Door to Door in only 57 hours

Sunday afternoon 10th April

I left home on Thursday afternoon and arrived here at nearly midnight on Saturday. One night in Manchester, one night in Kampala and here I am at last in Kumi. The crawl through the Kampala traffic was worse than usual as it was children’s visiting day – the day when many parents visit their children in boarding school. (Which involves much traveling across country as the best or cheapest ones are never near home)

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Back to my same bedroom at Green Top which, I was told, had been renovated. It is true that it has had a good repaint but the bathroom light, cold tap, hot shower and waste plug still do not work. It is a bit like being reunited with old friends. “Hello dodgy tap – how have you been in my absence and how many others have you disappointed?”

But the real old friends are, of course, the people delighted to see us again and we them. They are all here, just the same, still doing amazing things with few resources.

Sunday morning and we went to church. Although it’s been only six months since I was last here I had forgotten the riot of sound, colour and enthusiasm involved. Several hundred black people and six white ones, the songs sung were not those on the projection screen, (always some way behind), small children running in and out of the sides of the tent, the recently elected mayor being given a speaking slot and then the auction:

This was in aid of funds for a new church roof; items given by members were sold off to the highest bidder. Donated were a bag of ground nuts (about the size of a bin bag), a cake, and a single egg (which fetched about £3). If you bid for an item, you pay what you have offered, even if you are later outbid (and you then lose what you have paid). It was all in good humour and involved a lot of shouting and clapping.

This afternoon we visited Kumi Township School, a large primary where we have worked for several years. Three days ago a large section of roof was completely removed from an old classroom block by a storm. It was the one next to where we renovated a classroom last year but fortunately ours was unscathed. We looked at the classroom where we will be working later this year; a sad sight at present.

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More project visits tomorrow but in the meantime, by popular request, here are the funny signs spotted on the way here: I am not sure if “Good Daddy’s Parent School” is a school for good daddies, a school where you learn how to be a good daddy or a school run by good daddies. “Clean, Green, Blessed and Prosperous” was on the front of a minibus taxi, as was “Team No Sleep” (not the driver anyway), and “Time Scale” (no, I don’t know what it means either).

The prize for the most optimistic transport must go the owner of a bicycle who was cycling the main Entebbe –Kampala road carrying a six foot high freezer across the back. It was placed asymmetrically to balance out the heavy end containing the compressor and so four feet of it stuck out into the path of the overtaking traffic. Yes, I am definitely back in Africa !

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