We have finally arrived

Jessica and I finally arrived in Entebbe, Uganda after 36 hours in transit (at least for me). My connecting flights were very tight and although I managed to get onto the Toronto flight with Jessica, we missed our flight out of Frankfurt and were diverted to Cairo. We had to spend the day there and I learned that it is very important to lock luggage since some of my clothes and my sleeping bag were missing. In any case, we finally arrived in Entebbe at 345 in the morning only to find out that there were planned protests in Entebbe and around the airport so we had to leave the city to avoid road blocks and any trouble that may arise from the protest. The presidential swearing in ceremony was the following day so we needed to be out of Entebbe and the major city Kampala. We endured 6 more hours of transit to reach our final destination of Mbarara, where we will be for the next 3 months. I now know what true jet leg feels like!

 I was in Uganda 2 years ago and it feels like I never left. I was greeted with the familiar smell of burnt air, red dirt and crazy traffic. The rules of the roads here are that there are no rules. The roads are also in very terrible shape which makes driving even more difficult. The boda drivers (motorcycles) weave in and out of traffic and cars are passing and turning in every which direction. Driving in town is definitely intimidating and frightening at times.

 The first few days were spent adjusting to the change in time and orienting ourselves with the most recent updates at the Foundation for AIDS Orphaned Children (FAOC). There have been so many wonderful changes and advancements since my last visit. In 2009, there were 8 parishes (villages) involved with FAOC and now there are 16 so we have a very busy summer ahead.

 Yesterday we attended a training seminar on composting and met the members of one of the new groups and discussesd their needs and challenges. We also joined in on the youth meeting today where children are taught how to make crafts, stools, etc for income generation. The children were all very eager to learn and were very good at making baskets and mats. One woven basket takes about a week to make and the average selling price for a basket is the equivalent of only 2-3 dollars. Other income generating projects will be taught throughout the summer to help provide the youth with as many skills as possible. I am very excited for the challenges and tasks ahead.

Cheers,

Laura

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