Monday, 16 April 2012

Oli Otya?

The answer you're looking for is "Gyendi!"  ("Hi, how are you?" "Fine thanks"), at least if you're where I've just been.  I've just returned to the lovely drizzly British Isles after spending ten days in the significantly hotter, but equally wet (it's the rainy season) jungles of Uganda, where I've been volunteering with the Quicken Trust in a village called Kabubbu.  They like their visitors to get stuck into life in the village, which is just how I like it - our family don't really do spectator holidays!- so I've been throwing bricks and painting walls, playing international Tug'O'War, eating (and for the most part heartily enjoying) every bit of food put in front of me, and walked everywhere surrounded by a gaggle of small clingy children whose English is surprisingly good!

Making new friends!

A typical house in Kabubbu

Uganda is an amazing place.  From meeting with Geoff and Geraldine Booker from the Quicken Trust I did have some idea of what I might see before I went out there and was surprised to find that I wasn't particularly shocked by anything, as I expected to be.  With hindsight I think that the media portrayal of African countries by the West is often very sensationalist, and even with doing some background reading before I went out my understanding was not good.  Some of the people I met on my travels were in heartbreaking situations and hardships, but I also met a vibrant and character-ful community who were resourceful, hard-working, and more welcoming to us mzungu (foreigners) than most of us in the west remember how to be.  That side of things doesn't get shown on the news very often.  On the plus side, not knowing what to expect meant that I got to see everything with fresh eyes.  It's funny how you go to a new place and the things that strike you the most are the ones that make you reflect on life back home.

The outskirts of Kampala, Uganda's capital

I've come back with a head full of stories and ideas, and as usual I've recorded the entire trip in words, photographs and drawings.  Over the next few weeks I'll be posting it all up here, hopefully a new diary entry every few days as most of them are quite long.

Here was our team:

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