Thursday, 28 February 2013

Day 11 - Goodbyes

Today was a day of goodbyes, some happy, some sad, but all with promises to return.

Before heading out today I had to say goodbye to Dorothy. She didn't take it well and started to cry. Being terrible at these situations about all I could muster was an awkward hug and a 'there there'. I'm sure she will be fine. She seems to have built up a good friend network at the school and is focussing more in class.

Then it was delivery time. The plan was that the receivers of the income generating loans would come to the school and then we would take them home depositing their items with them. But this is Uganda. At the time we were supposed to be leaving only 2 had arrived, the delivery truck was nowhere to be seen and for some reason that eludes me Israel was loading an oven into the CALM van.

An hour and a half later we were ready to go. The final item, the pig, was chased, caught, tied and hauled into the truck tray. Watching Ben run around the pig pen trying to catch it was a sight to see!

First we went to Scovia's house and left her with 3 bags of charcoal. Next was Ronald's pig and bran. The pig was (understandably) a little distressed so we hung around for a while to make sure it got cooled down and settled in OK. Israel decided the pig should be named Susan, but the family have a daughter named Susan so we called is Isobel - much to his annoyance. Then was Mary who was also left with 3 bags of charcoal.

Next we went to Mariam with her 2 bags of charcoal and shop rent. While there we were able to check on the latrine which is coming on nicely. She gave us half a jackfruit as a token of her gratitude. I'd never had one before but it's quite tasty.

Finally we found Margaret at the CALM field office and distributed her loan. Once the field office is up and running Margaret will be employed by CALM as their representative in the area and will run her business from the office. There will also be vocational skills training for at risk young women there. There is still a bit of work to be done there before they're ready to open.

After work we were treated to a farewell lunch with James, Joseph, Martin, Israel, Ben, Ali and the other 2 volunteers. It was a typical Ugandan meal with piles and piles of starchy food, followed by some really rather formal, but appreciates speeches from each of them. Afterwards we played pool and chatted, James telling us how sometimes he likes to so the driving on the boda bodas he hires. 'They are scared but it's OK.'

Our ride to the airport was quite long, but we were kept entertained by the men weaving through the traffic on foot selling a random assortment of products. These included a map of Africa, belts, shoes, a kitchen knife set, some sort of games console, CDs, loofahs and toilet paper.

It was also a great chance to get to chat to Joseph who was driving us. He is concerned about the upcoming Kenyan election and the effect it will have on Uganda. If Kenyan's strike or riot, it means no petrol in Uganda - the perils of being a landlocked country. Joseph said that last time there were problems people were walking to work or not going for 3 weeks. I can only imagine the damage that did to the economy.

Sitting here at the airport sweating my butt off, having a Nile Special, I am looking forward to running water and being able to step outside without being instantly covered in red dust. But I'm really sad to be leaving CALM and Uganda again.

Once again, thank you so much to all the people who donated and allowed us to make the contributions we did. You have had a huge impact on so many people's lives and we will keep you updated on other progress.

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