Eyo ngonia, Antje?

Welcome to Uganda…
September 5, 2009, 3:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Sunset in Kampala

Sunset in Kampala

So I finally get to update my blog, after 2 weeks of more or less being on the road. Here I am, in Rhino Camp, in my home for the next 12 months –at least during the year. It’s a beautiful little roundhouse with grass roof, wonderfully cool during midday heat. Since I am after all staying here alone (the car workshop was moved to Arua, so there is no other volunteer in Rhino Camp), I can choose between two bedrooms. I have a sofa, a shower, a cooking plate and – what is really important – no wall around my compound. In Arua, where I will spend most of my weekends with three other volunteers, Lars, Richard and Timur, I felt sort of closed in since we even had a watchman there. The whole house just feels too big, although for European standards, it certainly is not luxurious, but I feel much more comfortable in the environment here, where my co-workers live in at least similar houses as I do.

my home in Rhino Camp

my home in Rhino Camp

The first week the other volunteers (22 for Uganda) and me stayed in Kampala for our preparation and some touristic activities (e.g. we visited the tombs of the late Bugandan kings). It was really nice to spend some time together, compare expectations and experiences. It was especially nice to meet everyone’s supervisors at the end and get an idea of each others´ placements.
So, early on Saturday morning, we headed to our different corners of Uganda, namely Gulu, Mbale, Jinja, Arua, Kampala and Fort Portal.
The bus ride was certainly something different. On our way “up-country”, we drove through the changing landscape of Uganda, passed the Equator, the Nile and what can only be called the bush. Every time the bus halted, numerous street vendors tried to sell all kinds of food and souvenirs to the travellers. “Chapati, Chapati”…
The following days we spent getting to know Arua, a mid-sized town with bicycles dominating the picture in town just like motorbikes did in Kampala. “Boda, mundu?” bike taxi drivers shout everywhere to catch the attention of their white customers.

Richard, me, Lars and Michael in Arua

Richard, me, Lars and Michael in Arua

Michael, our mentor, showed us around town and around the ded/ADI offices, where Lars and Richard will work. I felt a little out of place since I still couldn’t get settled and unpacked – it took till Thursday before we had visited the local officials and got the okay to head to Rhino Camp, 70 km East of Arua.

The first weekend was quite slow here, far away from everything, or so it seems. My colleagues are really nice and welcoming, though. You can really see that Ramona and Thomas, my predecessors, have a place in their hearts. I can only hope that I will find my place here, too. The local language, Lugbara, is still a big challenge, though I hope to understand more as I go.
I am looking forward to my first working week. How it is to do logistics Ugandan-style? I am anxious to know…


1 Comment so far
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Thanks for your vivid report and the pictures. I’m the mother of Lars Peter and I’m looking forward to hear/see from you in the near future. I wish all of you all the best! Augusta

Comment by Augusta Albrecht

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