Welding among yellow flowers – a land of contrasts

Yes, we have electricity again!

This the fourth year I have been here but I am still uneasy seeing the vast contrasts I see every day.

For example, I met a Ugandan businessman who has businesses in many countries, sends his children abroad for medical treatment, studied for two degrees in the UK, but is seemingly unaware of the poverty around him which my organisation, Mission Direct, is trying to help.

Yesterday I visited a blind friend who lives deep in the bush. Our (old and modest) rented 4×4 could not go all the way as the road ended. We walked the last quarter of a mile.

He and his wife, plus three small children, live in thatched mudbrick huts. No water, power, drains, streets etc but he does have a new mobile phone (and a good signal)

And welding among yellow flowers? Down the road from here there is a small roadside welding business carried out on the ground (two men, one gas torch, no safety equipment and no work bench) which is gently showered by a constant fall of bright yellow flowers from the tree above.

To them I expect the falling flowers are a nuisance. To me they seemed strangely beautiful, lying in the rusty dirt of their workplace like large yellow snowflakes.

Our work has not yet started. I am doing “setting up” which is mostly a large number of meetings with project partners. They are all helpful, welcoming and good to be with.

The team of volunteers arrives in one week. There is much to be done.

Thanks for reading. More to follow. The internet here will not send photos at present. I will try on another day.

From Roger under a noisy corrugated iron roof on a rainy Friday night.

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Here I go again …

Yes, I am back in Uganda, this time for a two month stay.

Much remains the same but some things have changed.

Good points include the opening of the Kampala Expressway, a major new bypass, which is built to motorway standards and saves us an hour of traffic crawling.

Bad points include the fact that in the 24 hours I have been in Kumi, we have no mains power and the generator has broken down.

Lights are no problem – I have torches, but soon my laptop and phone will stop working – quite inconvenient when planning a programme.

So I will be brief to conserve energy, both mine and my phone.

Power excepted, all is jakona (i.e. fine) and my meetings with local partners are going according to plan. On money handling I am learning to think in lots of zeros again (with 4,500 Ugandan shillings to the £)

By popular request of my vast army of followers to this blog (well – two of you anyway) I am watching out for unusual signs on the backs of buses and on shops. On a bus we have:

“Respect fools to avoid noise” I am open to ideas on this although I suspect the first word should be “expect” judging by the Ugandan view that to get a good deal you need to argue a lot.

And you might be surprised to know that “St Thomas Inn” is a firm of accountants.

If power comes you will hear from me again. If not you can enjoy the peace.

Thanks for reading.

Roger in the dark in Kumi Uganda.

Here I go again …

Yes, I am back in Uganda, this time for a two month stay.

Much remains the same but some things have changed.

Good points include the opening of the Kampala Expressway, a major new bypass, which is built to motorway standards and saves us an hour of traffic crawling.

Bad points include the fact that in the 24 hours I have been in Kumi, we have no mains power and the generator has broken down.

Lights are no problem – I have torches, but soon my laptop and phone will stop working – quite inconvenient when planning a programme.

So I will be brief to conserve energy, both mine and my phone.

Power excepted, all is jakona (i.e. fine) and my meetings with local partners are going according to plan. On money handling I am learning to think in lots of zeros again (with 4,500 Ugandan shillings to the £)

By popular request of my vast army of followers to this blog (well – two of you anyway) I am watching out for unusual signs on the backs of buses and on shops. On a bus we have:

“Respect fools to avoid noise” I am open to ideas on this although I suspect the first word should be “expect” judging by the Ugandan view that to get a good deal you need to argue a lot.

And you might be surprised to know that “St Thomas Inn” is a firm of accountants.

If power comes you will hear from me again. If not you can enjoy the peace.

Thanks for reading.

Roger in the dark in Kumi Uganda.