We are so excited for this 2017 Spring Gala!
So many flowers as well as so many way to participate in this year’s Spring Gala! We all love choices, so choose the one that fits your needs!
A very real challenge this year has been communicating with Children UP back in the states.
When electricity does not work…neither does Internet. For several days in a row the electrical was out in the evenings and mornings. Not having electricity also means not being able to recharge phones and computers. There are places in town with generators if you happen to be close to them.
Roads and Traveling
Traveling by bus has its challenges. Many long destination buses will not leave until every seat is taken, ensuring that it is a profitable run.
A seven a.m. run may not leave until 9 or 10. This was our experience in 2005 when we first traveled toUganda. Since then we have discovered the Post Office buses, which leave on time. They are also recognized as having the safest drivers.
We have learned the hard way not to plan to travel at the beginning or end of a school term when all the students are coming and going to boarding school around the country. The buses are sheer chaos as everyone scrambles for available spaces.
Then there are the roads. Not all roads are paved. During the dry season when we are here each year the dust is flying everywhere. At the end of the trip when we retrieve our luggage from under the bus carriage, all the bags look the same…. dusty red!
In most places the edges of the tarmac have worn away due to heavy traffic and the dirt slants down toward the ditches. When a bus passes another large vehicle, you find yourself awkwardly tilting toward a ditch. As you get close to a town, there are improvised speed bumps that have a significant presence.
All of this and I have not even written about the motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.
Getting Here. . .
Twenty hours on a plane, seven on a bus, six hours in airports. We are exhausted.
Our most interesting adventure so far was arriving in Entebbe without one large piece of luggage.
We went back the next day to see if it was in. I think we will just have to do without.
Luckily all of our most important items were in our carry-ons.
We are slowly making connections with Ugandan friends that we will meet in the next few days. We are always excited to make this yearly trip to meet with our coordinators, have our meeting with the students we are sponsoring and reconnect with our friends.
In Entebbe we stayed at a backpacker hostel. We met Gertrude, a woman selling her banana leaf crafts. She took the time to show Betty how she takes a leaf and is able to use it to weave handicrafts. During our conversation she mentioned an American she knows well, Tony Kambich, from Evanston. I was surprised that I would know him. A few years back he met with Children UP to explain his work establishing Montessori schools in Uganda. I did have the pleasure of visiting one of the schools a few years back.
Thanks to one of our supporters, we had a contribution of a computer. We were able to give it to a friend. George is not part of Children UP. George works at an Internet cafe. When I was here in 2010, George was an incredible help with Internet and with practical advice. I was pleased that I was able to return the favor.
We cannot say enough positive things about Entebbe’s backpacker hostel. Benjamin at the front desk, Colin and owner Frank were all wonderful to us. What a special place. They make improvements by adding solar panels which has reduced their bill by 20% and creating a water reserve. Lots of positive energy there!
When Colin’s car got a flat tire, his dad come to drive us to the post bus…
WOW, Frank is a gracious hands-on owner! We had a great conversation and made it to the bus with three minutes to spare, THANKS, Frank!
Yes, the Post Buses do deliver the mail!
When we first started going to Uganda we met Moses. At the time he was working in a field lab in southern Uganda. Though he had graduated from high school, he was not able to finance a college education. He was interested in both tourism and in conservation.
We are happy to announce that Moses is now employed by the Max Plank Institute studying the lives and health of the mountain gorillas in the Virunga Mountains. Because he studies the gorillas on an almost daily basis, he says that the gorillas now recognize him and he also recognizes the individuals in the group.
We congratulate Moses in helping the world better understand the lives of this endangered species.
We were interested in buying some Ugandan crafts. In Gulu we found the Wawoto Kacel. It is a cooperative organized by the Catholic Church. They have a small store with beautiful fabric items, necklaces, baskets and other items.
There are times when as a consumer you wonder about the conditions under which items are made. What is so impressive is that the craft persons on the premises in well equipped studios. We saw rooms for weaving, sewing, paper-making, bead necklace and dying. I am certain we did not see it all.
The women were delightfully interactive as I walked into each area with my camera, wanting to see the pictures. Meanwhile, I had left Betty to finish the shopping with Rachel. As we left, we watched two women who had just finished dying large pieces of cloth, leaving them to dry on the lawn.
It is good to support the people creating the work. On another note, Rachel knew that we were attracted to a certain product in the craft market. Since she is a tailoring instructor, Rachel organized a young woman who just graduated from tailoring school to make for us some I-Pad bags made from locally bought Kitenge cloth. Rachel is also planning on contacting a local basket maker for us. Even shopping is different in Uganda and in the process we are making friends.
More Fun Pictures:
Women Making Seed Bead Jewelry
Betty and Rachel shopping!
So much to do in so little time!!! Working with the
internet in Uganda makes you appreciate the internet at home.
We had a wonderful and productive meeting with the mentors. We gathered the information to select our
three new students. Almost there!!! We spent a huge amount of time learning about “A Le
vels” and how we can help our students make the transfer from “O
Levels” to “A Levels”.
Betty has been spending time with Rachel getting basic supplies for the students. We used motorcycles to get the supplies to the ChildrenUP office. Betty’s first time on a motorcycle!!! We decided to walk the two miles back to town.
Looking forward to meeting the students, attending a local rotary meeting, organizing the supplies, crossing the “t’s” and dotting the “i’s”!
We are enjoying the warm weather! Stay tune for more to come! (If the internet works!)
We are getting ready to go back to Uganda fro our annual trip. This year there will be a new person to meet. Akidi Doria Nicole was born about a month ago to our mentor Rachel Akullu and her husband Fred Watum. It will be good to see Walter and Sam again as we work out our program for the next year. We are excited to see the students again and to add three more students to ChildrenUP. We have a lot of work to do when we get there and only 2 weeks to get it all done. I am hoping to squeeze in a Rotary meeting or two. We have other friends whom we will attempt to fit into our schedule as well as doing a bit of shopping.