A Travellerspoint blog

We Go We Go, Uganda Cranes We Go

On Saturday, a group of us went to a Uganda Cranes game at Namboole stadium -- something I've been hoping we'd get a chance to do before returning to Canada (there aren't many home games...maybe three since we've been here). Anyway, the entire experience was so typically African. Our special hire was over an hour late to pick us; then we waited in line for a long time to get in only to discover that the stadium was totally jam-packed and there were absolutely no seats available despite the fact that we had opted for VIP tickets which cost three times as much as regular tickets. We heard later, that the event had been massively oversold (70,000 tickets for stadium that seats only 40,000!) so you can imagine just how crowded the place was. Just when it looked like we would have to cut our losses and head back home without so much as a glimpse of the pitch, we found ourselves at just the right place at the right time -- a small side gate with a manageable group of VIP holders like ourselves who were equally unimpressed with their plight. Someone convinced the attending guards to allow us through and we wound up in the company of the media and security guards not far from the sidelines. It was an important match, a qualifying game for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and Uganda beat Guinea Bissau 2-0. The energy in the stadium was amazing! Check out the video for a little taste of the team spirit we observed.

And here are a few pics.

Getting our faces painted

Getting our faces painted


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Funny hair

Funny hair


Not sure if this is a mascot...or what?

Not sure if this is a mascot...or what?


Full-on riot gear

Full-on riot gear


P6040101.jpgScoreboard

Scoreboard


Tree branches decorate a mutatu...the branches were a pretty common sight on the front of bodas during the recent election parades

Tree branches decorate a mutatu...the branches were a pretty common sight on the front of bodas during the recent election parades


The whole ganga, minus me

The whole ganga, minus me


I think that's beer in the water bottle at the front of that boda

I think that's beer in the water bottle at the front of that boda


Not sure why this photo isn't displaying but it was a shot of the palm of my hand which I accidentally took when some guy on the street reached in through the window and tried to grab the camera out of my hand. Same thing happened to Kara -- she wasn't so lucky <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_sad.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':(' title='' />

Not sure why this photo isn't displaying but it was a shot of the palm of my hand which I accidentally took when some guy on the street reached in through the window and tried to grab the camera out of my hand. Same thing happened to Kara -- she wasn't so lucky :(

Posted by BriteLite 19:28 Comments (0)

Making Paper

Just when you thought you might never hear from me again...

Well, it turns out I haven't completely abandoned my blog after all!

This morning, I took the kids on a field trip with a group of fellow home-schoolers to Paper Craft Uganda. It's located about thirty minutes outside of Kampala and, while it isn't much to look at, the little workshop is humming with activity and turns out beautiful handmade cards, photo albums, soaps, beaded jewelry made from recycled glass and more!

Arriving at Paper Craft

Arriving at Paper Craft

We spent a couple of hours there, touring the place and trying our hand at paper-making and paper craft production. Each student made six pieces of paper and also came home with a personalized, hand-made picture frame or card set. We were even given some time to shop! Check out these photos from our outing.

Banana tree fibres are snipped into small pieces...

Banana tree fibres are snipped into small pieces...


...and then allowed to cook slowly in a massive "saucepan" for a couple of days

...and then allowed to cook slowly in a massive "saucepan" for a couple of days


Paper pulp soaks in big buckets

Paper pulp soaks in big buckets


When it's time to make paper, the pulp is mixed with dye and water in these massive troughs

When it's time to make paper, the pulp is mixed with dye and water in these massive troughs

Each of the kids taking turns making their own sheets of paper. The only necessary materials are a screen (made of mosquito netting which I thought was pretty ingenious) and a frame which, together, are dipped into the murky water and then drained and set to dry.

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Dozens of wooden racks simplify the process of drying the paper

Dozens of wooden racks simplify the process of drying the paper

While the organization is called Paper Craft, they also produce soap and glass beads and everything is made on-site, from start to finish, using mostly recycle items and good, old-fashioned elbow grease.

Glass bottles are crushed into a powder and then poured into these moulds before being baked in the fire

Glass bottles are crushed into a powder and then poured into these moulds before being baked in the fire


A man places a mould into the fire

A man places a mould into the fire


The finished product

The finished product


The only unsustainable part of the entire operation as far as I could tell...firewood for fuel, and lots of it!

The only unsustainable part of the entire operation as far as I could tell...firewood for fuel, and lots of it!


Babies are welcome at the workplace

Babies are welcome at the workplace


A woman works to fill an order for 500 miniature bars of soap which are bound for a local guesthouse

A woman works to fill an order for 500 miniature bars of soap which are bound for a local guesthouse

Posted by BriteLite 12:09 Archived in Uganda Comments (1)

A Taste of Village Life

Yesterday, to celebrate Easter, the kids and I went with Resty, one of the Sunday school teachers from Amazing Grace church, to her village about an hour north of Kampala. I wasn't too excited about the drive there and back (since traffic is usually backed up on that particular route) and wondered whether I would regret accepting her invitation. In the end, despite getting home well after the kids' bedtime, we were all happy we went. After a hearty lunch of matooke, rice, g-nut sauce, chicken, pork, cassava and greens, we had a look around the property, six acres boasting fruit trees and vegetable crops and home to chickens and pigs. During lunch, one of Resty's friends who had joined us for the day, told me a little bit about the culture where she comes from in Eastern Uganda. She told me how once she is married, she will not be allowed to eat or speak in the presence of her father-in-law. Only after two years, will there be a formal ritual which will change the nature of their relationship and give her permission to be a little more relaxed in his presence. She also told me that, after she marries, while her mother will not be permitted in her bedroom, her mother-in-law may enter whenever she likes. Her father, too, may enter...but not her father-in-law. Unusual customs, at least in the mind of this unaccustomed mzungu.

After lunch, the kids went to work hoeing in the "garden" and harvesting eggplants, avocados and mangoes. Resty's father, left her mother, when Resty was just two years old and her mother has been working hard ever since to provide for the family (which now includes her deceased brother's two children). Somehow, she has managed to purchase land and build a house and does her best to earn cash by raising livestock and selling surplus fruits and vegetables and, up until last year, producing a local home brew called tonto.

After our garden tour, we went around to visit the neighbours. One woman, called Nalongo (because she is the mother of twins -- two sets, actually) has fourteen children which she has been raising along since her husband died of AIDS several years back. The youngest of all the twins is HIV-positive as are some of the older children. The children don't speak English and don't attend school and I tried not to think about the bleakness of their future. Her children and mine danced together and we were given several large avocados -- a thank you gift for performing.

While we were out and about getting to know the neighbours, Resty's older sister arrived with an entourage of young boys toting a generator, sound system and laptop. Apparently, they were the youth from her church and were there to help host a birthday party. All of this seemed to come as a surprise to Resty, but she quickly took on the role of MC and with the help of members of the audience (including my girls who were scheduled to perform a song and dance) put on a rather formal show. Parties and celebrations are a big deal here; everything was very official, despite the fact that the celebrations were for a one-year old who seemed oblivious to the fact that he had reached the one-year milestone. Good fun and a very memorable experience!

Resty and her mother, a resourceful lady whose bubbly laugh belies a life of hardship

Resty and her mother, a resourceful lady whose bubbly laugh belies a life of hardship


a special type of locally-grown banana which is ripened underground and then, in what I've been told is a three-person job, is pounded and wrung out to produce banana juice...a special treat we got to sample with Easter dinner

a special type of locally-grown banana which is ripened underground and then, in what I've been told is a three-person job, is pounded and wrung out to produce banana juice...a special treat we got to sample with Easter dinner


Mama Resty grows coffee beans

Mama Resty grows coffee beans


And eggplant

And eggplant


Papaya

Papaya


Jackfruit

Jackfruit


Even ginger

Even ginger


Mama Resty, busy in the "kitchen"

Mama Resty, busy in the "kitchen"


Graham holds up a huge avocado we received as a gift from one of Resty's neighbours

Graham holds up a huge avocado we received as a gift from one of Resty's neighbours


Mara and her friend, Dianna, enter a neighbour's home, arm in arm

Mara and her friend, Dianna, enter a neighbour's home, arm in arm


Yikes!

Yikes!


Resty's oldest sister holding her last-born (youngest child) who also happened to be the birthday boy

Resty's oldest sister holding her last-born (youngest child) who also happened to be the birthday boy


Pretty girl in a pretty dress

Pretty girl in a pretty dress


Little did my girls know they were on the program for live entertainment! They were good sports and happily played the part of party entertainers

Little did my girls know they were on the program for live entertainment! They were good sports and happily played the part of party entertainers


Cutting the cake

Cutting the cake

Posted by BriteLite 05:55 Archived in Uganda Comments (2)

Aiya!!

Yesterday, Brooke's Tae Kwan Do class did a demonstration for Heritage International School's talent show. I was pretty proud of my soon-to-be Blue Belt!

Posted by BriteLite 21:09 Archived in Uganda Comments (1)

8 Weeks, 6 Days

The countdown begins

After a temporary hiatus, I am back. Let's just say I've spent the last couple of weeks pouting and harbouring a very legitimate grudge against travellerspoint.com ever since I spent a really LONG time preparing a blog only to lose it, just moments before it was published. It has been taking me forever to upload photos and publish blogs on this site and the latest incident was the last straw. Till now. I've returned to the blog with a new approach; I've decided if I just stick to text, the task of posting entries will seem less daunting. Maybe I can put the photos onto Facebook.

Anyway, the real reason I am writing is to state the obvious...the end is near! I know my time here is drawing to a close when I find myself making mental lists of things I want to stock up on and bring home (funny things like wax matches and dishwashing paste that I've come to really appreciate during my stay -- if only my propane stove was portable!) I've also got this nesting-like urge to go through all my cupboards and clean out the clutter so packing will be a little easier when June suddenly hits. I keep reminding myself that I've got to start thinking seriously about selling the truck and various household items (which means I should probably transfer the truck into my name one of these days!)

It seems like there's so much still to be done, but the thought of going home seems to be front and centre at the moment. I wish I could focus more on the resource centre and the businesses I've started with my house help -- even homeschool stuff should be receiving more of my attention -- but lately I just keep envisioning myself back in the sunny Okanagan, running (or maybe just walking to start) down Gardom Lake road with my iPod and Moses keeping me company. Ah, sheer bliss!

OK. Enough daydreaming...

Posted by BriteLite 02:40 Archived in Uganda Comments (1)

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