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Reisblog  CLV 2015

10-10-2015

Departure (Ttula, 10 October 2015)

Early in the morning we all realized that this was the day! This is the start of an amazing experience in Uganda. 8:30 am, we gathered at the airport, where we said goodbye to our family. After the regular process of getting on the plain, we get to our first little problem. During the control of the border office, the lady behind the desk said: “You need permission of your parents for going to Uganda.” So there came 'daddy' Cees and so we became 'his children'. The rest of the process went well and by twelve we all sat in the plain. It was a good flight, just a bit of turbulence and a delay of thirty minutes. Eventually we arrived around four o'clock in the morning. After traveling for sixteen hours, we arrived at Entebbe airport. But we were not finished, from there we had to go to Bulenga at Martin Mpanga's house. We had to get into a bus where all of the suitcases laid on the last seats in the bus. With twenty-five people we filled the bus. At first we were amazed how we can fit in it because we saw fifteen seats, but very soon we saw how it was solved. Next to every chair there was a seat hidden. With a few moves they created five new seats. After a short ride we arrived at Martin Mpanga's house. They were very nice and lovely persons and after a cup of tea we went to bed for four hours.

 

11-10-2015

Watoto church (Ttula, 11 October 2015)

“Amazing grace. How sweet the sound. Was blind but now I see”. Today opened ours eyes, literally and figuratively. Literally because we finally , after months of dreaming about it, we saw Uganda by daylight. Figuratively because we had to think like the people of Uganda.

After a brief night, of four hours, we had a brunch at Martin Mpanga's house. The cook had made us a wonderful meal and after that the Ttula group had to pack their bags. This time we fitted better in the bus, because we had an extra row of seats in the back. We went with the whole group to Watoto church. When we arrived the music lead us the way to the church. An amazing group of singers started the service. One of the songs was Amazing Grace and everybody was moved by the lyrics of this song. Most of the service was leaded by the minister, he talked for an hour and a half. Eventually the service was ended by another impressive song and for us it was time to leave to Ttula. On our way to Happy Times, the school of Peter Wagabe, we drove through a few slums. There we really realized that we were in a totally different world. People walking on the street, barefoot and children, which you normally see on the television, sitting in front of their houses. Houses they're content with, but for us unbelievable. After a few miles on the road with a lot of bumps and streams across, we arrived at Happy Times. Right away we saw Happy Times has a wall in front of the school, which is something new comparing to two years ago. When the gate opened, immediately the kids who stayed at the school, ran towards us and shook our hands. We were welcomed by Peter and he showed us his house, where we will stay for a week. After an hour we said goodbye to the other half of the group and then it began. First we had to install ourselves and for some the first challenge started right away: the mosquito net. They had to be hang up at the top of the house, quite difficult without any material to hang it up with. But we did it, good job Tim and Jeroen B. who had never seen one before! At six o'clock the cook had prepared a wonderful meal for us which contained rice, pasta, vegetables and a few sauces . After we completed dinner, the next challenge waited for us: using the bathroom. To give you a slight idea of how it goes: you first get the feeling like you live on a campsite, because you walk to the bathroom with toilet paper under your arm. When you come closer you smell the toilets and when you are expecting you can sit, you are wrong. It's more a squad exercise because of course there is not an actually toilet, like we used to. Your 'toilet' is a hole in the ground. But when you passed that border, you accept it like the way it is. At seven o'clock we had a short briefing and we talked about the program of the following day. This was the last thing we had to do before we had to go to bed. Unlike what we do at home before we go to sleep (like watching NetFlix for Tim and Denise, watching television or read a book), here we went to sleep directly. Well it was quite difficult for Jeroen T. to use his sleeping bag. And when we allmost fell asleep, Cees managed it to make a phonecall with Wouter and spoke with a very very loud voice, resulting everyone was awake again.

For now sulabulugi (Goodnight)!

 

12-10-2015

Oeganda maandag 12 oktober

Dag 2 groep Jjaja Bbanga

De dag begon vandaag met veel geluid. Blijkbaar wordt er in Uganda van alles omgeroepen vanaf 5 uur ’s ochtends. Na een heerlijke koude douche was het tijd voor een geweldig ontbijt met omelet!

Na alles ingepakt te hebben, wat bij sommige mensen niet zo soepel ging als bij anderen, gingen we op weg naar Masaka. Onderweg kwamen langs een hele speciale ervaring, eentje die niet te evenaren is: De Evenaar. Hier hebben we even naar gekeken en de nodige foto’s gemaakt en ook nog een natuurkundig experiment. Het water stroomt aan de verschillende kanten van de evenaar in tegenovergestelde richtingen. Hierna konden we nog even genieten van vers fruit en wat te drinken.

Vervolgens reden we door naar Vincent en mama Peter. Hier hebben we geluncht, waarbij we er weer even heel goed achter kwamen hoe het werkt in Uganda. Na het fruit moesten we na 30 minuten toch echt wel even vragen of er nog brood en andere dingen waren. Gelukkig was er genoeg brood en ook nog vlees en konden we gevuld verder naar de middelbare school. We hadden ons enorm goed voorbereid op een project dat één van de werknemers wil gaan opzetten. Helaas werd hier wat minder aandacht aan besteed…

Nadat we daar aangekomen waren werden we bijna meteen voor een gevuld lokaal gezet en moesten we zonder voorbereiding maar even ons verhaal vertellen. Met horten en stoten kwam dit er uiteindelijk uit en daarop volgde een leerzaam gesprek met de leerlingen. Vervolgens kregen we een rondleiding en daarna was het eindelijk tijd voor onze vragen over het project. Ook is er een volleybal meegebracht om lekker te kunnen sporten met de jongeren. Na een informatief gesprek was het tijd voor een afscheidsceremonie, en met tijd voor bedoelen we natuurlijk dat we nog een half uur moesten wachten. Na een hele leuke ceremonie vol Oegandese zang en dans mochten we eindelijk terug naar het huis van Vincent. Hier konden we genieten van weer een heerlijke maaltijd en een bespreking van de dag. De conclusie was dat we enorm hebben genoten van de dag en dat we echt een hechte groep zijn geworden. Dus hebben we de dag afgesloten met een gezellig drankje en wat pinda’s.

12-10-2015

We are happy to receive you, welcome. (Ttula, 12 October 2015)

We woke up by the noise of the children who came to school, so we knew it was time to get up. Even though it was a bit early, we sat in front of the house of Peter Wagabe to start our breakfast. We discussed the program for today and we had half an hour before the program started. First we were welcomed by the whole school, who were all stuffed into one small classroom. In front of the classroom they put two benches for us. They started with a beautiful song sang by the youngest ones of the school. We now realized what they were shouting in the morning: 'We are happy to receive you, welcome'. When the teachers thought the students were too loud, they shouted: 'We are in...' and then the kids shouted back: 'Class', 'So we are?' 'QUIET!' Maybe it is also useful in the Netherlands. We were also welcomed by the middle class and the P7 (group 8 in the Netherlands), they all sang beautiful songs for us and we felt very special. Then the teachers introduced themselves but actually we still don't know their names or professions, because they weren't speaking very clear or loud. But it was nice to meet them. After the welcome, we had two hours for preparing for the rest of the day. So what did we do, all of the girls (except Denise) went showering together. For your imagination: the space is three square meters, we had two jerry cans filled with cold rainwater and this all with six girls at the same time. At the same time Denise and Prime Rose had to prepare an example for the buddy-presentations. The meaning of the presentation was that the buddy presents your life and vice versa.

In the noon we had to present one another. It was an amazing time to meet the buddy's and got to know each other. We had half an hour to prepare it. At three o'clock it all began and Dilay and Deborah started the presentations with their buddy's: Allen, Promise, Dianah. The following presentation was led by Jette, Trix and Jeroen T. with their buddy's named Milca, Nantune, Joash, Muyingo. The third presentation was done by Tim and Lonneke and their buddy's Lavinia, Nullet and Jackson. Last but not least: Jeroen B. and Sandra with Umar, Cissy and Sumayah. It was good that they were the last ones to present, because when Umar started talking about Sandra, he never stopped... We know now all ins and outs about Sandra's life. While we were presenting each other, it started to rain and we had to talk very loud. For us very easy, but for them it was really hard. After the presentations we showed them the movie, which was made by the group who went during the summer, it was very nice to see the faces of the children when they saw themselves.

In the afternoon, it was a bit unsure if we could do the tour, because it just had rain cats and dogs. But luckily for some of us (some stayed at Happy Times to relax) it was dry enough to go on a trip around the neighbourhood. Cees' plan was to go for half an hour max. but during the trip the guide surprised us with a visit to another school: Apex nursery and primary school. The headmaster took us to his office and there we had to sign his guest book, which almost fell apart. It took a bit longer than we expected... The tour of half an hour became a tour of two hours. When we came back the people who stayed behind, teased us they had some chocolate chip cookies. They ate them all! It already was half past six, so that meant dinnertime. It was very delicious made by Peter's cook. After the meal we had a little presentation from the Jeroens, which one of them was not expecting: Jeroen T. stood with a toothbrush in his hand for the whole presentation. One of the assistant leader was gone to make a phone call to the embassy and when Cees wanted to her to be with the group, so he called her by 'Debje'. After the meeting it was time for us to go to bed again. While the girls were already sleeping, Tim made a lot of jokes which causes Denise's bed to shake. You can read his jokes below. Tuulabagane enycha (See you tomorrow)!

Quotes of the day

BeautyCEES – by Tim

oCEES – by Jette

CEES closed – by Tim

TeaTRIX – by Tim

You have a head and you have a tail, and eventually it is a dog. - by Cees

Ik lig nog niet in mijn bedmen – by Tim

 

13-10-2015

BodaBoda (Ttula, 13 October 2015)

The program for today was to visit three kinds of social entrepreneurship’s. Our first experience of the day, after breakfast, was a bodaboda ride. A bodaboda is a kind of scooter where you sit on with more than three people. Here in Uganda it's a kind of taxi. Before Happy Times there were waiting six bodaboda's. On every bodaboda were sitting two of us with a driver. We had a ride for five minutes which gave us an enormous rush. You have to know that the roads here aren't the same as in Holland, they are bumpy and everywhere there were streams of mud which we had to avoid. We heard a lot of things like this: Oh my God, is this save? Does this man have a driver licence? I'm going to die! And Tim said: Remember my name, Trix! After we survived this, we arrived at the garage of Matthias. The garage of Matthias wasn't like a garage we used to know, it was more like a set of Grease. The cars were everywhere and surrounded by a group of man who did all the same thing. This garage is a kind of school to educate boys from the street, so they get a certificate and have some kind of future. We walked around, asked them some questions about their job, payments, food and their homes. While we were there the boys wanted to take pictures of all the girls. We went back to Happy Times with the boda boda again. Half way the ride the group was divided in two groups. Both groups took a different route to Happy Times, with the result that Deborah and Denise were alone with the driver. Immediately they started discussing how they would defend themselves if the driver would kidnap them. Because Deborah is the tallest one she would take his head and Denise would take the bottom. In the afternoon we went to two other social entrepreneurship's in the neighbourhood: Rose's tailor shop and Peter's welding shop. When we wanted to go to Rose's it started to rain really hard, but we had to go anyway. So we were soaked. When we arrived at Rose's, first we saw a beautiful (western) house where she teaches little girls how to sue. We waited in the living room and then she came in with her sewing machine, a really big and dangerous machine. After we saw a short demonstration we talked to her about her plans for the future and then we left. Right away we went to Peter's and we Jeroen B. and Cees talked a lot with him. The rest of us were held up by Martin Mpanga's wife Flavia and we talked about the differences between Holland and Uganda (because she went a few times to Holland). After this we went back to Happy Times and we talked about all the projects with a sack of drop. This sack was done in less than five minutes. Four students went out for a walk and bumped into Paul, who of course came for dinner because it was around six o'clock. Every dinner was led by Lonneke, she is very efficient at it. This is how she does it: on the table there was standing a pile of plates and the pots and pans with food. She 'throws' everyone a plate and then she starts to plate up: 'Who wants potatoes? Yes, No?! Oké *flots* dinner was on the plate. It became a joke between us and we planned out her future, or she will become a housewife or she'll work at prison or at a boarding school. As usual the evening ended with an evaluation of the day and the program for the next day. But before we went sleeping, something incredible happened: we saw a gekko hunting. It was the best entertainment we could ever wish for. Bela musanyufu (Don't worry, be happy)

 

 

Quotes of the day.

Het is alleen klam onder de klamboe – By Jeroen T.

Happy TIMS - by Jeroen T

It’s always the CEES – by Jeroen B.

Let’s make a paranoia (panorama) - by Lonneke

It’s another CEES – by Paul

Die Gekko is wit, dus het is een kameleon – by Lonneke

Let’s organize a Buurtbbq – by Sandra

 

 

14-10-2015

Dreaming of... (Ttula, 14 October 2015)

Today we had a very special breakfast: eggs and no Cees. Cees went to the Jjaja Banga group and we didn't see him the whole day. Everyone was enjoying the breakfast because it was a luxury for us. After breakfast we had to do a few things: painting a wall, making food packages for our buddies and we had to organize a sports-day. Peter Wagabe had to get our stuff (paint and food) but this is Uganda, so it took a while. Eventually all our products arrived and the day could begin. Tim and Trix started to paint the wall in the burning sun, so Tim became a lobster. While Tim and Trix were painting, the rest of us started to make the food packages. We put all the bags of food in a row and so were we. One of us held the plastic bag, another one filled it and the third one knotted the bags. When we had a whole pile of stuffed bags, we divided all bags to equal amounts which we could give to our buddies. Before the lunch we went with our buddies to drop off the food packages at their houses. It was an amazing experience, because some families were very emotional and of course grateful for this extra food. For some it became an awkward situation, because they were asked to bring their buddy to Holland. But overall it was very impressive to do this work. When we got back we sat down for lunch and meanwhile we learned some Ugandan words from Prime Rose. We didn't know how to write it, but phonetically you say: {Olyotja}which means how are you, {Boeloenjie} means good,{Gyebaleko} means hello and {Eliana djange} means my name is. After the lunch we played with the children of Happy Times and they are in love with the cameras. We were covered with children. All were jumping and shouting around us. They wanted to hold your hand all the time, especially the little ones. To provide this you can cross your arms in front of you, so they won't be able to reach it (idea of Tim). But after fifteen minutes the sky became darker and darker and of course it started to rain. So we had to postpone the sports-day. While we were waiting the grandson of Peter Wagabe, who's very shy, came to play football with Denise. When the rain stopped, we could start preparing all the sports. By three o'clock all the children were brought to the field behind the school to participate. Because Peter's men were still fixing the poles for the volleyball net, Dilay, Lonneke, Trix, Jette and Sandra started a warming-up with the children. All the children were very energetic and did a good job. After a couple minutes we were able to start the games. We divided the children in groups of thirty, one group started with soccer, the other group with volleyball and the last one with 'lummelen'. Because they were so excited it was hard to make them listen. After all it was a great sports-day, the children enjoyed it, the teachers participated and we were also content with the result. We were still by ourselves, but we got of course company of Paul with dinner. We had some great conversations and before we knew we heard a very recognizable laugh in front of the gate: Cees is back! We got an update about the Jjaja Banga group. The rest of the evening we fantasized about Bbrood (a dutch baker in Uganda, who probably have 'krentenbollen' and cheese). This evening we went to bed a bit later, but we had very nice dreams of Bbrood (Jette).

 

Quote of the day:

Ben je nou helemaal van de pot gerukt (waar ze geen pot hebben) – by Cees

15-10-2015

Happy birthday (Ttula, 15 October 2015)

Today it's the 15th of October and that means: Jeroen T.'s birthday. So Tim woke us all up to wake Jeroen up with a birthday song. He felt directly seventeen. With breakfast another surprise came along: Cees ordered a birthday cake for the birthday boy! Because we just ate, we waited with the cake till eleven o'clock. Meanwhile we did some final last things: the last food packages were brought to the buddies. Because they live further away, we went (again) by bodaboda. Of course also these families were grateful with this extra food. While some of us were doing this, another group finished the painting at the back of the school. When everyone was back, we ate half of the cake, which was pretty good for Ugandan standard. We decided to give the other half of the cake to our buddies, but only if they would sing a happy birthday song to Jeroen. It was hilarious to watch it, because Jeroen was a bit uncomfortable and the children were ecstatic. They were so happy with this cake, they almost attacked it and ran away with it. Time flies and it was time to go to Bbrood. Everyone was looking forward to Bbrood for the whole week. It was everything we expected and even better. It was nice to have a lunch with different kind of bread and something on it and of course something else to drink! After almost two hours, we had to go to the embassy. Of course 'Debje' had to arrange it all over there, because she was the secretary of Cees. We all had to go through security and then it was time to go upstairs. At the fourth floor we were at the Dutch embassy. Everyone was hoping for some wifi, which sadly didn't work out, so we watched Sesame street. Not long after we were taken to the room where we should meet the ambassador. The man was sixty-four and had seen almost every place of the world. He started with the question: “Does anyone have a question?” Of course we had. Jeroen B. kicked of. He asked the ambassador what was really his job. The ambassador started talking about his job. He talked for two hours and we gained a lot of extra knowledge about Uganda and every country around it and about himself. It was a really interesting meeting and we think the Jjaja Banga group missed a lot.

After the meeting we went back 'home' and we had our dinner. During dinner someone asked Cees why we were picked for this amazing project, so he told every single one of us why. It went well for half of the talk, but then it hit everyone. And there we were, sitting with a lot of tears in our eyes waiting for the first one who dared to show it. Because it is such a close group, very soon everyone was crying and it was an emotional evening. Five of the seven girls went to bed and the rest stayed outside for a last bedtime talk. But one thing was missing: the entertainment. The gecko.

 

Quote of the day:

De gekko is er niet, dat is gek! - By Jeroen T

15-10-2015

Blog 15 oktober, Jjaja Bbanga

In the morning we woke up quite nice, because we are at a place where we’ll be for three more days. This is the first time in our journey we’re staying somewhere for more than one day. At eight o’clock we had an extraordinary breakfeast: Dutch breakfast! We ate bread with “Schuddebuikjes, pindakaas, hagelslag en Duo Penotti. And to make it even better we got an omelet. After this filling breakfast we could give it our best today. At 9.30 the boda boda’s came to take us to some small villages in the neighbourhood. Boda boda’s are comparable to motorcycles. You see them everywhere in Uganda, especially in the cities. In the villages we talked to a lot of families, most of the time we would talk to a woman because the children were out playing or at school and the husband has passed or not at home. So a lot of those woman have to do everything on their own. From cooking to farming and taking care of the children. It depends on the season whether they can feed their kids well. A lot of woman take care of their grandchildren as well. This is because they are orphans, in Uganda the term ‘orphan’ is also used for children when one parent left. During these talks, we were doing research for our projects. This includes finding out what the main problems are at the countryside from Uganda. One woman said her husband was sick and never wanted to do something in or around the house. So we asked why she didn’t left her husband. Her answer was quite shocking, if she ever decides to leave her husband she would have to leave her children behind. In Uganda the man owns the children and everything else on the farm. This is something we could never imagine with our ‘Dutch’ minds, it happens every day in the Netherlands.

Before lunch we had time to fresh ourselves up. For lunch we had traditional Matoke, watermelon, kasave and an advocadosalad. When we were done we decided to evaluate all the talks we’ve had, it took a long time cause we all experienced so much. Every story was special and deserved some time to be mentioned.

Then it was time to start with our projects. One group started with the subject irrigation and the other with education. On both reports everybody got a little irritated due to fatigue. But for a good report you need to discuss a lot. And because of that everybody got annoyed, but five minutes later everything is all right again. We have an amazing group and because of that a little irritation doesn’t bother anyone, it makes us stronger.

After all the reports we had some time for ourselves before we were going to have dinner, some people could use a bit rest after an active day but other sat down and played the game ‘did you knew’ that was a blast. For dinner our cook did, as always, his very best. The rice was nice and the beef goulash was amazing.

To end another amazing, successful day we played games and had a lot of fun!

 

 

16-10-2015

You're most welcome (Ttula, 16 October 2015)

 

When we woke up we all realized that it was one of the last days here in Ttula. And of course it was very early!! Nonetheless, time flied. Tomorrow is the last day and we are half way there. One last day of working very hard before we can relax. After a quick breakfast, with Dutch bread of Bbrood (!!!), we had to go by bus to the Makerere University. After an hour we arrived at a international place. Thousands of students were coming here for college. We were welcomed by the headmaster of the university. It was a warm welcome and of course we had to sign the guestbook. Dr Leon Matagi took over and led us to one of the classrooms to talk about education at the Makerere University. There we introduced ourselves. This was interesting to hear about. After this meeting we got a tour around campus. The campus was really big, so it was impressive to see. But we all had a 'zwichaam' (sweaty body), because it was so hot today. What kind of weather is it in Holland? Cold? So sad for you... After the tour we took off to ones again: Bbrood. This day was fast food day!! We all ordered some pizza, french fries, chicken, milkshakes, soda's and some fresh juices. It was so delicious! When we were filled with amazing food, we went to the Micro finance Support Centre. This is part of the government which support the Ugandan people with loans to build their own business. These people know a lot and thought us a great deal about the loan system of Uganda.

This was the end of a very busy day. We went back with the repaired bus of Martin Mpanga. We drove towards Ttula and when we left the main road, we had bad roads again. But to make it a little better, half way we spotted some kids who just left school and they were running next to the bus all. The roads were slippery because it had rained, and it caused that one kid was sliding on the grass. He was very stubborn and followed us all the way to Happy Times. We came to Happy Times just in time. Dinner was prepared for today while they were slithering the throats of the chickens for tomorrow. Four chickens were brought to the side of the compound and one man killed the chicken. It was very awkward to see the chicken was still moving while headless, so another man held them into a bucket until it was done.

Before dinner was served, we decided to practice our entertainment for the speechday. We are going to sing the cup-song, by Anna Kendrick (from the movie 'Pitch Perfect'). Jette, Tim and Trix are going 'to play' the cups and the rest of us is singing. We learned Cees is an expert on this: we had to sing half a octave higher. Eventually it sounded quite good. Fingers crossed.

Quote of the day:

Wil je op mijn tas letten Jette? En niet mijn spullen JETTE – by Tim

 

 

17-10-2015

Children of Africa (Ttula, 17 October 2015)

Today was a special day for the children of Happy Times. It was the day they’ve been practicing for for three months. They called it the ‘Speechday’. Finally we knew why they were singing “we are happy to receive you”. We thought it was especially written for us (on Monday), but unfortunately it wasn’t. After breakfast Peter came to get us for the tour around the community with all the kids, led by a band! The music guided us the way. Unfortunately it had been raining the whole morning, so the roads were very muddy. Each of us was holding hands with at least two children. Like this we walked for almost two hours around the neighbourhood. Exhausted and sweaty (the children were compared to us energetic and happy) we arrived back at Happy Times. We should had a break for two hours, but after one hour Peter already came to get us again for starting Speechday with a prayer. The minister talked in the Ugandan language, so we didn’t quite understand it but we recognized the word “Amen”. The next two hours we can be short about: we were suspected to sit and listen and smile and clap and wave. Meanwhile the children were performing, the sang, danced, and more singing. During this performance the parents were expected to give them money and/or sweets for their good job! Mothers with the most beautiful cloths were blocking our sight, gave money and also started dancing on stage. When the performance ended we heard a big applause, which came from the big stereo next to us.

This activity was interrupted for lunch, we ate apart because the community got free food for Speechday. It was really nice, because we got chicken (which was slaughtered yesterday, nice touch)!! After lunch the day went on and we saw again a lot of performances. In the afternoon we saw a couple of interesting ones. One performance was called ‘the circumcision dance’: a typical Ugandan dance. If this was done in the Netherlands we would have got a lot of angry messages from parents. Another performance which was interesting was the last dance: the children of Africa. This dance showed Ugandan history, the kids were painted and wore traditional cloths. At the end Cees got a special role at this day, he was giving the kids from ‘top class’ their certificate. And he had to go on a picture with all the children apart. Of course we also had to do something this day, so we did the cup song. This was the end of the day which ended two hours later than planned. Because it was the last day we had to say goodbye to the buddies. For some really emotional because they realized that the probably won’t see us again. After this goodbye we had to pack our bags, because the Jjaja Banga group would pick us up early in the morning for safari.

By the way, one last thing. Something very bad happened to Jeroen B. When he went to the toilet, he was so clever to let the whole (new!!) roll fell in the hole... Well done.

{Wellabe} Goodbye

 

 

18-10-2015

The Banda (Masindi, 18 October 2015)

Early in the morning the Jjaja Banga Group picked us up in Ttula. At first it was a bit awkward and weird, because we both had such different experiences from the first week. After a short while it was like it used to be before: nice and noisy. It lasted for the whole ride and during it a lot of stories were shared. At noon we were at the park where we should look for rhino’s. We went with our own bus to search for them with two rangers. Half way we had to step out and went by foot to find the rhino’s. After ten minutes we already found them: 3 rhino’s!! We had to look around the bushes and there they were standing before others bushes. We had to be very quiet, because if we didn’t, if we made noise, they would attack us. Later the rangers told us that the rhino’s first give warnings before they actually attack. The rhino’s walked away and we followed them around between the trees and observed them behind the bushes. Of course we made some beautiful pictures. They were standing ten metres away from us! It was an amazing experience. After this we had a great lunch with chicken and salad. Where we were eating a warthog was walking around and could even be touched, but we didn’t because it is still a wild animal. Each mealtime we start with a prayer, so it wasn’t any different know. When Cees said the prays, suddenly we heard a sound: Paul’s phone wasn’t turned off. It shouldn’t be that big a deal, but his ringtone was the music from the Lion King. Very suitable for this occasion. Anyway, with a full stomach we hit the road for our accommodation for the night. It was close by the entrance of the safari park. We slept in Banda’s, which are cute, little, round houses with a rieten (we didn’t know the English word) roof. All the girls slept together in one Banda. After the arrival we had some time to relax (take a shower, playing ‘klootzakken’) and of course dinner. We all sat in one Banda which was light up by a flashlight on each table. Sarah should do the prayer this time. When everybody was silent, Sarah was also silent. But eventually she started: “Smakelijk eten, smakelijk eten” and everybody sang along! Most fun prayer ever!!

After dinner we found a fireplace and we sat there for a while. Paul reminded us of some interesting news, but not everyone enjoyed it and would him rather not told it. We then found out we had to look out for...........: tarantulas!! After this nice news it was time to go to bed, because tomorrow it would be a long day.

 

19-10-2015

Oh what a ride! (Pakwach, 19 October 2015)

Our alarmclock was set at half past six, because we were close by Murchison's Park (safari). We all looked forward to this day, so after breakfast we were very enthusiastic to finally go on safari. The weather cooled down, because it had been raining all night. We got into the bus and the bus started. But luck wasn’t on our side. First we hit the precious wall of the accommodation. Okay, it could happen. Almost nobody noticed this. Then we had to turn on the road, but the road was very, very muddy. The ditch was coming closer and closer. Eventually we all ended in the ditch! The bus was hanging diagonal. Luckily for us there was a wall, but we all were very shaken up. It took an hour and a lot of help from the amazing local people to get the bus on the road again. Finally we were ready to go. Of course nobody was sitting peacefully and with every bump people were screaming. The first hours we drove through the jungle and we saw a lot of monkeys. At noon we arrived at our first stop to eat lunch (we had a great view over the Nile). Because it took a bit longer we waited until our Nile safari began. Meanwhile some girls had to go to the bathroom and when they came back they told us they heard a strange sound: a beep. When Denise also went to the bathroom, she found out what it was: bats! At the same time something else happened. Jeroen T. was (almost) attacked by monkeys who stole bananas from our bus. At two o’clock our boat left. We saw a lot of hippo’s, crocodiles and other animals at the side of the Nile. The tour ended at a waterfall. It was the most amazing view! We stayed at a safe distance, because of the rocks and stream. The way back took less time because we floated along with the stream. At the boat we could but some drinks and we are still amazed by the cheap prices. For 2000 shillings = €0,50, you could get a soda.

The boat dropped us off at the other side of the Nile, where our bus was waiting (the driver went by ferry) and there was the next surprise. At about fifty metres there was a group of elephants standing. So of course we made a lot of photo’s. After this we hopped on the bus to go, through the savannah, to our sleeping accommodation. The nature really looked like the Lion King. Because it was the end of the day we saw a lot of animals: elephants, giraffes, waterbuffalo’s, warthogs, antilopes and even a hyena which is very rare to see. We left the park around seven o’clock and went looking for our accommodation. When we finally found it (it was a bit hard to find in the dark), it was amazing! Even though it was dark and our sight was limited we felt like kings and queens. It was so luxurious and it overwhelmed us. Don’t let me even get started about dinner. The staff told us they had a four course meal. We started with a bruchetta with tomatoes and olives, then we went for French onion soup, followed by a pepper steak with rice and ended it all with chocolate cake with chocolate sauce. We all went nuts! We all ate like animals, with the result that some of us had a bit of a stomach ache. This night we slept two by two in very nice tents along the Nile. So in the morning we woke up with the hippo noise on the background. Could this last forever...

20-10-2015

Circle of life (Pakwach, 20 October 2015)

This morning started early, it was still dark when we went to get breakfast. The reason we stood up so early was for the last day of safari, because at dawn you can see a lot of animals. And we sure did! After breakfast we hit the road towards the park to pick up our guide. He was at a crossing point somewhere so we already made jokes about the fact that if he wasn’t there anymore there would be lions. On our way towards the guide we already saw elephants and water buffalo’s. We picked the guide, named Saviour, up at the crossing point and one of the first things he said, was that the chance of seeing a lion is 50 per cent. Either you see him, or you don’t he said laughing.

Within the first hour Denise already spotted a lion. The guide led us towards the lion by going off road. This wasn’t allowed but it gave us the opportunity to make photos of the lion, with her cubs with a distance of 10 metres! This scene is very rare according to our guide. Afterwards we road to a river but on our way we saw a group of giraffes which led to a lot of photos taken with the animals. The guide immediately said that we were allowed to get out of the bus if we were very quiet, so they weren’t scared by us. After a short pee break between the animals we went on to the hippos. At the river we had a 15 minute stop, to watch the hippo’s and take a group photo with a beautiful scenery.

On our way back we had the amazing opportunity to see a lion, again. This is a very minimal chance, but this wasn’t one lion but this one also had a cub. When we moved further we saw a group of giraffes, running in front of the bus. And if we hadn’t seen enough already we also saw 4 elephants close to the vehicle. Then we dropped of our guide, and went out of the park, but we had just left the park and saw two elephants in about 4 metres from us! This was incredible!

We had to tank for a four hour trip back to Kampala, but at the gas station a lot of Ugandans wanted to sell their products and were gathering around the bus. Then we took off, and saw a beautiful waterfall and a little while later we stopped for lunch. It looked like an idyllic place but very soon we saw some cheeky monkeys and they came piece by piece closer to us because they wanted our bananas. Luckily we had our driver who chased them away, but after a while they got their friends and were surrounding us. It was time to go.

We hit the road again but when we stopped for water he noticed that there was a leak in the oil tank. It wasn’t a small leak because it was pouring out. So we had to stop for an hour and that caused that we were too late for the university. So we went straight to Bulenga to Martin Mpanga’s house, were we will stay for the last two nights. After a nice meal a lot of us went straight to their beds, exhausted by getting up early and the foresight of getting up at 9 am for the first time in about 10 days!

21-10-2015

African time is elastic (Bulenga, 21 October 2015)

This day we had a birthday boy for the second time this project: Tim. We all sang to Tim at breakfast. He got some present and cards for his 18th birthday. Of course he also got surprised with a cake which we all ate. During breakfast there was a change of plans. We would go to the swimming pool, but the weather forecast gave this day a two. Instead of going for a swim, we had a morning to relax and prepare for the visit to the Islamic University (IUIU). In the morning the weather cleared up and some girls sat in the sun, trying to get some colour. After lunch we went to the Islamic University. They welcomed us very warmly. We felt like very important people, because there was a camera filming all of us and a photographer. After all the formality of introducing everyone, the students gave us a tour around the university. First we came into a laboratory, which was quite a shock for some of us. Because in this room there were lying dead people. On this persons the medical students were practicing for surgery or doing an autopsy. We went to another laboratory and there were a lot of bottles filled with blood and other fluencies. During the tour all of us had an exchange of knowledge with these students and we hope we can make a difference in the discussion between religions. After the tour we got some delicious, traditional Ugandan food. Later on we made a group photo and we left. We went to the Java café where we ate some nice Western food, which we all had longed for. It was a quick dinner, because Sarah made reservations at the Ndere group. This was a show filled with traditional dances from all parts of Uganda. The show lasted till ten o'clock, but Ugandan/African time is elastic. At the end of the show we became the main characters on stage, because we were invited to came to dance with the dancers of the show. First Jeroen T. got traditional cloths on him and he shined with the other dancers in the middle. Very soon the other ones followed. It became a great party and instead of going home at ten o'clock we left at eleven thirty. For Tim this was the most amazing birthday party!

 

22-10-2015

The last day (Bulenga, 22 October 2015)

This morning when we woke up we had mixed feelings. We had some amazing two weeks and this was the last day in Uganda. But of course we are also looking forward to see our loved ones again! We started to pack our bags for the long journey this evening. At ten o'clock we went to the craft market. It was a safe environment where we could buy souvenirs if we wanted to. For some of us there wasn't enough time to get everything they wanted, but maybe that was a good thing...

After the market we went to the swimming pool. But not all were daredevils. Despite of the rain half of the group went swimming. In a short time we went back to Bulenga to end the day with a nice meal made for us. After dinner we had an evaluation about this experience. For now we stop, because we are on our way.

See you soon!