First Day in Uganda

It’s been a very eventful day.  My flight arrived in Entebbe just after 6am local time, and, though they were delayed a little on their way to the airport, I was met by Ben, a Shanti Uganda staff member, and Ali, an intern who has been in Uganda for nearly a year.  We drove the 45 minutes or so to Kampala, and stopped at a mall where I was able to exchange my US money for Ugandan shillings, buy a cell phone and airtime, and stock up on groceries.  My phone number while I’m in Uganda will be 011 256 75 8522667.  We’re 10 and 7 hours ahead of the Pacific and Eastern time zones, respectively.

In addition to the shopping in Kampala, I also had the chance to purchase food from the supermarket and outdoor fruit stalls in Kasana.  Vanessa, another Shanti Uganda volunteer and I walked over from our volunteer house, which is located just a few minutes away from the shops.  The house itself is very comfortable, with a nice kitchen/dining/common area, a bedroom with bunk beds for volunteers, and a Western-ish style bathroom.  I’ll get photos another day when there’s more light and maybe give a little virtual tour of my surroundings.

Despite the many things that make Uganda unique from anywhere else I’ve been, nothing so far has left me feeling completely discombobulated.  It’s been fascinating to see what’s done differently from what I’m used to, and where similarities do exist.  Things like boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) sailing through traffic on whatever side/in whatever manner they choose are quite a sight to see, as are the goats and chickens milling amongst the crowds of people buying food in town.

Tomorrow I’m off to see the site where all of Shanti Uganda’s maternity, teen girls’, and women’s activities and workshops take place.  It’s a 30 or so minute walk or quick boda boda ride away.  I’ll also be picking up a SIM card for a USB stick that lets me get the internet on my laptop without having to make a trip to the internet cafe, which should allow for much more frequent updates.

Before all that, I’m heading to bed to catch up on the sleep I didn’t get on the planes over…