Friday, Nov 9th
By Beth Leeson – SowHope Board Member
First Impressions: We’re experiencing our first introduction to Uganda. Having arrived in the late hours the previous evening – traveling from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Detroit to Amsterdam to Kigali, Rwanda and finally on to Entebbe, Uganda – our body clocks were a bit out of sync. We stayed up together sharing cold Nile beer and waited endlessly for food at our small hotel, learning that nothing in Africa is fast. But, on the other hand, everything is prepared from scratch.
Awaking to the crowing of a rooster, we enjoyed a breakfast with our malaria tablets and headed out in two four wheel vehicles for our travels to a town about three hours west of Kampala to visit microloan recipients. Driving through the bustling streets of capital city Kampala was a sensory experience of sights, sounds and smells. The streets were teeming with cars and motorbikes loaded with people, as well as colorful fruits, veggies, and building supplies – anything or anyone that required transport. The smell of emission fumes mixed with the smoke of cooking fires made breathing a difficult task.
Coming into view as we turned a corner, in one of the many villages we passed, was a crowd of people surrounding an apparent thief. He was being escorted by two policemen, one on each arm. The gathering seemed to be moving together toward the police station. The thief was being repeatedly and forcefully struck from behind by the probable victim, who appeared to be quite angry. According to our driver, Fred, Ugandans generally don’t have many possessions, and thievery, while common, is a serious offense.
Traveling to Africa together as a team, and preparing through several meetings hunched over maps and proposals, we did all that we could to be prepared for the work and the experiences. But trying to imagine life half way across the world was just a little out of our reach from the comforts of Michigan. Our impressions during the first day or two were simply amazing and filled our senses with new ideas, new smells, new friends, and new challenges. Most wonderful!
(Photo by Wes Miller)