Monday 18th July
It has been an eventful couple of days. On Sunday we arrived at a large corrugated iron building at 8.00 am. There was music, singing, dancing and much happiness among the 300 people present. The music was provided by a five piece band of guitars, keyboards and an electric drum kit; singing along was despite the projectionist who was usually a few bars (or even verses) behind the people and the sound level was so high that my ears were vibrating. It was, of course, an African church service.
We were not quite sure of the way there but decided to follow a woman in a startling blue dress. “Sunday best” is almost a fashion show when everyone gets out their most colourful items. But it was officially “men’s day” so a few ties were to be seen (not on me) and one young man wore a bright pink bow tie. Afterwards we were treated to tea and bread. You dip one into the other.
Today I have bought supplies; cans of paint, metres of sandpaper, plastic sheeting and some ladies underwear, (perhaps I should explain that they were in a job lot of old clothing bought as cleaning cloths from the market and I didn’t actually chose them). Tonight I broke down a door whilst being watched by a night-watchman carrying a Kalashnikov. I should also explain that the door was one of our own hotel’s doors (fitted with the usual African cheapo locks that always jams in a locked positon) and the hotel night-watchman did not object. I did suggest he shot off the broken lock with his gun but he just laughed. It probably wasn’t loaded.
So, tomorrow I will be door mending. One just wouldn’t expect to have to do this type of thing at a Premier Inn at home but, out here, it all feels rather natural. No one stresses about it, it’s all OK with the Ugandans so long as you can laugh about it. Not just afterwards, but also before and during. At home you would buy a new door; here you patch the old one (again and again). But do it with a laugh and “that will be OK” –my favourite local saying.
The time is getting closer for us to host our first team. They arrive next Sunday, so we are sorting out rooms, catering and transport for them. This includes repairing hotel toilets, replacing lightbulbs etc. but “that will be OK” too.
I met the community representative again (see under April 13th above). She was in the same offices and was clucking quite happily at a filing cabinet. It is curious how she is attracted to offices. A little like a church mouse but on a larger scale.
I am looking at a batch of receipts from today. The shop owners were Vruddhi & Jaymadi (Asian names) and the locally owned shops were Deep Impex Ltd and Ojobira Enterprises. These local names give the impression of significant businesses thrusting Uganda into the global retail market. Actually they are one-woman shops in backstreets each measuring about 10 feet square. The proprietors are always very helpful.
It rained tonight. Loudly and heavily for two hours. My bedroom floor was flooded as usual (I have built raised platforms for my things) but now, two hours later, the floor is completely dry. The warm dry air is more efficient than newspaper for soaking up water.
Finally, here is a local resident – a chameleon – trying not to let me take his picture by going green.