Saturday, 3 November 2012

Another meeting and a trip to Uganda

I’m sorry that it’s been a while since I last blogged. I’ve been pretty busy. I’ve had plenty of ups and downs over the past week or so, and apart from my trip to Uganda, it definitely hasn’t been one of my preferred parts of this trip.
It all started going downhill when I had a meeting with the directors of Golgotha about why sponsored children had been sent home the day before. I decided on Monday, that the next day, I would take a handful of the children who were sent home, and ask them in front of the directors why exactly there were sent back from school. On Tuesday I did just that, and it didn’t go down too well. I collected about eight children, all sponsored, who had been sent home the day before, and asked them one by one, with the help of Asa the head teacher, the reason why they had been sent home, and who had ordered them to. They all said the same thing; that they had been sent home to collect ‘school fees’ and that they had been sent home by teacher Vicki, who is the director’s wife. No surprise there then. Only Elius and Stevie (the manager) were present when we asked the children to follow us into the office, it’s a shame that Vicki wasn’t there, but we knew that she would turn up later. As promised, I asked the kids in front of the director and manager, exactly why they had been sent back home, and as before, they said that they had been sent home by Vicki to collect ‘school fees’. I could tell that I had instantly pissed them both off by the looks on their faces. I wasn’t in there alone; there were three other volunteers with me, Shelley, Amanda and Natalie. They were all happy to be there, and I needed their support to try and resolve the problem. A resolution however was not something that we got close to. I won’t go into too much detail about the next couple of hours, most of the discussion just went around and around in circles, and we didn’t get anywhere. Most of the time was spent discussing exactly what was included under the title ‘school fees’. Elius, Vicki and the Stevie were claiming that this does not cover the contribution of firewood and travel money, we were arguing that it does. When a child is sponsored, it means that their guardians shouldn’t have to pay any money at all towards school, everything we send over covers that, including firewood and travel fees. It’s a problem that needs to be resolved, but it might take a bit of time. Lucy Cottee, who’s head of UK sponsorship funds is attempting to set up a new program, whereby the money sent over goes through a local community worker whom we trust, and doesn’t go anywhere near the directors or his wife’s pockets. We also spoke about the list that Vicki had given me the day before. I had asked to see a list of all the children who were sent home that day, and she had conveniently forgotten to put the sponsored children’s names on there. Within half an hour, we got about five different answers. One of them funnily enough went something like this. ‘Vicki thought that you were going to pay for all of the children who got sent home, so she didn’t think to put the sponsored kids on there as they already have support’. So why the fuck are they still being sent home? Know what I mean? In the end, I walked out, I couldn’t stand being lied to anymore. Anyway, enough negativity, let’s talk about Uganda!
I and Lindsay, a volunteer from Canada, spoke a few weeks into my trip that we would both like to visit Uganda, and hopefully do a Gorilla trekking safari. Unfortunately, after trying a few different companies, we couldn’t find a price that was within our budgets, but we decided to go anyway! Although it was more expensive, we decided to fly there. It only takes about an hour and a half on the plane, whereas if you were to take the bus, you could spend a couple of days trying to get there. We left on Saturday morning at around seven, and got to the airport at about half ten or so. I think our flight left around midday or something. We sat outside for a while, smoking and reading, whilst we waiting for the check in counter to open. We checked in easily enough, and then passed through immigration towards the departure lounge. I get really excited these days about getting new stamps in my passport, so I was pretty stoked when I got two. When we were in the departure lounge, I caught sight of the plane we were travelling on. For those of you who don’t know, I’m not the most comfortable flyer in the world. I don’t mind big planes, and often feel safe on long haul trips, but little planes and propellers scare me shitless. I was absolutely hating it when we boarded, I popped a valium as soon as we sat down. Annoyingly, the valium didn’t kick in quickly enough and I was still anxious when we took off. I pulled my t-shirt over my head and pretended that I wasn’t there. I hate the feeling just after you take off, it doesn’t feel natural. Sweating buckets and shaking like a shitting dog, the diazepam finally kicked in and I relaxed, then I fell asleep.
Kampala is the capital of Uganda, but the main airport is in a city which sits on the outskirts of Lake Victoria, called Entebbe. I was quite surprised when we got there, the city was much more developed and modern than I had expected. I didn’t realise that Uganda was a wealthier nation than Tanzania, maybe it isn’t, but it seems like money here might go towards making the place look nicer rather than into corrupt politician’s pockets! We took a taxi from the airport to the backpackers where we had reserved to stay that night. It was a nice little place, quaint, with a lovely garden and some banana trees too! We checked in, left our bags in the room, and then headed out to see the ‘Entebbe Wildlife Education Centre’, which is just a fancy name for Entebbe Zoo. They’ve probably said it’s for educational purposes so that they don’t have to pay anything to the government, and can keep the majority of the funds for themselves and other projects. The Zoo was cool. There were monkeys wandering around everywhere, trying to steal food from people. There were the Vervet monkeys, which are the ones with the bright blue bollocks. Always a funny sight. We also saw a leopard, lions, crocodiles, snakes and got dangerously close to some white rhino’s. There was a barrier of course, but at one point I could have easily reached out and touched one. They seemed pretty tame though, and I bet they are really used to being close to humans. Still, didn’t really feel like patting one of the most dangerous animals in the world. Lindsay and I got some lunch at the restaurant there. It had a beautiful view, overlooking Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria covers a reasonable part of East Africa, and borders Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. I had a chicken sandwich, and I think Lindsay had something vegetarian. The football was on, so I watched a bit of that and explained to Lindsay about the teams.
We decided to head into the centre after lunch. I accidently underpaid the waiter 1,000Ush, and he came running after us as we were leaving, pretty embarrassing but not a big deal. We jumped on a boda-boda into town. Lindsay took out some cash, and then we went for a short walk. The town was only really small so after about ten minutes we’d seen the whole thing. I bought some beef sausages off of the street and munched on those, the chicken sandwich didn’t quite cut it. We both felt like a drink so we went into a pub on the main road called The Four Turkeys. I thought with a name like that, the owner must be a brit. Turns out the original owners were four American’s who called themselves ‘The Four Turkeys’ (god knows why), so they named the pub after that. We sat and had a few drinks. Lindsay ordered a glass of wine, it was pretty funny when they brought it over. It was a large glass, and filled to the brim, almost spilling over the top. We laughed about how different it was to home, and that you would pay about twice as much for a third of a glass or something. We chatted to the waitress, who was really nice and explained to us the best and cheapest way to get to Kampala the following day. I also chatted briefly to a guy called Simon. He was from Kent, and I think that he was a co-owner of the bar or something. He seemed to know everybody pretty well, and wasn’t too happy with the staff when the power kept cutting out and nobody could watch the football. He was funny, and it was refreshing to have a decent bit of British humour. When we were ready to leave, I asked Simon if it was safe around Entebbe to take a boda back to the hostel. He assured us that it was fine, and he flagged one down. It was nice of him to pay for us too, and the way he went about it was hysterical. He spoke to the boda driver in English, and said something like, ‘you take these guys to the hostel, and come back with my change, because I know your fucking number plate now and you wouldn’t want me to have to come find you, would you? ROGER!?’ We laughed on the way back. After a few minutes we were back and sitting in the reception area of the hostel, more football was on the TV so I sat down and had another couple of beers. Still hungry, me and Lindsay shared a pizza, and then chatted to a German couple who were doing some travelling around East Africa for a few weeks. It had been a long day so we both crashed out pretty early.
In the morning, we paid the bill and got a taxi to Entebbe town. The German’s came with us. We hopped straight onto a ‘special taxi’ which in Tanzania are called Dalla-Dalla’s. The waitress the night before had instructed us to just put 5,000Ush into the conductors hand and say it was for two. Otherwise, they would have tried to rip us off. It worked fine, and after an hour or so we had arrived in Kampala and were at the bus station. My first impressions of Kampala were that it was pretty big, and extremely busy. I had never seen traffic like it in my life, it was what I would expect to see in somewhere like Cairo. It reminded me of Karl Pilkington sitting in his hotel room and complaining about the constant beeping of horns outside. It had started to rain, so we took a bit of shelter and asked a shop owner if he could direct two boda’s to our hotel. Another surprise of mine was that a lot of Ugandan people spoke extremely good English, and they often speak English between themselves too. This is because when the British came here in the early 20th century, they tried to eliminate a lot of the Ugandan culture so that it would be easier to control them, and to keep hold of rights to trade etc. If you want to eliminate a culture, eliminate the language. Many Ugandan’s have however kept their mother tongue, and unlike other East African countries such as Tanzania and Kenya, they refused to adopt Kiswahili as their main language. After ten minutes or so, the shop owner had successfully pointed out where our hostel was. The drivers charged us 5,000Ush each, and said that it would take about half an hour to get there. When it only took about ten minutes, I realised that we had been ripped off. A ten minute boda journey should only really cost about three grand. The hotel seemed nice, but when we arrived it was too early to check in, so we decided to leave our bags in reception and go for a walk around the city.
It took us about half an hour or so to walk right into the centre of time. I spotted a pretty building which stood out and looked like some sort of temple, so we walked towards it and asked if we were allowed to go inside. It was Hindu temple, and those inside were more than welcoming. They let us wander around (barefoot of course), and take pictures of what we liked. It was so peaceful in there, I can sometimes see why so many people are part of religions like that but I don’t think that it would be for me. Too many God’s I reckon! We carried on walking around, not really heading for anywhere in particular. I did need to visit a chemist though, as I’d run out of my Omeprazole. It took a while to find one as most were shut due to it being Sunday, but I got there eventually. I got one hundred pills for about a fiver. That would cost me nearly fifty quid at home, so I was pretty pleased. We headed into where it seemed busiest, and eventually found ourselves in the local market. I think that it’s called Obusi Market, I don’t have a travel book to hand so I can’t look and find out for sure. It said something in the book about it being so big, that you could get lost for about two hours in there and not be able to find your way out. They were right, it was like a maze. I wasn’t really looking to buy anything apart from some boxers. I had washed mine the day before I left, but they hadn’t dried properly overnight. When we got to Entebbe I tried to hang them up at the backpackers but in the morning they were even more wet than before, so I had to spend a couple of days in commando. The smell in the market was awful, think reading festival toilets on the third day. Eventually, we found our way out, and ended up on a backstreet which felt pretty sketchy. As we walked along, there was a puddle by the side of the road, which had bubbles on top of it and looked filthy. I walked past, and for the first time in my life, I nearly vomited there on the spot from the stench which this puddle was omitting. Now think reading festival toilets day five, mixed with bestival toilets day three, and a little bit of rotting flesh too. I quickly turned left off the street and we were back into the market. It was worrying how close the fruit and vegetable stores were to that foul smell. I found a stall with some boxers, but I really struggled to get a good price. I got a nosebleed half was through bargaining and had to do most of it with my head cocked back and tissue up my nose. I’ve only ever had one nose bleed before and that’s when I’ve been punched in the face, so I was a little worried when this one came on. I bought some boxers, and then we walked to try and find somewhere to eat lunch. I spat out big clumps of blood a couple of times which freaked me out a bit, but it stopped eventually, and when I didn’t get another nosebleed, I stopped worrying. It must have been something to do with that fucking smell.
We couldn’t find anywhere decent to eat in town, so we headed back towards the hotel where I knew there was a good Turkish restaurant nearby. It was nice to sit down. I got some bread and hummus for a starter and then had a steak and chips for lunch. I’m not sure what meat the steak was exactly but it definitely didn’t taste like beef. Oh well, I still enjoyed it. We headed back to the hotel, checked our bags into the room and then decided that we would go and Visit the Kasubi tombs. We asked at reception which would be the cheapest way and if it was okay to get boda’s there. They told us that the boda drivers would charge us about 20,000Ush each and that it would be better to get a taxi which they would call for us. We told them no thanks, and went and asked the boda drivers how much it would be to get there. We agreed on 4,000 each, what a surprise! The receptionists were just trying to get some money through commission and had right out lied to us. It’s very common here, so we didn’t get too wound up about it. It took about fifteen minutes to get there, it was a nice drive, and a good way to see a little bit more of the city from the back of the motorbikes. There was a guide waiting outside for us. His name was Stephen, an elderly man with a calming and interesting tone of voice. He signed us in, then sat us down and explained about the history of the four Ugandan kings, who were buried just a few minutes’ walk from where we were sitting. In the Lonely Planet book, it had recommended this tour but said that sometimes it can get a little crowded, which can ruin the experience. That wasn’t the case at all for us, and the reason why was quite surprising. In 2010, the Ugandan army had moved into Somalia to get rid of an Al Qaida official who I think is called Al Habib. He was running a lot of illegal operations there, and could have been behind a lot of the kidnappings of tourists too. When the Ugandan army successfully pushed Al Habib and his men out of Somalia, they wanted to get back at the Ugandan’s. They did this by sneaking into Uganda and burning down their only world heritage site, the Kasubi tombs. It was a real shame that we didn’t get to see the tomb as it was before. We saw pictures of course, but the sight was a wreck. The steels which were placed there in the 80’s to help stabilise the building were tattered on each side, and the rest of the tomb was covered in tar palling. Stephen made up for it though, his stories and knowledge about the place were so interesting that I didn’t mind just walking around and listening at all. He took us to a few houses around which the king had used for different things. One of them was where the King’s children, who he had many of, as he had something like fifty four wives, would be taken too after birth and have their umbilical cords removed. They would then test if the child was righteous by seeing if the umbilical cord floated in water or not. If it sank, then they were believed to be sent by the devil. He didn’t say what happened if they were believed to be from the devil, but I’m sure it wasn’t pretty. We walked around for a little longer, and stayed a short while in the graveyard where the King’s relatives were buried. There was a lovely view from the city here. You could see the cathedral on one side of the city, and the main mosque on the other side, also on top of a hill. Stephen explained the King had placed them here on purpose so that he could keep an eye on their movements, all tactical. We headed back to the hotel shortly afterwards, and spent the rest of the evening there. Chelsea were playing Man United, so I watched that, but after a few beers I was knackered again and needed to crash out.
The next morning we had to get up pretty early, as we were being picked up from near the hotel at around 7 15am. We had arranged booked in with a company a few days before to go white water rafting on the river Nile. I was pretty excited in the morning, but tired too so I couldn’t get too into it. We stopped at a couple of other hostels on the way where we picked up some other people. Three lads, two from Australia and one from New Zealand seemed pretty nice and I chatted them for a bit. Elliot was the Kiwi one, and the other two, Tom and Callum, were from Melbourne. When we arrived it was all a bit disorganised but soon enough we were on our way to the river. I’d started to get really excited by the time we got there and started getting our life jackets on etc. We found a group of seven, Lindsay and I, the Aussies and the Kiwi, and a Dutch couple who had come on the bus with us. The Dutch guy was 7ft tall, no word of a lie, I’d never seen somebody that tall in my life. It was pretty funny to see him try and squeeze in the space he had on the raft though! We met our instructor for the day who was called Hassan. He was a nice guy, a Muslim, but with a great sense of humour. The two girls were pretty nervous and he did all he could to make them feel more uncomfortable. Telling them shit like he couldn’t swim, and that people get seriously injured on the rapids every day, broken arms and legs are common etc. Lindsay’s face was a picture. We practiced paddling together, and went through drills and what to do when he shouted out certain things. We also practiced what to do if we flipped over which was really fun. It was nice to be in the water, I hadn’t been swimming in a long time and it made me remember how much I enjoy it.
My adrenaline was going pretty hard by the time we approached the first rapid. It was about a six metre waterfall, and classed as a grade five rapid so going down in was pretty gnarly, a good way to get straight into it. The front of the boat slowly lent over the edge and then nosed dived, crashing front first into the water and bending the raft like crazy. I was glad we didn’t flip on the first rapid, I wouldn’t really have been ready. It was great fun though, the adrenaline buzz I got was intense and just what I had come here for. Each rapid had a name, and I apologise but I can’t remember any of them. Between each rapid there was usually a large span of calm water where we could relax, chat, and paddle a little before we got to the next one. After four rapids, and about two hours having gone by, it was mine and Lindsay’s time to get off the river and go for the twilight quad biking safari which we had decided to do. We hadn’t paid for it though, and because we’d had so much fun on the first half of the rafting, and knowing that the last two rapid were the craziest, we decided to carry on and do a full day. It was a good call. Just before lunch, there was a grade six rapid that none of us were allowed to go down, it’s simply too dangerous and only professionals can tackle such aggressive water. We pulled over to the side of the river and walked along the banks. A few of us walked right up to the side and looked over the grade six rapid. It was huge, the energy and noise that it was producing was incredible, one of those things where you could sit and stare all day long. But we got hurried along back into our rafts and then we were ready for lunch.  Still in our rafts on the water, the guys on the safety boat quickly prepared pineapple into quarters for us all to eat, we had biscuits too. It was an odd lunch, I was expecting something more substantial but it did the job anyway. Hassan said something funny. It had started pouring down with rain a few minutes before and he explained that eating biscuits in this weather wasn’t a good idea, as a ‘soggy biscuit just looks like baby shit’.
The seventh rapid, and the second to last one, was the worst one for me. We went down it pretty smoothly first time around, but for some reason Hassan ordered us to paddle right back into it, we came up to a section where fast water was coming in from all directions and suddenly flipped. I wasn’t expecting it, and didn’t have a good grip of the side of the boat when I was chucked over board. I tried to surface, but instead of remaining calm like the instructors told us to do I panicked. I got stuck in a whirlpool, and my body was being chucked around in all directions underwater as I thrashed around to get to the top. I had a short second where I got above water, and took a huge breath, as I did this, I was smacked in the face by a huge wave and started to choke on a load of water. Thrown back underneath, being thrown around like crazy and choking on that gulp of water, I thought that I was going to drown. I genuinely said to myself in my head, that ‘this is it, I’m going to die here’. Luckily enough I surfaced again a little bit down the river and managed to cling on to the boat. Pale as anything, terrified and shaking, I managed to get into the boat where the Aussies and others laughed at me. I laughed afterwards too. I wish we had got my face on Go Pro but it was the only time that they didn’t use it. I knew that the last rapid was going to be even bigger and it was pretty likely that we would flip again, so I had to psych myself up the whole way. When we got there, I was nervous, but excited at the same time. We went down first. It was all going fairly smoothly until we got hit by a huge wave on the front of the boat and flipped over backwards. Instead of panicking this time, I relaxed and surfaced pretty quickly, we were all shouting and jeering until we got hit by a huge wave which sent us all under for a few seconds again. Before I knew it, I was about fifty metres downstream and getting pulled along by such a strong current. Elliot, Tom and Callum were around, we laughed and talked about how intense that last one had been. We freaked a little bit when all we saw was a helmet popping out of the water, and couldn’t see Lindsay anywhere. Turns out she was okay though, and it was Hassan who had lost his helmet. We got back into the raft and headed for an early dinner. The food was good, and the fact that they provided beer was a bonus. We checked out some of the photo’s which the guys had taken, and laughed as we saw ourselves being chucked out, there were petrified faces in there too! After an hour or so, we hopped back into the van and drove back to where we would be staying that night. I chatted to an Irish lady called Hannah, she was lovely, but hadn’t really enjoyed the rafting, said that it scared her too much and that she would rather be riding a horse. I’d rather sky dive than get on a fucking horse, they scare the shit out of me, and it’s my mum’s fault. She put me on one when I was younger and it legged it, I was so scared, never again thanks.
We drank a fair bit at the bar that night. I copped a lot of stick from the Aussies for not doing a beer bong and quickly accepted being called a pussy for the night. It didn’t bother me too much, I’d gotten used to it whilst I was in Australia. I had an odd argument with a Kiwi dude who had told me to leave the area where he table was, as I was apparently too angry. This was odd because I was the happiest that I had been in a while, and was only looking around for a lighter. I pointed at him and let him know that I thought he was an idiot. He came over to our table later that night to have a go at me again, but his girlfriend pulled him away and apologised, saying he’d had too much to drink. I’m not quite sure what his problem was, maybe he fancied me or something, typical Kiwi’s, backwards. We decided that night that we wouldn’t go back to Kampala the next day, there wasn’t much to do and Lindsay just wanted to look at Mosque’s. I told her about a charity that was being run close by, and explained that they do tours of their projects and you can help out for a day too, she thought it sounded cool and decided to come along.
Callum was pretty hungover in the morning, he had drunk way to much the night before. Apparently he ended up naked, and was lingering around the campsite doing cartwheels. He was a pretty funny dude. We had breakfast. I ordered a fry up, which cost me a little bit so I was a bit annoyed when the sausages came out raw. I sent them back and just told the guy to burn the shit out of them. When you ordered food here, it would come out to the bar and then the guy would shout out your name, usually pronouncing it wrong. He didn’t know mine, so when it came out he was just shouting ‘sausages! sausages!’ It was pretty funny, but maybe one of those ones where you had to be there. They were cooked, but I still felt ill afterwards. Worrying about getting salmonella, we met with Kibi, one of the directors of Soft Power Education, and he talked to us a little about the project before we headed out to see if for ourselves. He was a really nice guy, with good English and a decent sense of humour too. We headed out shortly afterwards. It didn’t take us long to get to the primary school section, the kids were in class, so Kibi spoke a bit more about the scale of the project that they were running, I didn’t realise quite how big their reach was, what they have achieved is amazing. The primary school kids came out, we played with them for a bit, did a few dances and the hokey pokey as well, it was fun, and nice to be around children again, they make you feel happy. Hope I don’t sound like a pedo here.
 After that, we walked about fifteen minutes towards the headquarters. I was amazed at how developed it was, it really showed how if you have the right people running things, and working hard towards getting good sponsors and donations, you can really make a difference in poor communities. We were shown around, and explained about the renewable energy program they were running. They used human waste, cow manure and other substances to create gas, which they then used to cook with etc. The main aim for this is to try to educate people to stop using so much wood, and to find more renewable ways of providing energy and gas. Kibi said that 98% of people in Uganda don’t have gas or electricity, and their population is over 34 million. Quite an amazing figure when you think about it. When the power goes out on a street at home, it’s like the end of the world, but here people just accept it and make do. The school here even had a computer room, a theatre, an arts room, and their own vegetable garden too. The children who get to go to this school really are fortunate, the impact it could have on their futures is huge, and I really appreciated how much hard work had gone into this project. I decided that I would be interested in coming back here at some point, and hopefully volunteering for them, possibly with disabled children. I got a couple of email addresses and phone numbers to call, I haven’t emailed yet as I’m not quite sure what my plans are for the next month or so. My priority is Mama Mary and the house, but going to Uganda for a little bit just made me want to travel around even more and see other parts of Africa. I plan to, but I need to get the house finished first.
Part of the tour involved us going to a local school, which Soft Power Education ran, and helping to paint some of the walls in the classrooms. Everybody got quite into it and cracked on, but I sat back and watched. I didn’t want to get paint on my t-shirt. I know it sounds pathetic but it was my WHY? T-shirt, and it’s one of my favourites. I bailed shortly afterwards and walked into one of the classrooms where the kids were revising English in preparation for their forthcoming end of year tests. They were all pretty distracted by me, I wasn’t sure if they’d ever been so close to a white person before, but they seemed to be enjoying it which was cool. I helped the teacher do some marking, and spoke with her about the sad situation of some of the children. A lot of them were orphaned, and were HIV positive. It’s so common across Africa but it never fails to get you down when you see it right in front of you. I guess they just have to make the most of their lives and do what they can to enjoy it, Soft Power Education is definitely helping to do that. The teacher left, so I just started messing around with the kids, tickling them, chasing them etc. Tom came and joined in, we took pictures and a few videos, every time the flash went on the camera the kids went nuts! Screaming and jumping around like crazy, it was good fun. It started to rain pretty heavily, so we headed over to the room where the other people on the trip were sitting. Kibi was handing out t-shirts and seeing if we wanted to buy one. It took me a while to find one which I liked and had a good fit, but in the end I got a nice blue one. I like it, possibly a new favourite. We ate lunch, but didn’t have enough forks or spoons to go around so we had to eat the majority of our meal with our hands. Very unsanitary, and I’m pretty sure that was what messed my stomach up for the past few days. It rained, and rained and rained. We were all pretty tired and wanting to get back to the campsite, I think Kibi noticed, so he put a cover on top of the van that we came in. All soaking wet from the short walk to the truck, we piled into the back and headed home. The journey was fun, sketchy but fun. We were so cramped in the back, and somebody let an absolutely stinker go, which wasn’t very pleasant. The guys all laughed about it, the girls definitely weren’t impressed. I did some Bear Gryll’s impressions about the danger of this terrain to pass the time. We got back and I went to sleep for a few hours, when I woke up it was pretty late and everybody had cracked on with drinking. We had decided not go on the booze cruise that evening, and judging by the state of the people who had at eight o clock in the evening, I was pretty glad that we hadn’t. They were all an absolute mess, it was funny to watch. I stayed up pretty late chatting with a girl who was from Brighton, she had assumed that I was gay, typical. Shortly after that I went and crashed out.
The next day we had a flight leaving Entebbe airport at 1 40pm. After saying goodbye to people, exchanging numbers and email addresses, we left the campsite at around eight, as it could take four hours to get to the airport. The drive was nice, but a bit sketchy. About half an hour in we saw an overturned truck with a dead body lying limp against the window of the cabin, not the nicest thing to see in the morning. When we arrived in Entebbe I asked the driver if he could take us to a chemist so I could grab some valium for the plane, I’d lost mine. He said he would take us but then ending up driving straight to the airport, I wasn’t very happy with him. Not the end of the world though so we went into the airport and checked in. We were told at check in that our flight was delayed for an hour, leaving us with three hours until departure. I didn’t want to sit around the airport for ages, so I asked at the counter if I could go to Entebbe and come back later on. They then told us that the flight had been cancelled. Lindsay and I were pretty pissed off, as they didn’t seem too apologetic about it, and one of them was laughing. Not very professional but that’s Africa for you. They wouldn’t let me go back into Entebbe, so I kicked up a bit of a fuss and asked them how they expect to be flying direct to Paris and London soon if they can’t even find a second plane if one has a technical problem, they didn’t answer. We waiting around for an hour or so, and went for the occasional cigarette. I chatted to a guy called Kane, who was a marketing manager for Heineken in East Africa. It seemed like he had a good job, and I spoke to him about my hope to one day live in Africa but that I was worried about not making enough money. He lived in Nairobi, and told me about the current economic growth rate in Kenya, and how there were many opportunities to start different businesses there. I thought hard for a while and came up with a rough idea of something that I could do. I’m not telling you though, I want to keep it a secret in case one of you steals my idea. I think it’s a good one. Eventually, the airline got us onto a flight to Nairobi, and then a connecting flight from there to Kilimanjaro airport, which is about an hour out of Arusha. It was so nice to get back. Of course we had to wait around again for an hour or so until the shuttle left, but it was worth it when we got back. It’s strange how much it felt like I was coming home, I really love Arusha, and I like the people I’m living with a lot too. It was lovely to see Jennica too, I had missed her. 

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