Nearing the End of our Ugandan Adventure :-(
on Jason and Anna in Mbarara (Uganda), 14/May/2010 08:34, 34 days ago
It's now less than four weeks until we fly back to Heathrow - Volcanoes and BA strikes permitting. I'm feeling a mixture of excitement and sadness at leaving this wonderful country.Work-wise, there's not much left for me to do here - all the teaching finished last week, and the students have sat my 'Solid Dosage Forms' exam...believe me, that subject is even duller than it sounds! I've even finished all my marking, as I wanted to make sure I had everything organised well before we left. So I've got a fair bit of time to reminisce about the 15 and a half months we've spent in Uganda.Here are some of my thoughts....Things I'll Miss About Uganda1. The fantastic people we've had the chance to get to know since we've been hereEspecially our colleagues, the students, the other VSO volunteers in our area, our friends from the compound we live on, Gertrude our cleaning lady, Peter the taxi-man (who always cheers me up with his insane banter) and so many others2. The wonderful climateWho can complain about having warm sunny weather all year round?!3. The amazing fruitPineapples never tasted so good4. The starsThe complete lack of street lights mean you see thousands of stars in the sky at night5. The rain!I will miss the way the rain just starts like someone has turned on a huge power-shower in the skyI'll also miss people not bothering to go to work, lectures etc when it rains!6. The stunning wildlifeIt’s an amazing feeling to wake up in the morning when you’re on holiday and see hippos and elephants right outside your room7. Swimming in lakes without getting hypothermiaLake Bunyonyi has to be one of our favourite places in the world8. Rolexes (not of the watch type!)For those of you who have not been introduced to the humble rolex, it is an omelette rolled up in a chapatti, and is very tasty indeed9. Cheap beer and muchomo (Jason told me to put this one!)We really enjoy going to Peers Bar after a hard (!) day at work and having a few cold beers (for about 60p each) and barbecued goat or pork (or omelette for me)10. Not having to commute in slow traffic to get to workAs we live just across the road from the university, it only takes us a couple of minutes to get to work in the morning - no excuse for being late then....11. The very relaxed pace of lifeWe've both been significantly less stressed since we've been in Uganda - everything is so relaxed it's almost horizontal...12. Boda-bodasAlso known as motorbike taxisProbably the quickest, easiest and cheapest form of transport, and great fun (unless you fall off like Jason did once...)13. The amount of free time we seem to havePossibly due to the fact that we have no TV!Things I won't miss about Uganda1. Being shouted at every time we walk down the streetWhile the word‘Muzungu!’ is not offensive, it does get a little bit tiring when you hear it day after day, wherever you go2. Nearly getting run over every time we cross the roadEspecially on the zebra crossing outside the university3. The insectsNasty little cockroaches…4. The power cutsVery inconvenient, especially as we can’t heat water for showers (leading to a grumpy Anna)5. The terrible roads and complete lack of pavements6. The long, drawn-out meetingsPeople arrive at least 30 minutes late, then you have to have an opening prayer before scrutinising the minutes for punctuation errors etc., then the long meeting begins where everyone feels they have to say something (no matter how irrelevant it is)Example: The curriculum review meeting where a doctor stood up and proceeded to tell the Nursing Department that all their students were old and miserable…..I wanted to punch him!7. The rigmarole of‘pasteurising’ the milk we buyPasteurised milk not available here, and the UHT is expensive and vile, so we buy fresh milk in townWhen we get home, we have to sieve it (to remove cow hairs), boil it (to make it safe), leave it to cool, sieve it again to get rid of the skin, then finally pour it into a bottle and stick it in the fridge (about 4 hours later)8. Ordering food in a restaurant and having to wait hours for itAnd the waiter may tell you after an hour that what you wanted is‘finished’, so you have to re-order and wait another two hours….9. Going shopping in town, and feeling completely uninspired by the choice of stuff to buySo, dinner’s going to be another variation on a theme of onions, green peppers, tomatoes with pasta/rice/potatoes then?!10. Hand washing clothesWell, we have someone to wash most of our clothes for us, but they end up stretched out of shape, faded and holey11. The lack of decent chocolateThe chemicals they put in Cadbury’s to stop it melting in hot countries really makes it taste horrible12. The trauma of travelling to places by public transportOvercrowded, smelly buses that go far too fast on really bumpy roads13. Our horrendously uncomfortable sofa and armchairsNumb bums!I've just realised that I have put far too much in the‘Things I won’t miss’ list – as you can see, most of them are just petty little things (compared to the huge fantastic things on the first list), and we really will miss this lovely country.