A – Diary #1

24th July 2012
First look

Unbelievably, in so many ways, I’ve arrived in my new home for the next 3 months. Iganga. They’ll be many more missives from OMIK but this is where it begins.
Uganda is clearly an amazing place, packed with as many strange things as our man could have imagined. It’s a dirty, dusty, untidy and unkempt, noisy place. Huge potential, needs a leg-up before it’s exploited by the powers.
I’ve met lots of people now, even after 24 hours, all beautiful, joyful and smiling. The MTCEA office could do with a lick of paint but suffices. Looks like I’ll be doing some computer training, locals trying to learn some basics. Formal education is really poor and limited so this project is doing a little to help a few, which is all it can do.
My guest quarters, known now as the”west wing” is clean, basic and ok. Running water would have helped, I must say. I have just a toilet and a large bucket of cold water to flush with and to wash in. Oh, and a plastic washing up bowl to assist with both. I may have to invent a shower system with, I think, a watering can…
I have a maid, a lovely young lady called Shami. A MAID, for goodness sake!

She’s one of many people I’ve already met who have hiv/aids stories. Her dad died 3 years ago and now she’s working away from her family to try and support them. Peter, who’s the project director, and his wife look after 13 children, only 2 of then their own, the others inherited from parentless homes.
I have so much to learn, and I’m going to love it, because of and despite the rough conditions. It is rough, but I feel safe and very welcome. My hosts made me a “banquet” last night and peter, when he realized from my many questions about local breweries that I may have a passing interest in that direction, went and bought a selection, which we shared before I dozed off.
This week is a familiarization week, meeting and greeting the MTCEA team (it’s like a big family) and local and district officials. I’m quite a celebrity in fact: peter got a call this morning from a farmer wanting to know when the guest is coming to introduce the new micro-finance scheme to his village. No pressure.
All fOr now! Looking for a Push bike to buy….

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