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The Bakiga Window: The Road is Long

Sunset over Johnstone Road in Kabale, Uganda.
A dear Ugandan friend, Peter, seemingly manages his life by adding the word ‘project’ after whatever it is that needs doing. During our visit to Uganda this years there has been the ‘Lunch Project’, ‘Bus Project’ and ‘Football Match Project’ to name but a few. It is easy to see our time in Uganda as a pyramid of projects of many different levels of importance, or, like the Johnstone Road, a never ending hill to be surmounted.

It is Wednesday 20th April, the sun is setting behind the distant hills and I am wandering back up Johnstone Road towards the hotel for the last time. For 2011, the projects are coming to a close.

With the regular organiser and manager absent this year whilst she gets married, I’ve found myself in charge of running the show. In doing so I have an even better insight, and perhaps appreciation, of what really goes on behind the scenes – every day meeting somebody else, shaking hands, making speeches and every evening, after everyone else has gone to bed, sitting up until midnight accounting for the day’s expenditure.

I like to write. I was never good with numbers.

Our successes for the year have been many. In addition to old friends, many new acquaintances have been made. We’ve been able to work with new projects such as the Blessed Academy Primary School and build on existing projects like the one with Kigezi High School and Wise Parents Nursery.

Additionally, making a formal connection with Taufiq Islamic Primary School ahead of next year’s visit is something of a great personal achievement. I know a few members of Kabale’s Muslim community already and so being able to work with them in developing their educational provision is a great privilege.

With this bringing to a close my third visit to Uganda, conclusions are becoming increasingly more difficult to arrive at. The process of planning, visiting and evaluating has become eternal – running on a continuous loop – meaning that by the time I have finished writing up one visit on my blog, the next visit has come around already.

There was once a time that I was Tomás, a guy who visited Uganda a couple of times, now it seems that I somehow a part of Uganda and Uganda a part of me. It appears to be impossible for any news of Uganda, or programmes on TV about Uganda, to pass my friends and family by without them contacting me to let me know.

I presume that they know now that it is a country that I love, home to many close friends and that will forever be a part of me.

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