Off to volunteer in Uganda and Rwanda!

Well in a quick turn of events we’ve decided due to our visa problems(reasons can be read in my last post entry), to travel to Uganda and volunteer there with a similar organisation/setup as here in Arusha. We’ve contacted two orphanages in Kampala, Uganda and will visit them when we arrive. We initially said that we would spend a max of six weeks in the one spot and thats what we’ve done so far.

Yesterday was our last day in the school and with the friends that we’ve become very close to over the past few weeks. It was tough saying goodbye to the wee ones. As it was our last day we had arranged a special little party at the last minute. So we went and got some goodies for each child, like pencils, erasers, crayons, juice drinks, candy sticks, biscuits etc…and put them into a little bag for them. They loved the surprise and the smiles on their faces was amazing to see.
We really learned an awful lot from both the teachers and the kids that we had the pleasure of getting to know. The simple things in life that we take for granted on a daily basis, like water for instance, is such a commodity here! If it does’nt rain, alot of people, especially the poorer ones do not get water…its that simple.

We have been lucky to experience what it means to have no water. When I say “lucky”, I mean that its made me appreciate how fortunate we are to have an endless supply of water back home. A couple of weeks ago, there was a huge shortage of water in Arusha and at our hostel there was no water(clean or dirty) in which to wash. This meant that we went without a shower for almost a week! Under normal circumstances, this may not have been too bad, but with the contstant heat and unbearable humidity it was excruiciating. One can only imagine how it must be like for people here who have to go through that feeling on a regular basis.

All in all, we had a very enjoyable six weeks in Arusha.

Getting back to the road ahead. We are getting a bus later today from Arusha to Dar es Salaam which is a 11 hour journey away. From there we will get the Central line train to Mwanza(which is on the south of Lake Victoria) and is a rotten 40 hour journey in itself! However, they have sleeper cabins so it may not be too bad.
From Mwanza we then have a 12 hour ferry trip across lake victoria to another small fishing port called Bukoba. From here its another 9 hour bus journey into Kampala!

Thats the plan of action anyways. We have been informed that travel in Africa is’nt like travel anywhere else in the world so we won’t get our hopes up that things will go smoothly. Long delays and breakdowns, combined with horrendous roads seem to be the norm.

All I know is that so far the drivers on the roads are crazy, and safety seems to be no concern of theirs. So as long as we get from A to B in one piece then we’ll be thankful.

For anyone who’s wondering wheather its safe in Uganda and Rwanda, it is at the moment. There is some rebel activity in northern Uganda but we are only going as far as Kampala which the embassy imformed us was very safe and secure for tourists.
Regarding Rwanda, we aim to go to the capital Kigali, as we have a few sound contact details for there. Again there is some militery activity at the Rwandan/Congo border which is’nt safe, but Kigali is very safe.

So my next post will be from the land of Idi Amin(for anyone who saw the “last king of Scotland”!)

We’ve about a 2000km overland trip to get through until we reach Uganda 🙁