We woke up this morning to no power and no water. Yesterday the heat had been building up. Normally it’s around a steady 23 degrees – (remember the fact that although we are very close to the equator, we are almost 5,000 feet above sea level here) – but it was clear from early yesterday morning that it was going to be much hotter, and indeed it reached 29 degrees. Rabecca told us that a storm always follows such a rise in temperature, and sure enough, by 5 o’clock, a torrential downpour began, the likes of which I have never seen before. ‘Downpour’ somehow suggests something short- lived, but not here! It must have been at least an hour, and then was followed by another, equally fierce, much later in the evening. The net consequence of these storms is loss of all services.
Breakfast somehow miraculously appears. There is always a flask of boiled water for the tea, bananas, more pineapple than I have eaten in my whole life, and, if we are lucky, fried or boiled eggs. Dependent, it seems, on the ‘egg man’ who may or not call first thing. We are also given a packet of very dry sliced white bread, which is very sweet. We think that maybe Dickens is under the impression that that is what English people like.
We asked him yesterday if there is any local bread, but no luck so far!
Another frustration this morning is that the modem we have bought has stopped working, meaning that we have no internet again. I can’t upload pictures to the blog, and Steve can’t do his work.
We have introduced a phrase amongst our Ugandan friends here, which is ‘The Day After Tomorrow’.
We use it to explain when we think something that has been promised/arranged with the best of intentions, is just not going to happen. ‘ They’ll do it the day after tomorrow!’
We have visited the coffee plantation and factory which is part of the CHIFCOD organisation, which has Hamlet at its helm. Local farmers who have relatively small harvests of organic coffee beans bring them here: it is a community enterprise which supports them and also helps with the funding of some children’s education.
They produce the best grade of coffee – Arabica – as well as Robusta, the next grade down. We saw the whole complex process, but the beans are finally sent to another factory in Kampala for roasting and packaging.
I can highly recommend it! Gorilla Summit coffee – I think you can get it from Taylor’s of Harrogate as well as direct from Hull Collegiate School. Apparently a lot of the coffee that is grown in Uganda by small producers, is sold to large companies from Kenya, who not only exploit them to make big profits, but it is packaged and sold as ‘Kenyan’ coffee.
The other place we have visited recently is Kazuru Camp. This is the base for volunteers working through teachuganda.com for 6 or 12 weeks, and for Limited Resource Teacher Training (LRTT) which uses qualified teachers to improve teacher training in the area. It is high in the mountains near here, with views over Bwindi Forest and the distant hills that mark the beginning of The Democratic Republic of Congo. There are still large numbers of refugees fleeing from the conflict there. We have seen the white UN vehicles on the roads around here, transporting desperate people to camps in Kisoro, which is the largest town close to the border. They will be safe there, but what possible future there can be for them is hard to imagine.
The two young women who are running Kazuru camp seem remarkable. Lauren is American (or possibly Canadian?) and Rebecca is from the Home Counties. They have a wealth of experience between them of working various locations in the developing world.
They have goats to keep the grass down, and have recently bought a pig from the University! As well as sleeping quarters, there is a beautiful large communal area where training takes place, with plenty of space outside for badminton and barbecues. They told us they frequently see black and white monkeys in the trees, and hear chimpanzees calling to each other in the night.