It took 24 hours and no less than 6 forms of transport, but we have arrived!
When we got off the plane, through immigration, picked up 330kg worth of luggage (more about that in another blog) and headed out into the bright sunshine. Waiting for us was the warmest welcome ever from Sheila, who set up the link, and some of the ladies she knows from here. It was like we were long lost friends reuniting, with huge excitement and many, very big hugs.
We then piled on the bus and drove to the guest house where we’re staying. The minibus took us the 2 and a half hours through the city, large towns and more rurual areas. People stared at us with increasing frequency as we got into the countryside. I sat on the back seat and repeatedly felt my lungs fill fuller, my heart beat deeper and my prayers flow more easily.
We wound our way along good roads, drinking in the views of the shops, markets, people, transport (praise God that I’m not learning to drive here!), animals, scenery and soaking up some sun through the windows.
We then had our evening meal which was lovely, and I was confronted with my old enemy… the sausage fly. I’d managed to wipe all memory of these 5cm long, extremely loud and impossibly daft beings. They have a loud buzz and smack into things with a loud thud. And yet, when several flew into my head after tea last night, I was very surprised and less than impressed. In my tired state I asked to get down from the table and had an early night.
I awoke today feeling refreshed, if a little disorientated. We woke an hour early but had a nice breakfast in the hazy African sun. We set off in a taxi and travelled to Kalule. Here, our warm welcome continued and we have even been given a welcome cake!
We spent the morning looking round the school, church and women’s hut, and got to meet each of the school classes! Every classroom is pretty basic, but years 1 & 2 were decorated with handwritten pieces of flipchart paper, and had never been painted.
By mid-afternoon we had dispatched a couple of people to buy paint, brushes and wall strippers, had sampled local cassava (a tasty root vegetable), and had pulled the paper off the walls of the classroom. The paint arrived (sky blue and the most lime green ever!) and once the kids had gone home, we set to. Many hands make light work and by the time we left we had done nearly half.
As ever, it’s just a couple of days in, and it feels like we’ve been here together for ages. Our welcome has been overwhelming and we’re having a great time.
More pics and stories to follow!
Lots of love.