Shanti in Canada

A bit of an administrative day around here. It’s just Vanessa and I in the volunteer house for the next few weeks, and today Ali wasn’t around either, as she went to Kampala and Entebbe with Ben, the Shanti driver, and Emma, the lab technician, to do some shopping for the centre and to mail another shipment of bags. We had lots of visitors around our place this morning; Ben and Emma came by to get the Shanti vehicle, and two of the textiles women, Robinah and Rose, also came over to drop off the most recent order of bags. Once we managed to get everything packed into (and on top of) the truck, Ben and Emma headed off to pick up Ali.

Vanessa was at the centre today, and I was working on the final revisions for the teen girls manual. Or at least I was after I returned from depositing money at the bank in town. Vanessa and I are going on a safari this coming weekend, and in order to be picked up en route we had to pay beforehand. All simple enough, except that I didn’t factor in what was involved in doing anything at the bank that required actually going inside the building during banking hours. I spent a good chunk of Friday afternoon waiting in a line that never really got any shorter, while various people came in and, as far as I could tell, bypassed the line entirely and walked to the front to get their banking done. Apparently this is a very common occurrence, according to Kristen, who, among many other duties, deals with Shanti’s day-to-day finances here in Uganda. Seeing as I wasn’t making any progress, I ended up just leaving and deciding to try again when the bank opened on Monday. Luckily on my return trip the line I was in actually moved, albeit at a glacial pace. Regardless, I was able to finally pay for our safari, and left feeling very thankful that the vast majority of my banking needs here only require a visit to the ATM.

It’s a short week for Vanessa and I, since we’ll be leaving for Murchison Falls on Friday morning. Before then, we’ve both got projects to keep us busy at the centre. I’ll be working with the midwives to put together that book of prenatal workshop information and resources, and Vanessa is going to be creating educational posters for the walls of the birth house. We’ve also pencilled in an arts and crafts day to make signs for the gardens at site, that will have information in Luganda and English about the health benefits of various things planted there. With the teen girls workshop and manual more or less wrapped up (for now, at least), it’s nice to have new things to take on. I’ve also been spending some of my downtime reading through my Uganda guidebook, and making note of the places and things I’d like see and do over the next few months. So many possibilities!

For those of you who have been wondering about how to purchase the bags I’ve been talking so much about, they are available for sale through the Shanti website. Shanti also sells their bags and jewelry at lots of festivals and events around BC, but I’m still trying to locate a list of where exactly they’ll be in the coming months.  I’ll pass along those details as soon as I have them.  And of course, if you don’t mind waiting until February, I’d be happy to purchase things directly from the women here and bring them back with me.  As an added bonus, if you’re buying that way, you can put in specific requests about colour, style, etc.

I’m off to bed, but couldn’t resist including another adorable kid photo.  This one was taken while Vanessa and I were at the print shop getting the teen girls manuals bound.  These two came over to play on the generator outside the store, and later sat down with another friend to read a paper (or that’s what it looked like, anyways).  Too cute!