Friday, September 30, 2016

Luganda Diary: September 22, 2016

I left home on Monday morning at 4:50am to head to JFK for the long trek to Uganda. We finally reached Nakaseke, Uganda at 6:30pm on Wednesday. A day later than planned after a missed connection in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The delay allowed us to spend the afternoon in South Africa. We went to a Lion & Safari park about an hour away from the airport. Us/We is Kendal and I. Kendal is one of my colleagues from AUC. I think we first met when she was an anatomy TA my first semester. She was ahead of me and we didn't really interact much until finding out we were we both doing a Global Health rotation in Africa at the same time.  We clicked right away. Talking and laughing easily. Taking everything in stride from the very beginning. Agreeing that this was a very wild idea but having no doubts that this would be an awesome experience. We met up at JFK Airport on Monday morning and have been by each other's side since. 

It's 12:49am (Thursday morning), we're sleeping in bunk beds in a room inside a row of 4 rooms within a gated area. This is our housing compound for the next 5 weeks. There's an open air courtyard that holds a large dining table, kitchen sink area, and room to spread out. The toilet and shower rooms are right behind the unit where the family taking care of us stays.  It's a quick few steps thru the courtyard and around the corner. 

We share the compound with Winnie, Ronald & their 2yo daughter Roona(pronounced Rhona).  Ronald works as an administrator with ACCESS.  Winnie cooks for us, looks after us, and makes sure we have the necessities. 

Once we arrived at the ACCESS Uganda campus, we had a brief orientation about the organization we're working with during our stay. What they do. Who they serve. And what our roles would be.  After orientation, our host Winnie, helped us get our bags into our room and served us dinner: fried Irish potato cakes, beef sausages, cabbage/tomato salad and tea. The food was very tasty and by 9pm I was ready to call it a night. I showered, applied lots of bug repellant, & climbed up on my top bunk. I think I was asleep in less than 5 minutes!  

I slept for what felt like all night. At least 6-7hours. Opened my eyes to total darkness and realized I was somewhat tangled in my mosquito net. It's also raining....It's loud against the corrugated metal roof we have....Wait, how could it still be dark after all those hours of sleep? I press the indiglo button on my watch and it reads 12:01am. No way! I just slept for what felt like all night. I must have pressed some buttons by mistake while sleeping and adjusted the time. I look at my cell phone, resting near my pillow to serve as a flashlight and alarm clock. It says 12:01am as well. Ok, so I've only been asleep for just shy of 3 hours?!? And guess what? I've gotta pee!

Its raining. Raining is kind of an understatement; It sounds like a monsoon outside of our room. We both have to use the restroom. It's the darkest I've ever seen. The power is out. The only thing illuminating the outside of our window is the brief lightening flashes every so often. The bathroom is in another building, only a 15 second walk around the corner inside of our housing compound. But the rain outside....It's a torrential downpour that's been going on at least 45minutes. 
We each have a bucket meant for bathing. If the rain doesn't let up soon, it just may have to serve a different purpose tonight....until next time. 

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