Tuesday 18th August
I have a half-day off so here goes with the last few days’ news:
We collected 18 great volunteers from Entebbe airport. They include two families of four, a family of five and two sisters. Arriving as a family is always applauded by Ugandans as the family bond is very important for them. Many Ugandan families are “clans” and run to very large numbers. Which family you belong to is very important here.
Work for the Team has been similar to that done by the previous team. The school building at Akubui is coming on well and is up to ring beam level. We have been bricklaying, wire bending, earth moving, football playing and singing with a guitar on the school playground together with local children. They come in to school even though it is school holidays, because we are here.
There is a sort of “extra lane on the M25” effect here – because we are building a new school room, enquiries from new parents have increased. At this rate our new classroom will be too full before we have finished it !
Local people want to be involved. Half of our local builders are local volunteers. This morning a group of six women appeared and quietly started carrying bricks for us (in nice dresses and flip-flops). After half an hour they quietly disappeared.
Yesterday we had an unplanned chill-out period under the tree in our car park. This was because when we started climbing on the bus we noticed that the radiator was lying on the ground and two pairs of legs in overalls were sticking out from under the engine. So, being efficient Brits we immediately called in alternative transport – it is so easy – you just ask for two local minibuses to arrive – which they did – complete with loose doors, a window flapping about half- held in place with sellotape and no insurance.
So we called another local minibus – it too had no insurance. A long discussion with the driver took place during which he tried hard to explain that national insurance laws do not apply in Kumi but we somehow did not believe him. What actually happens is that if they are stopped with no insurance they just pay the policemen a “fine” which is cheaper than the insurance premium and go on their way.
Anyway, the radiator went back in and we were on our way after two hours. Being two hours late is normal in Uganda. Time is not of the essence here and breakdowns are a normal part of life. What is unexpected is Brits, or anyone else, arriving anywhere on time. We enjoyed our relaxation under our shady tree. This laid back life has a lot to commend it!
Recent new applications for entry into the book of philosophical signs include “Why Ozil?” Apparently Hr Ozil is a German football player but why his name should be permanently painted on to the back of a Ugandan bus as a question is a mystery to us all.
And would you want to send your child to the “Divine Hope Interrogated Primary School”?
Back in a few days.