Every scientist needs to relax and my favourite way is by playing online games. Grand Theft Auto 5, Starcraft 2 and lots of others. I play not only video games but also gamble a little - poker or casino it depends on my mood. I usually play at All Slots Casino because they have the best slots games and I love slots. As for poker - well Pokerstars are the best but I also like 888Poker

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sea legs

We are here with all of our bags and in good health. All in all, it was more than a day’s worth of travel from the time we left the Lunds' home, hence the three hours of nap that followed our activities since landing. We met Fr. Vincent, a family friend, at the airport, along with his nephew Joseph who will be driving us on Tuesday. After a lively drive from Entebbe to our hostel in Kampala, we left for a late lunch with them. The meal was a good lesson in African Time, the phenomena of things being done in an almost untimely manner, but more so just at a rate that reflects the different prioritization of the people here. So, we spent two hours at the restaurant before visiting a sort of hospice center founded by an African cardinal and followed by the Ugandan national cathedral. And here we are at the hostel with vital signs and little more.

Wrench in our plans (but maybe not): We found out during our layover in DC that SHIM can’t have us until Friday, leaving five days from now to fill with activities. So the plans I described in my last post are essentially flipping. We will spend tomorrow exploring Kampala on foot and meeting with Abraham, who visited the island in the past to coach boys on being “all around” men instead of aspiring to patriarchal ideals. He might yet return with us to the island. Tuesday, we’ll go out to visit a couple of the children of interest, seeing the fourth, Pauline on Wednesday in Masaka. We hope to then spend a couple days nearby at the formidable community development organization, Suubi Centre. They do things in line with the ideals of EDGE, but seem to have really made things click with the community. My hope is that our visit there could be a helpful resource on how to handle the problems that Lingira shares with this community. Friday, we will make our way to the port city of Jinja and on to Lingira. The only real consequence of this audible is that Karla, who is leaving earlier, will have less time on the island.

Maybe they just have a killer marketing department, but my experience with Ethiopia Air was culturally intriguing. Though not very populous, Ethiopians have a unique language and alphabet and national pride. The mountains surrounding the Addis Ababa airport have definitely put the hilly nation among my places of interest when it comes time to plan another international trip.

I’m still very much in the “feeling out” stage of learning about Ugandan culture, but here’s what I’ve found most pertinent to its profile:

They like talking, touching, and having genuine exchanges, no matter the occasion. There’s a very real interest in people and their story, in having every experience be human. It’s a sort of commitment to serving each other that I don’t think is often found at home, okay maybe Minnesconsin has it, but it is pretty special nonetheless.

So, if you are doing development work and need discouragement, a drive around Kampala is what you need. Despite the seemingly resilient spirit of Ugandans, the city is a mess, through and through. Most people do their best to occupy one of five corporately created niches to an unproductive end. There is a handful of brand names that saturate the roadside reflecting the livelihoods of people who sell cell phone minutes, coke, or Bic razors. Accepting cultural differences and economic challenges, it is still frustrating to see how the path prescribed for many people in this city requires no skills, only a contract with a corporate supplier.

I’m happy to actually be here and actually be doing things instead of just theorizing about the possibilities, though to everyone at home, I miss you already. I think we’re all excited to make this trip as worthwhile as it could ever be. I’m loving the people, the smells, the avocado trees, and will continue to smile in the sunshine until it inevitably burns me. This caps off my first night in Africa and I’ll go to bed tired and contented.

Until later,


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