Random Bits of News

Posing with the teen girls and Ivone, one of the leaders of the women's group.

It’s been a busy few days around here, as Kristen (the project coordinator) is getting ready to head back to Canada at the end of the month.  She will be gone for two and a half weeks, so there’s plenty of work to be done before her departure.  We had a volunteer meeting on Monday to go over what everyone’s projects will be for November, and we certainly won’t be lacking for things to do!  Vanessa and I have one more weekend of the teen girls workshop to teach, which we’re really looking forward to.  Saturday’s topic is nutrition, so we’re planning on doing some cooking beforehand and taking snacks for the girls.  Sunday we don’t have huge amounts of content to get through, and since it’s Halloween, we’re bringing a Harry Potter film on one of our laptops for the girls to watch.  I’ve really enjoyed having the opportunity to work with this group of young women, and am looking forward to preparing and leading more of these workshops over the next few months.

The women’s textiles group has been making bags at a furious pace, in order to have the huge order that was put in from Canada done in time for Kristen to take with her.  We’ve done a few buying days with them so far, and the purchased bags now fill up nearly an entire bunk in the volunteer’s room.  Kristen saw the pile today, and is starting to wonder how on earth she’s going to fit them all into a fifty pound suitcase…

Aside from being at the Maternity Centre during the days, it was a pretty quiet weekend.  We did have a bit of an unexpected visitor the other night, when Kristen opened the door to our bathroom and discovered a bat had made its way in through an opening in the ceiling, and was perched in our shower stall.  Since it was the middle of the night, we left it there and had the landlord come by in the morning to shoo it out the window with a broom.  I’ve seen a cockroach or two crawling around the house at various points, and Vanessa said that one of the area roosters was walking around inside the other week, but a bat takes the cake so far, I think.

For our days off this week, Vanessa and I were initially planning on heading back to Kampala, but because they were holding the presidential nominations at the airfield there earlier this week, we’ve been told that it might be better to avoid the city for the next little while.  Instead, we’re going to stay at a hotel in Luwero town, just a few minutes from us.  It’ll be nice to have a chance to explore that village, and the hotel has hot water, internet, and televisions in the rooms. Since we’re only going for one night, it also means that we can bank the extra day off and take a three day weekend another time.

Already our November calendar is filling up, with a lots of interesting things happening.  My main project will be working with the midwives to put together the many workshops they’re planning for expectant mothers coming to the centre.  Since they’re the ones with the expertise, my role will be more about facilitation (doing any additional research they need, assembling the materials and lesson plans for each workshop, and putting together a binder so that all the information is easily accessible).

Our plans for our days off are also firming up.  Vanessa and I are booked in for a 3 day safari to Murchison Falls at the beginning of the month, where we’ll have a chance to see wildlife from both land and water, as well as do a hike to the falls themselves.  It’ll be my first big ticket tourist experience of this trip, and I’m very much looking forward to it (and will be sure to take plenty of photos and video of everything we see!)  We’re also planning on going to Entebbe (the city that the airport is in) the weekend Kristen gets back.  She heard that there is someplace near one of the hostels where you can play beach volleyball, so we’re hoping to have a big beach party and send the two volunteers who will be done working with Shanti that weekend off in style.

Lots to look forward to in the next little while – I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated on all of it!