Well I have been in Uganda for one week already....Time has flown by this week. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was at the airport. I don't think I have ever been happier as when I got off the plane and got through customs and saw that Mija had made it safely as well. As most of you know, I was so terrified to have her fly but we all made it. Even Calcetas calmed down during the course of our journey. I met another woman at the airport who was also bringing her dog, but hers was left in Amsterdam and no one told her until the plane was backing out. I simply cannot imagine....
I have experienced so many new things here and have so many stories already. Forgive me if they come out a little disorganized. As time goes on, I am sure I will get the hang of this blogging thing and hopefully they will make more sense.
On my first day here, we first visited the women's project (Hope House) that I will be helping with. There are 15 women that were given a job making jewelry so they could get off the streets and earn an honest living. The jewelry is made from glass beads and they earn a weekly allowance and are paid for each piece of quality jewelry they make. Currently, another girl is here and is taking care of all the correspondences associated with Hope House but when she leaves in approximately one month, it will become my responsibility.
Whenever we want to get someplace quickly, we take bodas (motorcycle taxis). Riding a motorcycle isn't the frightening part but the driving is. Reckless would be a very mild term to describe their driving. Since there is so much traffic and people everywhere, they just drive where ever they find space and even where there is no space (on the "sidewalk", in between cars, etc.). I think I literally died 5 times my first day at the hands of the boda drivers. My leg got squished while riding on the boda between it and a truck and got hit with a boda passenger's suitcase while I was walking which caused me to almost fall over and them to almost crash. There were other close encounters, and that is where the title of my blog came from. During one such encounter, I was told that those are the welcome to Africa type moments.
The boys, which is the reason I came, are absolutely amazing. There are 16 of them living in the house and they range in age from about 7-17. There are also 3 uncles and 4 aunts (including myself). The boys are so sweet and so helpful. Saturday I had laundry to do (you have to wash everything by hand) and while I was washing, 2 of them came and took it out of my hand and pushed me aside and did it for me. They are also very protective. Whenever we are out, they won't let anyone talk to me and if they try and touch me, they hit their hand away. The other day at the market, I was with 2 of the boys and we were waiting for 2 of the other aunties and a guy tried talking to me. I told him that I was there with them and we were waiting for someone. He then asked if they were mine and when I said yes, the look on his face was absolutely priceless. He looked at me and then at them and told me but I am white and they aren't. One of the boys then told him that they were mine and the guy walked away in utter bewilderment.
Over the weekend, we had an accident at the house from two of the boys playing and had to take the one to the hospital to get stitches. He is fine but the hospital here was very strange. There is no emergency room and no signs clearly directing you where you need to be. After we walked around for at least 15 minutes trying to find the right place, we were sent to admissions, where you pay just to be seen. Then they send you to the room to wait for someone to attend to you. The nurse then has to call a doctor and so it took what seemed like forever before we were seen. Then we had to go back and pay more. I don't know what happens if you can't pay. probably you don't get seen.
I have more to share but that is enough for today. I will try and post pictures of the boys later tonight or tomorrow.