Friday night 15th April
Two more days of meetings with Ugandan organisations. I am beginning to get the idea now. You start with a lot of general chat about family, work, business, the weather (although as this is much the same each day, there is little to say) and then you get down to it.
The Brits make clear, firm suggestions, or ask straightforward questions. The Ugandans describe the challenges they face and make generally positive statements (such as “yes, this should be done – you cannot steer a car without moving it” or “it is so good you are here – the more doctors that consult over the heath of the patient, the better will be the patient” [I am not actually sure about this one –perhaps my friends who are medics can advise me]
The meeting closes with supportive statements on both sides, agreements to work closely together and to keep in touch and to consult with their respective committees, bosses, community chickens etc. with a firm and definite intention of achieving something approximately by a fixed date, God willing. But it’s all done with the greatest of friendship and good intentions.
Today, I accidentally found myself in a public library. We were walking along a main road in Mbale, a town an hour’s drive to the east of Kumi. There was a Book Aid logo on the sign, with which I am associated (the organisation, not the sign), so two of us walked in and had nearly an hour’s chat with the Librarian and his receptionist. We discovered that (a) most of the books are in English from donor countries; (b) the library staff cannot engage teachers with having books for the kids because the teachers think the kids should not have books in school (and cannot afford them anyway); (c) The entire library is smaller than the ground floor of my home and (d) books in English are for very young kids are not much good but books in their own local language are OK.
The two staff were delightfully friendly. Several photos were taken, contact details exchanged and they even gave me a new little book in the local language. (See if all that works in your local library). I promised to ask Book Aid if they would help local publishers print in their local language. I must admit that (b) was a bit of a surprise.
I hear your demand for today’s funny sign competition winners and here they are: Best mixed business category is “Public Toilet and Water for Sale.” Best religious use : “God’s Grace Enterprises Ltd.” Best school sign “Ideal Girls High school” (this could be an ideal school for girls, a school for ideal girls, or the ideal model for a girls high school, I know not which) but the most worrying one was “Water and Sewerage Plant” immediately next to a rice paddy field.
Tomorrow-the return to Sipi Falls – always a day of mixed emotions for me. Some of you will know why. And finally, here is a picture of Mercy, the daughter of one of the cleaning staff, just because she is cute !