Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What I wrote on my first night in Uganda

I'm lying on my bed, under a full blown mosquito net with the fan blowing sweet, cool air around the room. It is 12.17 in the morning and I am having a very real, but very surreal moment all in one.

I am in Africa.

The flight was massive, we had a 12 hour layover in Amsterdam which was amazing, and now, around 32 hours after I left home, I am in a place so foreign, so opposite, but yet feels so comfortable.

All of my western worldliness has already been challenged and I have only been in the country for a few hours. After getting through airport security with minimal hassle, we were met by 3 Watoto workers, one who was cuddling a sweet, tiny baby named John-Mark. This little guy already has quite the story to tell, left nameless and abandoned at a hospital at a very small and premature weight of 1.2kg, he was rescued by Watoto and driven back to the main city of Kampala on a 5 hour journey. While on the journey back, the car broke down and it was hours before they could get it fixed, fighting for his life and meant to be in an incubator, John-Mark pulled through and now is doing really well at Bulrushes baby home in Kampala.

Talk about being smacked right in the face about the reality of living life here in Uganda from the outset of this trip.

Once the boys got all our gift bearing suitcases and boxes in the van, we opened the door and my immediate reaction was ‘Where’s the baby seat?’ to which, ‘we’re in Africa now!’ was the answer. Reality check number two and we hadn’t even left the car park. So I jumped in and pretended to be ok about this little guy not having a car seat, and soon forgot about all the western-ness of my thinking as we took the hour long journey back into Kampala.

As we were driving and listening and taking in all the sights and smells of Uganda, streets were buzzing with activity and people, lined with little shacks selling everything that you can think of. Street vendors and restaurants that we would not even consider for a moment to eat at, had people buzzing around them. Shacks that sold all things wooden, where beds and shelves were literally stacked on top of one another on the side of the road, refrigerators as well, lined the streets.

So this is my first impressions of Africa, have already challenged my way of thinking and living and struck me to my very core, I am preparing to be royally messed up.

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