Hello, Nicola here :)
I am love love loving being back in Uganda! It is definitely a home away from home from me and I've slipped right back into the life style. Its difficult to describe the feeling I felt as I walked down the steps from the plane after touching down at Entebbe Airport - just a happiness and contentment, like I belong! Its great seeing all my friends and my class again. Lyndz mentioned it before in a previous blog how my pupils performed a welcome dance for us at school. A very proud moment for me and I couldn't take the smile off my face. Missing my project partner from last year though, the girl I lived and worked with the whole year... Steph and I have a lot of memories here which I'll never forget.
The children all recognised me and screamed when I walked into the class room. They had covered the black board with messages for me such as "welcome back Madam Nico, we love you, from Hamuzah, James and Veronica" and some of the pupils from other classes had even written letters welcoming me back. The teachers who I lived with have been so lovely and even the new teachers who i hadn't met before invited us round for dinner.
I adore these people so much! I hope Uganda will always be part of my life and I feel so honoured that they've let me in to their lives with open arms and smiles.
So, anyway, the three of us have had a good time so far at Queen Elizabeth National Park - Lyndsey has filled you in about that - my fave memory was riding on the roof of the safari truck singing african songs and passing right by a couple of elephants, amazing :)
We got back from Queen Elizabeth on Friday night and have since had a very eventful couple of days. Time is just flying by and its actually quite difficult to keep track of what we've been doing each day but I'll try my best to remember! Especially as I've been moving between the backpackers and Bulenga sometimes twice a day - don't know whether we're here or there.
The weekend was lovely... had long lies at the backpackers and generally just chilled, read books and hung out at Garden City which is a modern shopping centre in the well off part of Kampala. There is a full sized super market, restaurants, cinema, bowling alley etc. and is great to go to just to get away from the intensity of the rest of town! Kampala is generally a big chaotic dirty city, anything goes and it is everyone for themselves out on the roads. The bazungu (white people) are popular to say the least... a lot of poeple trying to be-friend, harrass (for money/sex) or just reaching out to touch you on your way past. It is better once you speak a little of the language as you can surprise them with the Luganda and joke with them :)
My director - the man who I worked for last year and who is the founder of the school, he lives behind the teachers' residence in a big house with a fridge and toilet (!!) - invited us round for dinner last night and wow did we eat well! The best G-nut sauce since coming back to Uganda, yum! We had that with rice and matooke (boiled green bananas) while Pieran ate his first Ugandan beef dish.
After dinner he took us in his car to Kampala along with his wife to watch the World Cup final at a place called Blu Haze. It was in quite a well off part of town so not as rowdy as I'd imagine some of the local places to be. But a good atmosphere and huge big tv screens up on the wall in the garden where a good crowd of people had gathered to watch the match. I'm not too keen on football so I found most of the match a bit boring to be honest, especially as there were no goals untill the very end but it was an experience anyway. Lyndz and I were checking out the best looking members on each team and cheering them on, haha :P At half time we went looking for the toilet but the ladies was out of order and there was a sign on the door saying "use the door behind" so we went on a mission for the "door behind" where we were supposed to pee and found a very smelly shed right round the back of the building, totally out of place in the nice pub... the door wouldn't lock, it stank and there was even a Ugandan lady peeing outside in public to avoid going in. However it was not the worst toilet I've used.
Just after the match there was an announcement in the pub that some bombs had gone off in kampala and they told us it would be best if everybody left and to take care. I couldn't believe my ears but all the Ugandans were so unaffected and wandered out the pub calmly. It was on the car radio on the way home that we learnt the death toll of 23 and that the bombs were close by to where we had been watching the match. The number of deaths has risen recently to 74, a mixture of Ugandan, Ethopian and Indian victims with one US lady killed. I'm sure you've all heard about it - most likey more than us as we do not always get the news. I'm gutted about what happened and am thinking about the families affected by the tragic disaster :( We have been told to stay away from 'large social gatherings' which we will do but is just timing as this means avoiding the likes of the taxi park, Owino market, Garden City and so on.
So we're off to Jinja (east) tomorrow morning for three nights with one of our Ugandan friends, Patrick, who is also 19yrs old. Should be good! The plan is to let Patrick bungee jump and for the four of us to Quad Bike, woop woop!
Hope you are finding the blog interesting :)
Lots of love