Soft Power Education Week 7

Day 31 – Special Educational Needs at KCC

This week, we were thrilled to be assigned to SEN every day. This was a dream come true and the first time that we’d had the chance since we’d arrived.

When we walked in the door, we were delighted to see Salim doing spelling exercises along with Juma. We hadn’t expected to see him there and we had wondered where he had gotten to after finishing with the builders.

James worked with Salim and Juma,

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Kathryn worked with Moses

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and Jamie struggled to get Jabel to use the magnet board.

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Once everyone had finished with their English exercises, Dan set up Kathryn’s Maths Bowling game. As usual, it was a bit of a struggle to get Jabel to play by the rules but overall it seems like the boys understand the game and can identify all of the skittles and place them in the right order.

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We are very excited that they as well as Dan enjoy the game, especially since they seem to be showing signs of improving with numbers and learning from it.

Day 31After Bowling we played a few rounds of bingo with the food and school bingo sets that Kathryn had made.

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This game is most difficult for Ema since he doesn’t understand the concept of reading out the words before writing them down, he also has trouble determining where to put the words on his bingo sheet. Moses is also challenged by the game but he seems to have a better grasp of it.

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Both Salim and Juma are probably too advanced for the game but neither of them seem to have grasped the concept of fair play as they both try to cheat when we play go fish. A game with a definite winner but also a chance to try again is good for them.

After we finished playing Bingo, we had recess. We had a penalty shootout and Ema won, it seems that Ema has a special skill that lets him win even though he often isn’t sure about what is going on.

After the break the boys all had some biscuits before we got into finger painting. The boys were meant to be painting on paper but it wasn’t long before the game descended to face painting. By the end of the day Juma had a monobrow, Salim was in “white face”, Moses had spontaneously developed a full beard and Ema was just plain covered in paint.

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Day 32- Special Educational Needs at KCC

Today when we arrived at SEN, the morning maths lesson was in full swing. We partnered up and set to helping the boys with their work. We know how much the boys love their art and music so we thought we’d combine the two and have everyone make a musical instrument. Kathryn found a quick and easy Kazoo recipe on Pinterest for that exact purpose.

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We had been saving up empty toilet rolls for at least a week and had collected all of Mekenzie’s left over art supplies when she left so that we could use them to make our Kazoos.

It’s great fun and very easy to make a Kazoo at home, just follow these simple steps.

Materials:

  • Cardboard toilet paper roll
  • Paper squares
  • Rubber band
  • Scissors
  • Art supplies (optional)

Method:

  • First, cut a few holes into the top of the toilet roll.
  • Next, secure a square of paper to one end of the toilet roll using a rubber band.
    • This it cuts off any airflow through the roll and directs it through the holes.
  • Decorate using art supplies! (Optional)
  • Wait for any wet areas to dry.
  • Play!

As usual, when we were decorating out kazoos more paint got onto our hands and faces than actually went onto the instrument. Once our Kazoos were dry, we showed the boys how to play them and began to bring out some other instruments for free music time.

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Once the jam session was in full swing, everyone picked up something to tie around their waist so that they could dance.

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They all love dancing and have such good moves, as soon as the music begins you can tell they are waiting for Dan to let them get up and dance.

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Day 33 – Special Educational Needs at KCC

Kathryn being the Pinterest maniac that she is had found yet another fun education game to play. This one is called Make 10.

It’s a card game that is exactly what it sounds like. First, the Jokers and face cards are removed from the deck and the deck is shuffled. Each player is dealt a set of 5 cards. Using the numbers on the cards and any maths that they can think of, each player tries to make an equation whose final sum is equal to ten. Each card may only be used once per equation and the person who finds the most ways to make 10 is the winner of the round.

Juma loved Make 10 while Salim had trouble understanding the concept of each equation has to equal 10.  We’re not sure what Moses or Ema thought of it but we have a feeling that it might have been a bit complex for them.

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After Make 10, the boys had a life skills lesson where they took turns in washing various dishes. Juma tried to hide to get out of the work which Dan found hilarious and made him do the washing, Ema was on rinsing and Moses and Salim were on drying.

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While they were working Dan told us that the money Salim is earning from his work experience is going into an account and at the end of the year Dan, Salim and his parents will withdraw the money and use it to buy something practical like a cow or a bike. We were very impressed with how Soft Power is helping in this regard.

Next was recess and we had a game of soccer.

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Since Juma doesn’t like playing soccer, he decided to go hide in a nearby hole that had been dug by the East African Playground volunteers renovating KCC.

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After recess it was art time. I think that Dan had become a bit sick of everyone getting covered in paint since today we were using stamps which we coloured in with texta.

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Kathryn and James got a bit carried away with their stamping and produced some wonderful artwork.

Day 34 – James at Police Station

We woke up this morning planning to help Fred again with the tree planting, only to discover that two of the rooms had been broken into overnight and a large amount of property had been stolen from some of the Italians including Bianca’s DSLR camera, Viviana’s and Luigi’s malaria medicine and Jandira’s entire suitcase.

The girls spent the morning making a list of everything that had been taken so they could get a police report. We were amazed at how well they were dealing with the break in. We had a bit of an issue with how our Ugandan friends reacted to the situation but for our own peace of mind we decided to put it down to a cultural difference.

Luckily, everyone had travel insurance so as long as a police report was made they would be able to replace everything except the photos from the camera. Seems simple right? It turns out that a 3 way language barrier makes a police report very difficult to obtain.

Before heading to the police office, it was decided that James would come along with the Italians and Mama Flo. The rationale being that since neither the Italians, nor the Ugandans could speak English perfectly, James would be able to sort out any language barriers that arose.

We piled into a car and headed to the local police precinct which turned out to be little more than a ramshackle hut. When we arrived, there were 5 police in the hut talking in Lugandan. After Flo briefly explained what was going on, we were told to sit down. Once we had sat down, everyone including Flo proceeded to continue talking in Lugandan while all of the non-locals sat in total confusion. After about 5 minutes, James spoke up asking: “What’s going on here?”

It turns out that 3 of the people in the hut were not police officers but were here to see the police about a separate matter. James was amused when the officers told him that they had to wait their turn since there had been no communication about waiting or the identity of anyone else in the room. We had effectively been eavesdropping on a separate case for 5 minutes, it was especially funny since James had assumed that all 5 people were police since they were all dressed in the same uniform (no uniform).

It wasn’t long after that the 3 men left, all looking rather displeased at the outcome of their conversations. James decided not to interpret this as a bad sign of things to come.

The police asked what we were here for and James told them about what had happened and mentioned that each person needed a separate police report including a list of their belongings that had been stolen.

The police immediately asked why we had been staying at Mama Flo’s. James was confused. It wasn’t clear as to how that information would help any kind of investigation into catching the thieves or help in any way to complete the police report. James spoke up again and reminded the police that all anyone wanted was to get a police report for the girls’ insurance and to hopefully even get the items back. The police ignored him and continued to grill Flo about why we were staying there.

After about half an hour, they finally moved on and made up the police reports. The whole process ended up taking about 2.5 hours, about half of which James deemed to be wasted time. We returned to Flo’s with the police who came to inspect the scene of the crime. After they were done they informed the girls that they could pay 100,000UGX (total) for all of the reports which they could then take to the Ugandan Revenue Authority which would give reimburse them for the total estimated value (in shillings) of the stolen goods. Everyone thought that it sounded very fishy so James called Caitlin and asked her opinion. Caitlin asked Aggrey to take the Italians to the police station the next day where they would collect the reports for no charge so that they could give them to their insurance providers instead of the URA.

There was nothing else that we could do to further the investigation so everyone decided that a day off from volunteering was deserved and we headed to River camp where we found Maisie, Jamie and Kathryn.

Day 35 – Special Educational Needs at KCC

After such an exciting day yesterday, SEN seemed like a serious relax effort. True to form, Kathryn had come up with another education fun game for the boys to play. It is kind of word match where half of a word is written on one bit of paper and the other half on another. Each boy is given a suffix letter pair with a list of the words they need to make. They then use the list to find the other part of the word. Once they have finished the list they get another list with a different suffix.

For example: one paper might have the letters “LL”, the boys would then have to locate other letter pairs that when combined with “LL” would make a word. Possible solutions include “BA”, “TA”, “CA”, “FA” and the list goes on.

Kathryn was helping Ema and was thrilled that he could look at the word and most of the time find the corresponding paper from the middle. Ema usually struggles when he is asked to read/spell/write words down and so this was a huge success!

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Once we had gone through the lists we decided to see if they had been paying attention and get them to spell words from a set of letters. Juma did brilliantly and understood that the words were grouped by similar sounds the others did not grasp this concept but still did well.

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Soon, the boys were mentally exhausted and ready for recess. Once again we played soccer for about 15 minutes before returning to the classroom where the boys got their biscuits.

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After the snack we had art. Dan asked if we had any more suggests for art and Kathryn could only think about making “Butterfly paintings”. Where everyone had to paint a picture on half of the page and once they were finished, fold it over to make a mirror image. Needless to say, there were quite a few butterflies.

Day 35

The funniest part about the creative expression lessons like art is watching the boys discover that there isn’t a “right answer”. They’ll try to copy you for a few minutes but when they make a mistake and no one corrects them, they’ll begin to realise that they’re allowed to do their own thing.

After SEN we headed into Jinja where we took the Italians to the Green Shop, the op shop on Main Street. Jandira in particular were shopping for easy replacements to the things that had been stolen.

We spent the good part of the afternoon going through the Green shop. Jandira basically repopulated her entire wardrobe and Maisie did a good job of trying to beat her. Kathryn, true to form made a couple of good finds and James found a great ladies Hawaiian shirt. The best part was that no item in the shop cost more than 1000UGX (40 cents).

Boda Ride

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Soft Power Education Week 6

Day 26 – On site at Kasozi Primary School

At the meeting felt compelled to ask Kathryn Michael if he wanted to stay on site during his stay.  Having blocked from our minds the tedium of painting the school we found ourselves heading back to Kasozi on Monday morning. Kathryn assured the boys that we would be happy when we came back once it was all finished but they were not convinced.

We picked up the red paint on the way and had a very bumpy ride in the truck to the school. Once at the school we were greeted by all the teachers and builders who were excited to see us back. After a short freakout when we realised Betty had given away the mozzie nets at the end of our last stay (she found some for us) we started painting. Simon warned us the red paint is oil based and is not easy to get our your skin/clothing so we had to be careful.

Day 26

Almost straight away our hands were stained red as the ends of the brushes were already covered in paint.  We all had our own music this time which kept our minds occupied while we painted. We had to paint the windows inside and our first and so all took a section each.  We had a break for morning porridge and lunch which gave our hands a break from painting. By the end of the day James had a decent amount of paint on his hands and Kathryn had paint everywhere.

Day 26

We had a delicious dinner cooked by Betty and taught Michael how to play the card game Asshole which we played until bedtime. Dreading the next day we drifted off to sleep, each saying “We are not coming painting again”

Day 27 – On site at Kasozi Primary School

We woke early and took a longer than usual breakfast to put off getting started on the painting. Eventually we realised we had to get over there and get stuck in. Kathryn and Michael were on the second coat of windows/doors inside and out while James and Jamie were on rollers outside.

Day 27

Day 27

Kathryn found a tiny gecko that must have attempted to cross the window during the night and got stuck in the paint. He had obviously been stuck for a long time since he had shat himself everywhere. Kathryn ran out to James and told him to come quick and help! James managed to pry the lizard off the paint and we realised he had red paint in his eye. James removed the red paint using a small amount of turps. He rationalised this to himself saying that the gecko would either be definitely blind in one eye because it is covered in paint or maybe be blind in one eye, depending on how it reacted to the turps. The gecko seemed pretty shaken and James was pretty upset by the whole ordeal but we let him go and he seemed to immediately begin to hunt a fly.

Day 27

Once we got back to painting, we managed to finish the windows and doors, one coat outside and a coat in one of the rooms before Simon told us we had to have an hour break because the fumes were making us high. We said we would keep going because just wanted to be done with painting but Simon insisted. It was raining by this stage and very cold so we all headed into our room and got comfortable under our sleeping bags. Jamie and Michael quickly feel asleep and we were both reading and completely lost track of time. When Simon eventually came into the room to look for us, it was 5pm and too late to get back to painting.

Day 27

The reason that Simon had come around was to find a spare mattress for someone to sleep on. Since Kathryn had been sleeping on two mattresses, she said that she would relinquish one of them. She proceeded to throw all of her things onto James’ and rolled herself over as it was too cold to get out of her sleeping bag. She awkwardly passed the spare mattress to Simon who left quietly muttering about people who go to sleep instead of painting. After she had settled herself again, Kathryn couldn’t find her eReader anywhere. She rolled around a bit more and realised that she had been sitting on it! Kathryn went quiet and very calmly showed James the screen, a quarter of which had frozen. James tried to fix the screen but it appeared that it was a hardware problem and that the screen was permanently broken. We resolved that either Kathryn’s bum had gotten inexplicably large or that this was the original fault in the refurbished reader. James was very impressed with Kathryn since she didn’t even cry!

Day 27

Day 28 – On Site at Kasozi Primary School

We woke early feeling extremely satisfied this was our last day of painting! We decided to get stuck in as soon as we could so we would finish it early and get back to a nice hot shower where we could try and scrub off the red paint that we were now covered in.

Day 28

We had to finish one of the classrooms and then do a second coat on both, Simon also wanted us to do some details but we were strongly against that as none of us were artists. We all felt that it was better to wait until someone skilled was there and could do a good job rather than us just doing it so it’s done. Simon did not agree with our thinking but we point blank refused to do it.

Day 28

We all busied ourselves with Kathryn on the paintbrush finishing the doors and details and the boys on the rollers. James had the good idea of wrapping a baby wipe around the brush handles so not as much paint got on us. It worked very well and we (at least, our hands) were significantly less red by the end of the day!

Day 28

We finished the building before lunch and hid in the classroom so Simon wouldn’t make us do the drawing. We took attractive selfies while we waited.

Day 28Simon did come and get us to add our handprint to the school which Kathryn had very mixed feelings about.

Day 28

After lunch it was time to pack the truck to take us back to River Camp. We took down all the curtains and mozzie nets in our room and carried everything outside where we noticed the builders filling the truck with the leftover stones. We wondered what they were going to do with it as we had to go back in the truck but thought they must have a plan. Next they went over to the pile of sand that was left and shovelled that all into the truck. We asked Simon what was happening to which he responded “Everything has to go back, we can’t leave any trace behind”.  We thought fair enough, but where are we going to sit? Simon just laughed and said “You will see”

Day 28

Next on the truck went the empty paint containers, the wheelbarrows, the tools, the leftover metal and the workers beds. Then they piled on all our stuff and told us to get in. We decided the most comfortable part would be on top of the mattresses, so we got ourselves comfy laughing and shaking our heads at what was happening, saying “If our mum’s saw us now they would kill us!” Once all the builders were piled in there wasn’t much room for anything else but out of nowhere 4 chickens appeared that would also be making the journey with us!

Day 28

We started off bumping away down the dirt track waving goodbye to everyone and noticing a sugarcane truck up ahead that had fallen over. The image of truck doing the same came to mind but we pushed it aside trusting Simon. Out of nowhere all the builders have sugarcane in their hands, some of them had nicked some off the top of the truck! Betty shared some with us and it was delish, was weird because you are literally chewing on a stick but very tasty, almost like a watermelon.Day 28

We made it home in one piece and felt a little bad we weren’t going to be helping unloaded the truck but they thought of hot showers pushed that aside! We headed down to camp to shower and eat chips and share the stories of the last three days.

Day 29 – Amani Baby Cottage

Today we went to ABC to see how Michael had progressed with his walking and to see the 5 week old baby. We found Sauba in with Phillip who was not wanting to do his physio and trying to get away. Phillip needs the physio to ensure he doesn’t lose function of his left hand but he constantly tries to trick Sauba and only use his right hand.

Day 29

It seemed like Phillip was not going to cooperate with Sauba or Joel so after the boys had their porridge, we moved on to see Michael.

Day 29Unfortunately, Michael was also not very interested in doing his exercises and Sauba found it very hard to get him to even walk a small distance. After about 20 minutes of trying various exercises with Michael and playing with the other boys in his dorm, we decided that we weren’t going to be useful to Sauba so we decided to visit the newborn baby.

Day 29

When we walked into the room we were hit with the overpowering smell of spaghetti bolognaise. We were confused until we realised that this was what the babies smelled like. Jeremiah was having his nap time when we arrived in the nursery so we played with the other toddlers. James began playing with Rosie, a cheeky 1.5 year old who was not interested in playing with any of the toys.

Day 29

Kathryn found 1 year old John who was just squirming on the ground. Kathryn let him roll around and bite her glasses.

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We did a bit of a rotation through the babies and eventually James ended up back with Rosie and was letting her play with is glasses. Kathryn sternly told him that it was a horrible idea to let her play with his glasses so he took them away. Within moments, she had her hands on Kathryn’s new cheapie sunnies and even though James had only blinked once, she had snapped off one of the arms. James was in big trouble.

Luckily, it was soon feeding time for the kids and Kathryn was allowed to feed baby Jeremiah from the bottle. Once he was finished he proceeded to vomit all over Kathryn’s shirt. Twice. Somehow, Kathryn was delighted by this.

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Meanwhile James was having a great time pretending to eat John’s mashed cassava which was a great game that John loved. When he wasn’t faking stealing the food from an African child James was surprised how clean John was with his food there was almost no spillage and he ate it all up.

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After lunchtime, the babies went down for a nap and it was time for us to go.

Day 29We hopped on Steve Boda and ran quickly to the bank before heading back to Camp.

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Day 30 – Gardening at the Amagezi Centre

James had been asked to take some photos of the Soft Power staff for their new website so he spent the morning doing that at the Centre. Kathryn and Jamie decided we would head over to see if Fred needed any help in the garden. As usual Fred was delighted to have people helping him and quickly set us up.

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We were planting jackfruit seeds which are given to families in the local community to encourage eco-friendly farming practices.

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Fred helped us until around 11am when he turned and asked “I have to go to a meeting now, may I leave?” We laughed at the thought that if we had said no he would have stayed and helped us. We both agreed that Fred is definitely one of our favourite Ugandans!

Meanwhile, James had wandered about the village trying to find the staff for their portraits. His first stop was Fred. Instead of standing upright and smiling, Fred leaned forward into a very awkward position and gave a double thumbs up. James took a few photos of him in this position and gently suggested that it might be better if he stood up straight and smiled at the camera. Fred, like most Africans has a great smile and James had no trouble coaxing it out. The rest of the staff were not so easy. Most of the time, they would stand there with a blank expression looking very grumpy. Luckily they all have wonderful senses of humour so it was very easy to get them to laugh. After he’d taken photos of all of the staff at the centre, he made his way down to KCC to take photos of the SEN staff. Both Dan and Sauba are very photogenic and it was great fun watching them set themselves up in the perfect position for a photo. Joel, the newest member of staff was the only member of staff wearing suit pants and a shirt and was perhaps the least smiley person on staff and it took quite a bit of encouraging Dan and Sauba to make fun of him to get him to smile.

Once James was back from taking the photos and we had planted all the jackfruit seeds we had been given we decided to call it a day and head down to River Camp. It dawned on us that we only have 2 more weeks with Soft Power and Kathryn started to get a bit sad!

Fahad’s Family Part 2

We had organised with Fahad during the week that we would go to his house on Sunday (10th of August) for lunch. We agreed that we would meet at Mama Flo’s at about 1pm but we had been relaxing by the pool all morning and the time had just flown by. When we finally checked the time, it was exactly 1pm so we hurriedly packed our things and got on our way up to Flo’s. We picked up a pineapple to give to Fahad’s grandmother on the way and about halfway between the junction and Flo’s we ran into Fahad and his posse.

We made our way up fairly quickly, with Fahad asking if we remembered the way. We asked if Fahad had helped to prepare the meal and he said yes but we were sceptical. We made it up to Fahad’s house we found Kamida dressed to the nines in her traditional African gomesi. We greeted Kamida with our limited lusoga  and our pineapple “Jumbo! Olyotya” which was met with “Bulungi” and then we needed Fahad to jump in and translate. Kamid was very appreciative of the pineapple and kept saying “Webale Ssebo” “Webale Nyebo” we got a  bit embarrassed and assured her it was no big deal!  We met Fahad’s older sister and her daughter as well as Fahad’s older brother and repeated our greetings.  

We sat down with Kamida, Fahad and Mousa and Fahad’s sister brought out the food. Each person got a bowl with a cooked vegetable that was either spinach or kale mixed with onion. To this we added rice or posho and some beans and sauce; the food was lovely. Kathryn doesn’t like posho so she only ate rice, vegetables and beans while James had figured out that the secret to posho is to mix it up with whatever else you are eating so he had a little bit.

Weekend 5

While eating we talked about Fahad’s family a bit but quickly realised that no one was talking because in their culture it is rude to talk to people while they are eating. So we ate the rest in silence exclaiming to Kamida how delicious the food was when we tried each new thing.

James, being the tall boy that he is went back for seconds then thirds once he finished his spinach. He did this without realising that the rest of the food was actually meant for the horde of kids that were waiting outside the door. James, although he had seen them hadn’t realised that they were also waiting for lunch and had assumed that they were just there to check out the mzungu zoo.

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Soon enough, everyone had finished their food and to James’ horror the leftover food was taken outside. James was very embarrassed and resolved to not jump so quickly to take seconds in the future. While the table was being cleared we talked to Fahad and Mousa about their school and what grades they had got in their exams. Both had done extremely well and have high aspirations; Fahad wants to be a doctor.

Weekend 5

After the leftovers had been delivered outside, we sat in awkward silence for a few minutes before Kamida went into another room for a few minutes. We weren’t sure what to make of it until she came back with a photo of a lady who she said used to sponsor her before she died. We told her that she looked very nice and asked if Kamida had ever met her. Kamida said that she hadn’t. We sat for a few minutes more, making funny faces at Fahad’s neice before Kamida got up and Fahad told us that she had a meeting to go to. We took this as our cue to leave and said our goodbyes.

 

Weekend 5

We took some photos outside Fahad’s house first getting group shots then individual shots. After every photo was taken hand appeared on the camera and shrieks of laughter erupted from all the kids. As soon as they had all seen the next kid got ready for their photo.

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We love how much joy photos bring to kids here and told them we would get some photos printed. Once they’d had enough of photos the whole posse walked us back to Flo’s.

Weekend 5

Weekend 5

The walk back was quiet and we weren’t sure if Fahad was trying to work up the courage to ask us something. If he was then he didn’t before we got back but we both decided that we would get some school books for him and give some money to Kamida for Fahad’s education. Fahad did ask “Would you like to see my grandmother again?” We said we would but didn’t know when we would be able to so promised to make a time before we left

Weekend 5

Soft Power Education Week 5

Day 21 – Gardening at Amagezi Centre & Living on site

Mekenzie was leaving in the morning so we were running out of friends. We decided spend the morning gardening with Fred then run away to site in the afternoon. After we said our farewells and a few tears were shed we headed to the centre. Fred informed us we had to prepare the soil and then fill the bags up halfway with soil in preparation for planting the seedlings.  We were all quite excited at the opportunity to get our hands dirty and use all the funny equipment.

Day 21

James and Jamie were in charge of digging and breaking up the soil. Kathryn and Liam were the sifters which involved putting pile of dirt on top of a frame which had mesh on it and using our hands breaking up the big bits so the little bits could fall into the wheelbarrow. It was a lot of fun and exfoliated our hands!

Day 21

Next we dumped the sifted soil on the ground and added water to make it moist. Then we packed the bags half full of soil. Just when we had convinced ourselves that we would be able to finish all of the bags, out of nowhere comes Fred with another boxful of them. Instead of deciding to finish the bags, we settle with going until we use all the soil.

Day 21

We filled 280 bags and transported them carefully over to the veggie garden where half of the soil fell out! Once all lined up neatly we were done. Fred was very happy we had come to help as he set himself a goal at the start of the year to plant 10,000 trees and was not very close to achieving that goal!

After lunch we headed into town to buy our groceries for the next three days and Caitlin drove us to Kasozi Primary School which would be our home! It is about a 45 minute drive from Jinja mostly through sugarcane plantations and is incredibly green everywhere. We got set up in the P7 classroom before Jamie produced a soccer ball.

Day 22

The boys played soccer with the builders while Kathryn was laughed at constantly by the locals! After a delicious meal cooked by Betty we played Asshole until exhausted.

Day 22 – Living on Site

We awoke early as sleeping in a classroom without windows and the light and noise woke us. Especially when that noise is local children saying “hello? What is your name?” The builders were already hard at work so we quickly ate breakfast and headed out. Simon let us know we were to be painting two classrooms. We set ourselves the goal of doing two coats inside and out by the end of the day. How optimistic we were! We got started on the walls and quickly realised the roughness of them made painting ten times harder. We told ourselves that it was fine and we would still get a coat done inside and out.

Day 22

Kathryn was painting the windows and bottom half of the wall while the boys were painting the tops of the walls with rollers attached to ex-trees. We were determined to get our building finished by Thursday as Kathryn kept reminding everyone “We need to beat the girls!” There had been a group of 6 high school students at the school for 11 days who completed two classrooms. We had 3 days surely we could do better?

Day 22

We painted hard up until lunch, which we were all thankful for the break from painting! The builders all joined us for lunch and we got to know them. We were very happy to see Salim (one of the SEN students) who was doing an apprenticeship with the builders. After everyone’s bellys were full we got stuck back into the painting.

We went across the road to get a cold soda and Salim came with us. We asked him “Can we get a cold soda?” and he responded “Yes” we stared at him waiting to tell us where and he exclaims “What!?” We all lost it and he just smiled not knowing why we were laughing so hard. Eventually we explained and we got our cold sodas.

Not long after lunch it began to bucket down and Simon told us to stop working. We couldn’t stop we had only done half of the white coat outside!! Luckily some builders came over to help and moving as the rain moved got the white coat finished outside.

Day 22

Shattered by the day and a bit disillusioned at how little we had done today we headed into our room. We played cards and read our books until dinner. Salim loved playing with our ebooks and just turning pages and opening up books! 

Day 23 – Living on Site

We were woken again by the builders and dragged ourselves out of bed to get ready for another day of painting. We decided to set ourselves a more realistic goal of “White coat inside and cream coat outside”, even this would prove to be optimistic! The boys finished off the white outside while Kathryn started peeling all the old posters that had been glued onto the walls off. This proved to be quite challenging as they had been glued on years ago and all the tiny bits got stuck and all we had to get it off was our fingers and a trowel. Once the boys had finished outside they came in to help get the posters off. Once we got as much as we possibly could off we started the white coat.

Day 23

Kathryn again was on the paintbrush and roller doing the windows, doors and edges while the boys were on the long  rollers. Even though the sticks worked surprisingly well, the ones we had were not long enough to reach the top of the walls without full arm extension so painting these walls ended up being a lot of hard work. We were proud that we had finished the first classroom before lunch rewarded each other with high fives.

Day 23

We quickly ran across the road and got our cold soda then joined the builders for lunch. Once we were satisfied we headed into the next classroom and got started. Once again Kathryn was on the paintbrush and the boys were on the rollers. We did a coat of white and two coats of cream inside and were satisfied with our efforts. Exhausted from the painting and cold from the rain we all headed into our room and read in silence until dinner.

Day 23

During dinner, some of the local children got bold and tried to talk to us. James was a bit grumpy from the work during the day and decided that it would be funny to take a leaf out of Aggrey’s book and tell the kids that it wasn’t polite to talk to someone while they were eating. Liam grabbed hold of this concept, scooped up his bowl of food and ran to the window shouting “HEY!! YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS? THIS IS FOOD!! SHUT UP”

Needless to say, Kathryn was horribly disappointed in both of the boys (even though James didn’t even really do anything wrong) and did not hesitate in telling them so.

Day 24 – Living on Site

We woke to the builders working again and quickly got ourselves ready for the day. After two full days of painting, we were all beginning to develop a powerful loathing of all paint and paint paraphernalia. Despite this, we knew that we had to at least finish the cream on the outside so we got stuck in. With music to help us through the boredom we all found our own pace.

Day 24

We had forgotten how difficult it was to paint the outside surface and cursed the builders! As per usual, Kathryn was on the roller for the lower walls and the boys were doing the top sections. Kathryn got completely covered in paint while the boys all remained relatively clean. Kathryn used the excuse that she was closer to the wall so got more splashback but really we all knew it was because Kathryn was messier than them!

Day 24

We finished the cream before lunch and cleaned everything up hoping we could leave straight away and get under a nice hot shower. Simon said we should stay for lunch so we waited with the kids until lunch, Liam entertaining them all with his magic tricks.

Day 24

Day 22

Once back at River Camp we raced into the showers and cleaned all the dirt and paint off us and suddenly the painting wasn’t really all that bad. However we weren’t going back!

Day 25 – Amagezi Centre Art Department

We declined the option of one day painting and instead headed to the Amagezi Centre to find out what work they had for us. We were hoping Fred needed us again but knew this was unlikely as the Italians had finished planting the seeds we prepared the soil for earlier in the week. Instead James came up to us and said he needed our help in the Art department.

He pulled out some wood for the boys and told them to saw it into squares and gave some seed pods for Kathryn to shape into earrings. None of us were was terribly excited about either job and we felt as if we weren’t actually needed rather than grabbed to do the first thing James could find! After Kathryn had done a few earrings she was fed up and went to see what the boys were doing. Having only one saw the boys were taking it in turns to saw both looking bored out of their brains.

Day 25

Day 25

Being the great volunteers that we are, we decided (after 30 mins of work) that we had earned an early finish and headed into town for lunch. It was Liam’s last day so we felt that this was a pretty good excuse to do so! We went to The Keep for lunch and had one of the most delicious lunches we have had in Jinja. The deliciousness of the lunch made up for the whole hour that we spent waiting for it. We then strolled around town until it was time to head back for the meeting. After a final meal at Flo’s we said our goodbyes to Liam, once again muttering how much we hate goodbyes.               

Fahad’s Family Pt.1

Over the past few weeks we have shared the walk to Mama Flo’s several times with a local boy called Fahad. We found out that he goes to school at Kivubuka when we were at the handover ceremony there. He called out to Kathryn from across the school yard, at this point we’d only seen him once or twice and always in his streets so we didn’t quite recognise him in his school uniform. We asked one of the teachers about him and we think we embarrassed him in front of his friends by dragging him over to say hello.  He didn’t say very much at the school but we saw him at the Bujagali junction on our way back to Flo’s that night where he was much more talkative.

He has actively tried to be our friend and never once used the word mzungu, so we decided we would be happy to help him. He has never asked us for anything but just asked if we would like to see his house and meet his grandma. We decided to take him up on the offer!

As mentioned in a previous post, we had tried a few times already to meet but there was always some reason we couldn’t. We assumed that since he’s always walking towards Flo’s at night that he lives somewhere around there so we made new arrangements to meet him at Flo’s on Saturday at 10am so that we could walk to his house.

While we were eating our breakfast at about 9:30, we noticed him loitering around behind the bushes. We eyed him off until he realised that we had seen him and exchanged waves. We told him that we needed to finish our breakfast but that we’d be very quick.

Weekend 4

As soon as we’d finished breakfast, cleaned our teeth we rushed out to meet him. By this stage, he’d built up an entourage of kids who followed us as Fahad led us to his house. It wasn’t very far at all, only about 3 minutes’ walk from Flo’s but he kept telling James to remember the way. While we walked, James asked Fahad about school. We already knew that he’d done very well in his exams but Fahad is very modest and he told James that he needs help with Maths. James said that he would be happy to help him with his maths if he wanted. In hindsight, this may have been the first subtle admission from him that he would like us to support him in his schooling. Kathryn talked to Mosa, Fahad’s cousin, about his schooling while they walked.

When we got to his house, Fahad’s entourage had grown and we were surrounded by lots of boys and girls, including Juma who we knew from SEN. Fahad took us inside and introduced us to his grandmother Kamura and the various other family members. We sat on the couch and Fahad translated to us while his grandmother showed us pictures of herself as a young woman as well as photos with her late husband. At this point, Fahad pointed at all of the names and phone numbers written in charcoal on the wall and told us that they were all her children. As far as we could tell, Fahad has 4 Aunts/Uncles. Fahad then asked us if he would like his grandmother’s phone number, not wanting to be rude we took it even though we knew that if we tried to call her she would not understand us and we would not understand her.

Weekend 4

We took several photos with all the family, after each photo they would rush around to see it and laugh. Kamura asked if we would print them for her and put them in a frame. We promised her we would feeling very humbled that we would be on display in her family home.

Weekend 4

There was an uncomfortable silence as we ran out of things to say and the language barrier got to great. Fahad picked up on it and decided it was time for us to go. As we left, Fahad showed us around his backyard and on the walk back to Flo’s we asked him about the difference between a Banana and Matoke tree. He told us that they are the same and thus we began the long, confusing struggle to understand the difference between the two. Also included in the return trip was confirmation that the 5 pronged leaves were not marijuana leaves but those of cassava, a yam-like plant.

Weekend 4

Weekend 4

We bid Fahad farewell and he asked us if we would come over for lunch one day. We told him that we would love to but since we were going painting on site the next week we would have to wait until after then. He made us promise we would come to lunch!

Weekend 4Weekend 4

Soft Power Education Week 4

Day 16 – Medical Clinic

As today was a public holiday due to Eid and school wasn’t on as a result we enjoyed a nice lazy day. Kathryn had been attacked by some form of bug over the weekend, leaving 26 bites on her leg and 25 on her back so we decided to go to the clinic to see if they knew what had attacked her. Mama Flo thought it might be Mango Fly (a fly that lays its eggs in your drying washing which then hatch as maggots in your body) which had Kathryn freaking out at the thought of maggots roaming around under her skin. Mama Flo performed a simple test of putting sugar water on the bites and waiting to see if a maggot came to feast on it. Luckily no maggots appeared!

We waited for a while at the clinic before someone came out and took Kathryn’s details. The trip to the scales was a bit scary because of all of the carb loading but luckily they showed a weight not that different to normal. We then waited to be called into the doctors’ room, we think we got the Mzungu treatment as were called ahead of several people who had been there when we arrived.

Day 16

Kathryn showed the doctor her bites and he confirmed it was not Mango fly but was at a loss to what had actually bitten Kathryn. He simply said “They are insect bites” but did insist Kathryn have a malaria test. The test was a prick of the finger for some blood, much the same as a diabetes test. They then analyse the blood and then from that can verify if you have malaria or not. While waiting for the results we picked up the medication. The malaria test was negative and with cream to soothe the itchiness we were on our way!

Day 16

We stopped by to watch Mekenzie paint her incredible mural on the Amagezi Art Shop then headed to River Camp for a whole lot of nothing. There was an incredible sunset which had us all being very snap happy.

That night as we were walking home from River Camp to Mama Flo’s we met a boy named Fahad. He asked all our names and then took Kathryn’s hand and asked “Can we be friends?” Kathryn responded “of course we can!” and Fahad continued walking hand in hand with Kathryn and asking questions for the journey. Once we were at Mama Flo’s he asked when he would see us again and if we would like to see his house. We told him we would love to but weren’t too sure about when we were going to afterschool club but we would let him know.

It was Maggie and Luca’s last night so we enjoyed a fabulous meal courtesy of Mama Flo and a few beers. It was only when we were getting ready for bed that Kathryn realised what the doctor had told her to take and what was in her medication package was entirely different!

Day 17 – Mekenzie’s Art Club, Mixing Colours

Mekenzie’s art club started today and we were all excited to witness her hard work paying off. James, Kathryn, Simone and Allegra wandered up after breakfast to find the lesson already in full swing. We used crayons to stylise our names on big pieces of card and then joined in with the kids starting the colour lesson.

Day 17

The kids were separated into groups of 4-5 and we each sat with a group. Mekenzie is such an amazing teacher and taught the kids what primary colours are and how to use them to make all the colours of the rainbow. They were all so excited and needed to be constantly reminded to wait until Mekenzie had completed the next step to copy her. Everyone was so impressed with their colour wheels when they were finished and the excitement levels rose when Mekenzie announced that after break they would be “free painting” with the colours they had just created.

Day 17

After break Mekenzie explained that in free painting you could do anything you wanted, she demonstrated making a rainbow but stressed the fact that you could paint anything. The music went on and everyone started their masterpieces. All of which were rainbows, one by one though they moved away from the rainbow. They got inspired by those not doing rainbows and soon everyone was painting whatever they felt like. The artwork they created was incredible and they were shocked they could do as many as they wanted! Mekenzie says there are no rules in art and it seemed as if the kids weren’t used to that!

Day 17

12.30 came around way too quickly and we had to pack up, everyone was incredibly excited to return the next day and learn how to draw and paint portraits of themselves. We headed back to River Camp for another lazy afternoon. That evening Fahad met us at the junction on the way to Mama Flo’s and grabbed Kathryn’s hand. We talked about school and what we had done that day. He asked tomorrow can I take you to my house. We agreed that if after school club was on we would have to skip it in favour of taking a tour with Fahad.

Day 18 – Moving SEN Supplies

Today we were moving all the SEN supplies from the office in town and from the storeroom at the Amagezi into the new SEN classroom at KCC. We were eating our chapattis and taking our time to enjoy them while Aggrey was talking to Mama Flo. We finished at 8.45am and asked Aggrey what time we were going to leave. He replied with “Well… We are meant to be in town at 9am” we responded with a chorus of “Why didn’t you tell us?!” to which he responded “I didn’t want to disturb you while you were eating”. We told him to stop being so polite and tell us where and when we had to be so we were on time!

We hopped into Baby Truck and sped away to the office. Once there Caitlin explained that if an Ugandan says 9am they mean anytime between 9 and 10 (the hour of Nine). We went into the garage and it was filled with so much stuff! We located the SEN supplies and formed a line and played pass the parcel. Once everything was packed we headed back to the Amagezi Centre to get the things from there. Along the way Kathryn read a book about East Afraican Princesses that changed the world and Liam and James had a go at Andrew for his beliefs in witchcraft and driving while intoxicated. They had a stern talking to from Kathryn’s inner anthropologist about respecting other cultures when it comes to religion (she agreed with the drink driving issue).

Once we arrived at the Amagezi Centre we realised that half of the group of 16 were waiting there to help unpack the stuff. We decided once we got to KCC that we would let them do the unpacking and come back in the arvo to write up the inventory. We headed to NRE for lunch and Caitlin joined us for an informal meeting. This week was exam week at the pre-schools and it had been crazy there today so we decided to come up with some activities to do with the kids not being tested so the teachers could focus on those being tested.

We went to KCC to explore their storerooms and decided we would have one group playing mathematical bowling, one colouring, one beading and one doing puzzles. Once that was sorted we headed to SEN to start on the inventory. Most of it had been done in the morning so we just had to do what was in the therapy room. Once that was finished we headed to the junction for our date with Fahad to see his house. He was nowhere to be seen so we headed to River Camp for another relaxing arvo.   

On the way back to Mama Flo’s Fahad appeared saying “I beg your forgiveness, I was at school late” we told him it was fine and school is more important than us but he kept apologising. We decided to meet that Saturday at 10am, he was very happy after we had decided this and continued walking hand in hand with Kathryn as usual.

Day 19 – KCC Bowling & Mekenzie’s Art Club: Exhibition

We awoke earlier than usual as one of the teachers had made us promise to be at KCC at 9am. We didn’t quite get there for 9 as breakfast wasn’t ready till 8.30. When we got there they were finishing their PE class so we set up the different stations for the activities.  We decided to have two games of mathematical bowling going at once with one of us supervising each game, Andrew was to help us explain the game to the children. Liam was to supervise all the other activities and make sure there were no fights.

Unfortunately, Andrew was called off to take some volunteers to the clinic so we were left with no one to help us explain. Used to things not going to plan we shrugged our shoulders and got our first eight kids. Things started fairly well with the kids mostly listening and seemed to understand what the game was when we went through the steps. Before too long all hell had broken loose and Kathryn was heard exclaiming “they are all little shits” and refusing to play the game anymore.

Day 19

At break time Godfrey was being so naughty and kept stealing the skipping rope James and Liam were using. He is such a charismatic little boy that somehow gets away with everything he does! Mekenzie told us the day before she caught him peeing on the ladder to get to the monkey bars. He turned gave a cheeky laugh and then proceeded to step on his wee to get onto the monkey bars.

Day 19

A teacher came over to assist and James eagerly followed, Kathryn stayed where she was. The teacher turned and said “Have they been too disgusting for you?” to which Kathryn could just shake her head. Once Kathryn had calmed down and reflecting upon the situation she came back to the group and could not believe how well behaved the children were. It just goes to show that there is no point a mzungu trying to teach a classroom when the local teachers already do such a good job. Mzungus to these kids are play things not to be taken seriously! Plus most of the time they have no idea what we’re talking about.

Day 19

After lunch we headed to the Amagezi Centre to check out Mekenzie’s Art Club exhibition. It was incredible; there was so much artwork on display. We looked around while all the kids sat on the floor bored out of their brains.

Day 19

Kathryn found two babies to hold, one of which peed on her foot while she was playing with its fingers.

Day 1i9

Once everyone had appreciated the artwork we were all seated, a dance competition began. We could not believe how brutal it was! There were several rounds with 5-6 people dancing in each round, once the music stopped we had to choose our top 3. Those 3 went on to the next round while the others were told thanks for trying and given a sticker. We then had to choose a number 1 to receive the bigger sticker. We never could decide saying that everyone was the best!

Day 19

Afterwards Mekenzie was pressured into dancing but only would with the kids joining in. We all jumped up and had a crazy dance party until it was time for the kids to leave. It was such a joyful experience and the teachers and children were so appreciative of Mekenzie.  

Day 20 – SEN, Kivubuka Presentation & After School Club                     

In the morning we went to SEN and introduced a new game to Dan which he was very appreciative of! We had noticed that they don’t have spelling lists here and just tend to practice reading/writing/spelling whatever words Dan thinks of on the day. So we made several different word packs; numbers, body parts, vegetables, shapes & colours and household objects. The game was word bingo and we had prepared several bingo sheets.

Each pack of words had 10 different words, as a group we read them out loud. Everyone then chose 6 words and wrote them in their bingo sheet. Then all words were turned upside down and mixed around. Taking turns each kid picks up a card and reads the word out, you cross of the word if it is on your sheet. Continue doing this until someone has crossed off all the words on their cards and is the winner.

It was a good game that could be improved by a quick pre-game lesson on the words so that the kids were familiar with them. Moses was very good at this, however Ema is very unsure of himself and tried to guess the word from his memory instead of actually reading it. We think this is because reading isn’t taught using phonics like it is at home and you aren’t actually taught how to break words down. Once this game was over we had to leave to get to the ceremony at Kivubuka.

If you’re a dedicated follower of this blog, you’ll remember that on our first day of volunteering we put the finishing touches on the paint job at Kivubuka primary school. “Say No to Early Sex” may ring a bell. Today was the official handover for Kivubuka primary and since we are the only remaining volunteers that worked on the school, we were invited to be the guests of honour.

We rolled up to the school in the Big Truck with hangers on Jamie, Leanne and Kate. We squeezed into the front row of desks and felt like we were back at speech day in Perth except in much smaller chairs. Kids piled in behind us and the ceremony started.

Day 20

The head teacher was the MC and started by thanking Soft Power Education for their hard work and for making the school a brighter learning environment. A group of girls then came with a teacher and sang some songs for us which we really enjoyed.

Day 20

Next up was some more speeches by various teachers and people involved in the school. All of them reflected on how appreciative they are of the work Soft Power does and that they hope the relationship continues. A girl from P6 then read a thankyou speech; Kathryn was impressed that a girl was given this honour. There was some more dancing and singing and speeches from the local councilman and Soft Power representatives.

Day 20

Stephen (Soft Power staff member in charge of deciding which schools receive refurbishment) explained that we would be planting a tree. The tree was a symbol of the commitment the school had to continue educating its pupils to a high level and to look after the buildings. In 5 months Stephen would return to the school and if the tree was alive and prospering it would indicate that the school wanted to continue the relationship with Soft Power. If the tree had died that would be the end of the relationship. We really liked this idea as it showed that the school had to be committed and demonstrated that you can’t just ask for things but have to earn them.

We moved outside to plant the tree; the head teacher, a girl from P6, a boy from P6 and Kathryn had the honours. Everyone gathered around to watch us plant the two trees. It was a lovely thing to be part of and Kathryn felt a little guilty as we had only come on the last day of painting! The teachers all scolded Kathryn for not washing her hands properly!

Day 20

Day 20

We were then taken into the staff room for lunch where they had prepared a feast! There was rice, beef, matoke, beans and g-nut sauce as well as soft drink! The teachers asked us to dance for them which we managed to get out of by explaining compared to them we are terrible dancers! The teachers were all so excited to talk to us about what we have been doing and what life is like back home. Everyone got our email addresses and thanked us several times.

We loved being part of this celebration and seeing how appreciative the school and local communities are of the work Soft Power does. It reassured us that we were making a difference and that while the benefits of us volunteering were not always obvious they were there.

We headed back to Amgazei Centre to pick up Aggrey, Alegra and Simone before heading to the After School Club. As usual we played games with the SEN kids (no netball as the aggressive lady was there again!) and chatted with the girls until it was time to leave.

Haircuts and Ling Lings; Weekend 3

Saturday 26th of July     

Knowing that we were heading in to Jinja in the afternoon we did nothing in the morning other than lounge around at River Camp soaking up the sun. The only problem was that we had not booked the taxi to town so at about 3pm we decided that it would be a good idea to do so. We asked the bar staff to call someone for us and they told us that it would cost about 60,000UGX (~$24AUD) for a return trip, we agreed that that was reasonable since that was how much we had paid previously.

The driver arrived about 20 minutes after and said that it would cost 150,000UGX (~$60AUD). When we collected our jaws from the floor we told him that we weren’t asking him to drive us the 5 hours to Entebbe, we only wanted a pick up and drop off in Jinja. He refused to budge and we firmly told him that we would not be paying the mzungu price, we wanted the honest price. He told us that we weren’t booking a car, this was a mutatu. For regular readers of this blog, you will realise that this would not be the first mutatu we have travelled in. We may also have mentioned that, in our experience, they have been nothing special and a car is much better than a mutatu. After telling him this in as many words he dropped his price to 100,000UGX (~$40 AUD) we told him that his price was absolutely ridiculous and there was no way we were paying more than 70,000.

The driver promptly told us that we would either pay 100,000UGX for the return trip or we would pay him 30,000UGX for his petrol. Our immediate chorus stated that he was being absolutely outrageous since: A) We had been told to not pay any more than 5,000UGX per person and B) We have driven a car before, 30,000UGX would pay for 10L of fuel and would get him at least 100km which was definitely further than the 6km to Jinja.

We told him he had wasted his own time in trying to extort us and that we would pay him 6,000UGX ($2.40) which would more than pay for his fuel from River Camp to Jinja. At this point he offered us the 70,000UGX for the return journey. Needless to say, we refused and told him that now it was 6,000 or nothing. We did not trust him and we definitely did not want to give him our business. He continued to argue with us but we told him he could take the money or not, we were done with him.

We returned to our seats and decided that the mood had been killed and we didn’t want to go to town anymore. Instead, we continued to hang out in River Camp and get over our frustration. Meanwhile, the driver hung around for about half an hour giving us evil looks and trying to get the bar to pay him for his time. Anton, the manager told him that they had nothing to do with it and that he was taking the piss.

We have noticed during our time here that there seems to be a stereotype of white people that we are all rich and have money to spare. Not a day goes by that we don’t walk or drive past a group of children that hold out their hand and say “Mzungu! Give me my money!” This stereotype is definitely not accurate and if it were, we firmly believe that it would be to the detriment of the whole country if not the continent.

In our case, the driver had taken some volunteers to Jinja the night before and charged them 100,000UGX for the round trip because they either didn’t know or care. He used this as justification for trying to charge us 150,000UGX. If we hadn’t been aware of the usual price, we would have paid the increased rate and then the next group to come along would have been charged even more and the cycle would continue. As we experienced, this can create hostility when the stereotype is proven wrong.

Having said this, the majority of the locals that work for Soft Power or their affiliates have not treated us this way. We wonder if this is because they have been able to form working relationships with volunteers and tourists such that they realise that the stereotype of the rich mzungu is not necessarily correct. To this effect, we have definitely experienced more people who are genuinely interested in having a conversation and welcoming us. Other than the children asking us for money, the incident with the driver has been the only occasion that has made us feel this way. There are far more children that are happy yell “Jambo!”, give us a wave and walk along with us.

Sunday 27th of July

Since our encounter the day before had prevented us from going to town we were determined to go to town and do it right. We had some coffee before we booked the car at River Camp and overheard Anton telling Mohammed (who had driven us to ABC previously) that, if he wanted, River Camp would send all of their business to him, otherwise the bar would not be making any more taxi reservations.

About 15 minutes later, we asked for the number of a taxi driver who was not the same as we spoke to yesterday. We were given Mohammed’s number. We piled into the car with 5 in the back and got cosy.

Weekend 3

We got to town, did the regular bank run, before heading to the market. We walked around looking at all the weird and wonderful food on offer.

Weekend 3

The smell of the dried fish and meat got too much for us so we made a quick escape. Kathryn bought some new thongs and sunglasses while Liam refused to buy a fake Uganda Cranes jersey for 25,000.

Weekend 3

Weekend 3

James’ hair was getting pretty unruly at this point because he had not had a haircut since May. Andrew had told us that “the place near Flavours” was the best place to go for a haircut. So we walked in to Destiny’s Beauty Salon.

James asked if they could cut Mzungu hair to which the leopard print clad stylist replied “trust me” and gestured to the chair. James, being the gullible, unquestioning man that he is jumped into the chair and made no connection between the possible outcome of the haircut and the absence of any form of scissors on the bench. Kathryn meanwhile started to get the camera ready knowing that is was going to be an interesting haircut.

Weekend 3

The stylist proceeded to shear the hair from the back and sides of James’ head while leaving the fringe alone. James, with an already existing fear of haircuts was petrified. Kathryn and Michael sat in the couches of the salon smiling and giving him thumbs up while trying not to laugh. After a few minutes that gave James time to reflect on the way that he cuts Beauty’s hair the stylist produced a pair of scissors that conceivably could have been for thinning out thick hair, in reality it was more likely that they were horribly blunt. He proceeded to grab a fistful of James’ hair and cut. After what seemed like an age, the stylist seemingly gave up and proceeded to level out the fringe with the shaver.

Weekend 3

The haircut was soon finished and James got out of the chair then turned to pay but the stylist ushered him into a different chair and proceeded to wash his hair. Also included were hair gel and a head massage. We paid for the haircut and walked out of the shop, James could not stop running his hand through his hair for the rest of the night.

As it was Maggie and Luca’s second last night they got to decide where we had dinner. They hadn’t been to Ling Ling’s, the local Chinese, yet so we headed there. We had come here once before and the food was amazing so we were all ready for the meal. The food did not disappoint and we had one of our many conversations about words. The weirdest was the Americans calling bouncy castles “bounce house”! Once we were all stuffed we called Mohammed and headed back to River Camp.