Well it's been an eventful last few couple of weeks. My visa expired at the end of last month which meant coming into Kampala to renew it. Unfortunately the papers I had for my second visa weren't all completely correct and so this made the process very long and complicated. I ended up spending over a week in the capital city trying to sort it all out, for a while it looked like I might even have to repay for my expired one. Getting the visa was a lot of hassle as I had to go back and forth to the immigration office and there is only one bank in Kampala you can pay at and we kept managing to go when it was closed or closing so they couldn't process the documents. However all of that is now sorted again and I just have to renew it once more in June.
Sadly that wasn't all the chaos in Kampala this month as following a doctor's visit were it turned out that Beth had Bilharzia ( a parasite carried by snails that you can pick up from infected water, which we've been told we'll all get at some point.) On our return home from the surgery our driver who took us to the taxi stage (bit like a bus stop) stole Beth's purse which also had her driving license in it. Luckily she noticed that her bag was open though the driver had already driven off so we couldn't get a number plate or anything. We headed to the main police station in Uganda to report it so she could claim it back on insurance. However at turning up at the station the whole place was plunged into darkness due to a power cut. As there was no generator they refused to take any details down of cases until the following morning, consequently we were stuck in Kampala overnight. Having explained that Beth now had no money we were taken to accommodation in a police patrol car with police escorts which is definitely yet another one of those surreal Uganda moments. This though was nothing to what was to follow the next day. Only a couple of weeks ago in Uganda a new branch of police was set up- The Tourist Police look after non nationals in Uganda. They met us the following morning in pickup truck. Beth and I had to sit in the back of this, just to add to the effect on the side of it, it said in big letters TOURIST POLICE!!! Quite embarrassing and as you can imagine it gave its fair amount of comments from people driving past. We decided that being a celebrity would not be fun!!! We were taken to meet Ugandan's top police inspector who took down details of the case and we had to make statements and fill out forms before we could finally return home. Although the items we're never recovered Beth is getting her money refunded.
On a more positive note this past week at school we had midterm exams. My P6 English class did very well and with the exception of one pupil they all passed, with 5 pupils managing to get above 90%. As there has recently been an increase in corporal punishment in the school we also came up with a point system for the class we're the pupils earn points to receive prizes if they behave, interesting this has seen a turnaround in behaviour.
Also this week, in the afternoons as I don't teach I have begun work in a clinic. Following working in the hospital in the Christmas break I really wanted to do some more medical work. There are only 4 members of staff at the clinic- a doctor, nurse, lab technician and pharmacist- so it's quite hectic. I've helped make a record of the drug stock, taught how to sterilise and clean all the equipment used and when I'm free I get to watch what is going on. This week I spent a lot of free time in the lab and Gilbert the technician has taught me how to take blood and identify malaria on a microscope. Yesterday I managed to successfully diagnose malaria in a patient and complete the test myself.
Currently I'm in Kampala again as tomorrow there is a goodbye party for our country represents who live in the capital and help look after us as they are returning to the UK. We are also all meeting the person who is taking over their job.
The only other news is that we no longer have any electricity anymore as the family I live with have not kept up paying the bills for the electricity and we had a visit from the electricity board who took away the wires that provide electricity to the house. This has been quite difficult to adjust to as we have to find new places to charge things and might over six months in be forced to invest in candles or something so we have light. Hopefully we'll be reconnected as our power adapter is sitting in the middle of our room's floor reminding us daily we can't use it!
Till the next blog