I’ve been in Uganda for almost two weeks now. In a way it’s flown and at times it feels like I’ve been here forever. I’m living in a little compound of three houses with a couple from Bangor- Jonny and Natalie. They’ve been great at helping me get settled and sorted with the essentials.
The past few weeks I’ve been busy trying to get stuff sorted for the house and set up a comfortable wee home for myself. I’m lucky in that Jonny and Natalie already have the place looking lovely. It’s been both fun and frustrating going to the market to buy furniture for my room. I enjoy a good barter but end up most days getting frustrated at the Mzungu pricing of everything.
For those of you who have traveled to Uganda before, this word likely invokes some sort of memory perhaps in the form of extreme frustration or of smiling, young children. For those that have never been, foreigners in Uganda are referred to as “mzungu (moo-zoon-gu).” It does not directly translate to “white person” and it is not a derogatory term.
The house is great. I’ve a nice spacious room, hot shower (a treat in Uganda) and all the things that we need for a pretty comfortable life. We have a beautiful garden with palm trees and lovely plants and lawn. The land lady is happy for us to plant whatever plants we want so we’re thinking of attempting to have our own little vegetable patch (Dad, Dave, Emma, Shiv if you’re reading this advice is welcomed!)
I’ve also enjoyed a lovely trip to Jinga which is a lovely wee town by the Nile I always make frequent visits to when in Uganda. I was meeting up with a Dutch friend who I met this time last year in Zambia. I decided to treat myself and join the girls for an evening sunset cruise along the Nile. I could never bore of watching an African sunset.
Unfortunately some dodgy chicken from the inclusive BBQ left me vomiting for the remainder of the trip. TIA.
I also spent a few days with the Emmanuel Team. It’s always great to return to Jandira and see how much the schools and communities there have come on from our first visit in 2006. I would like to invest what free time I have there as the more I travel around Africa I realise there is no place quite like it.
(Hi Ellen- Love Paul xxx)
I start work on Wednesday. I called in briefly last week and staff that I met seem lovely. It will also be good to get into a rountine and met more people. It will be a completely different experience than any teaching experience I’ve had before- both back home and in Uganda. I will be teaching a mix of well off east Africans and expat children from all over the world. It will be a new challenge but I’m looking forward to it.
In all, I’m excited, nervous and scared about the next year and frequently asking myself what on earth I’m doing here, but I’m sure it will all make sense in time. The realities of leaving close friends and family at home have hit me on this more than any trip. I’m realising I’m going to have to make more of an effort to get out of my comfort zone and meet people as it’s not as easy as travelling when you are constantly meeting people in hostels. However, I am constantly reminding myself that I am lucky and privileged to be working in a beautiful country that I love, and living amongst some of the most warm and welcoming people on the planet.