eventually asked for my contact information.
Him - “Do you have a card?”
Me – “No”
Him – “Do you have a phone?”
Me – “no” (well technically yes, but I didn’t know the number and certainly wasn’t going to give it to this random person)
Him – “ok, well why don’t I give you my number so you can call me?”
Me – “ok, sure” (‘that will never happen’)   - and time to get on the plane.

The last flight was short and other than everyone’s baggage taking ridiculously long to appear, everything went smoothly. Customs were a breeze and my ride was waiting for me when I came out. I finally reached the house around 3:30am on the 26th.

Now we wait and see what new adventures unfold…