Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Uganda Diaries: The skies above Libya - 13.53 15/04/2009

Immediately after finishing my breakfast (a meal from the first class area of the plane consisting of steak, mushrooms, grilled tomato and scrambled egg) I decended into a deep sleep watching Russell Crowe in Master and Commander: Far Side of the World. It was the sleep I would have enjoyed last night!

Slightly re-energised, I have been reading Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith and listening to an Ethiopian dub collective called Dub Collosus and their album In a Town Called Addis.

I have an aisle seat this time and I'm already feeling the benefits - my backside isn't numb. I have Fran sat to my direct left, with Grigorios to her left. Fran has just fallen asleep and is twitching like there's no tomorrow. This twitching seems to alternate between punching me and stroking her arm in an awkward manner against my back - both a tad unpleasant.

My watch is still set to Ugandan time and the time it reads - around four minutes past two in the afternoon - turns my mind towards the Kigezi students and staff for whom the working week is in full swing. They would have started back yesterday, but so distracted was I with the day's travels and the nights trivialities, that I hadn't stopped to think of them.

The likes of Ruth, Sam Smilz, Charlotte, Grace and Penninah will have all been back at work. Teaching in searing heat, or in warm tropical downpours, or sitting in plain cool classrooms waiting for lessons to begin.

It still hasn't escaped my mind that upon my arrival back in the UK - in around three and a half hours - I need to email/text the aforementioned people to announce my safe arrival. Such an action, I believe, is a necessary part of creating a sense of sustainability in the Partnership with both staff and students.

In addition to this I still have the journey home from Heathrow to Wimbledon - how jealous am I of Stefan and Karina for being able to stay for two weeks longer than the rest of the William Morris collective? How jealous am I of Grigorios for being able to afford to come back in August for an entire month?

There is also a new housemate waiting at H--- Drive for me to meet and greet - I am not really in the mood for it to be fair. Right now I only really want to see Jeannie and to relax in a decent double bed - it seems like the only compensation for not being back in the red dirt of Kabale, eating matoki and ground nut sauce.

[Here the Diary Ends]

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Uganda Diaries: Entebbe International Airport, Entebbe - 06.56 15/04/2009

As is a common theme in these later diary entries - I feel exhausted! There was very little sleep to be had last evening after the same boy that had been calling me 'Lucifer' earlier in the evening decided to come into our dorm room as we slept.

I woke up to the sound of Nick S and Greg talking to him and saw before me a naked arse. The man, still obviously high or drunk or whatever he was, had appeared and was talking about how he had been "burned" and needed morphine.

After the earlier incident, Nick DS suggested I keep a low profile, so I did just that by hiding as far back in the recess of my bottom bunk I could! Just another strange incident at a hostel.

It leaves me reflecting on how much nicer the provincial towns are, despite the fact that foreigners are even more in the minority down there. Entebbe just isn't Kabale.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Uganda Diaries: Entebbe Backpackers' Hostel, Entebbe - 21.45 14/04/2009

I have just returned to my room having made the ill-fated decision to join the drinkers' and smokers' table outside. Amongst the people at this table was a young Ugandan - an Entebbe local.

With no reason at all this guy took an instant dislike to me after I had been joking around with Frasier.

He persisted to hail me with insults including, "I really hate this guy Tom" and "Tom is as bad as Lucifer." Greg fought my corner well, but due to my tired state and rapidly diminishing temperament I took the decision to leave the table to avoid the possibility of a problem.

The incident has narked me, but Greg insists that he was mentally ill - so why is he smoking drugs and then drinking? Anyway, Greg reported him and it transpires that he is the owner's son and that he has also written me a letter saying "f--- off!" How rude.

Note: This entry is written as it appears in my diary fresh in the moment. Upon reflection I have forgiven the boy. He later caused a royal ruckus when he appeared naked in the teachers' dorm at 4am. Far from being angry, it perhaps highlights the lack of provision for people in need of specialist psychiatric care in Uganda and the general opinion that they are to be hidden away.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Uganda Diaries: Entebbe Backpackers' Hostel, Entebbe - 20.40 14/04/2009

Having been fed and watered - a dinner of beef stew and chips (not what I had ordered) - I am sitting watching TV. Amazingly it only took the kitchen around an hour and a half to feed everyone tonight.

As I sit here I am reflecting on the fact that this hostel, Entebbe, and Kampala as a whole perhaps, are not the real Uganda. I feel like I have been into the real heart of this country and it does not look or feel like this.

Here people seem edgy and look at you in a different way; something indescribable. In Kabale people stare, indeed many shout "mzungu", but it is all done with a great deal of warmth. It is evident that I am missing Kabale already. I cannot wait to get back.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Uganda Diaries: Entebbe Backpackers' Hostel, Entebbe - 19.06 14/04/2009

After a journey that seemed to be well up there in the top ten most uncomfortable journeys, I am back in Entebbe and washed and feeling slightly fresher than before.

The journey was perhaps made more uncomfortable by the cloudless sky exposing the full wrath of the sun.

Thankfully, due to some last minute hand-washing using a bar of Jamaican washing soap, I was able to just step out of the shower and into pristine (relatively speaking) clothes. The sun, plus Abbas' bus, allowed for them to dry in double-quick time.

As I sit writing this, I feel exhausted, albeit not as emotionally tired as I was yesterday. I have Cassie sat to my right who, despite saying otherwise, looks physically exhausted too.

The Uganda Diaries: Main Street, Mbarara - 11.14 14/04/2009

Just taking a brief stop in Mbarara for a leg-stretch and snacks. A few days ago this was just a stopping point on the way to Kabale, but now I can say that I know someone from this town; Charlotte.

I'm still a little upset that I didn't get to say goodbye, but I have resolved to email her as soon as possible in the UK.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Uganda Diaries: Room 7, Green Hills Hotel, Kabale - 22.52 13/04/2009

Have just got back from the Little Ritz having said a few final goodbyes to Penninah and some other staff members. Just before my dinner of steak Lyonnais and chips, I was presented with a wooden carving of three men in a dugout boat; one of the nicer gifts to be given out!

So now I will make my final phone call to Jeannie from Kabale - she leaves for Saint Lucia at some point in the morning. Tomorrow we leave town at 8am. I am so tired.
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