Monday, February 18, 2013

Under the African Sun

Sorry about the length of this one.....just so much to say about this to come soon.

Well, we made it safe and were a breeze, kids were amazing and I even snuck in watching a movie!! We arrived sometime after 10pm and met another MAF pilot who whisked us past the massive customs line up, right up to the front of the line....saved ourselves a good 2 hour wait.....loaded our 8 bags into the 4 x 4 and drove off with the warm Ugandan air blowing in our faces. After 7 years of preparation, we had finally arrived. Phil turned around and asked "what are you thinking?".....and to tell you the truth....I don't know if I was thinking....I was just taking it all in....the smells, sights, sounds of this world I had heard so much about. It was very surreal. After about a 45 min drive (Police check slowed things down considerably) we arrived at our home.....we threw our bags onto the floor and plopped ourselves and the kids into the already made beds (thanks to the MAF ladies who prepared that for us) and drifted off to a warm summer night sleep. The next morning we had some cornflakes, and then before I even had  chance to change out of my pj's....we had a visit from our next door neighbor Mel who is a very sweet single lady who has 'retired' here (aka....she is busy volunteering). Then Karen drove in (one of our friends from good ol' Three Hills, Alberta) and she helped us unpack a little..... not much to unpack, just clothes, some toys and books and phil's electronics :). She drove us back to her house for some lunch. We then got a tour of the MAF office, met a lot more people who's names I can't remember and then ended up eating dinner with another MAF family. We got home around 9pm and plopped back in our beds.  Here are some brief observations from this Canadian girl....
Roads: C-R-A-Z-Y! Need I say more? We are talking dirt roads, ditches winding down the middle of the 45 degree hill that leads to our house, 'bodas' (motorcycles) coming at you from all directions with as little as 1 person on them or a box the size of a refrigerator on the DO they balance those things??, no painted white lines, cross walks or flashing pedestrian lights....just slow moving people expecting you to stop.....good thing I rarely leave second gear (haha). The roads become paved once we reach where the MAF office is but major driver awareness is needed at all times....oh and did I mention that they drive on the other side of the road here???
Food: I have eaten 6 yummy meals since we have been here thanks to some amazing MAF hospitality....lots of rice, pasta, meat sauces, cucumbers, tomatoes, chapattis (like naan bread but thinner, like a wrap but better!), steak and even ice cream! I have been grocery shopping several times (there is no 'one-stop-shop' store need to go to different stores depending on what you need. I have been everywhere from a road side fresh market (food displayed on the ground, freshly picked) to a store called "Game" which reminded me a bit of Wal-Mart but not as much variety and not as big. That is where we picked up our washing machine! In general, you can pretty much get anything you want to eat here....including Heinz Ketchup (YES!) but....and it is a big all tastes just a little different.....for example the ketchup is spicy, the butter has a chlorine taste to it, the crackers taste.....I dunno....just different.  It will just take some time to get used to it all. I cooked my first dinner here....stir fry and rice in peanut soy sauce. YUM. Looking forward to making english muffins, bread, granola, and salsa.
Water: The water that comes from the taps isn't safe to we used bottle water for has been a hard habit to break, not turning on the tap to rinse your tooth brush or just quickly filling up your glass for a drink.....I think we pretty much have the hang of it now, but all of us caught ourselves at one time or another about to rinse our toothbrushes under the taps--no amoeba’s for us thank you very much! The water pressure in our house is about a little more than a trickle.....but hay, at least we have running water. Showers are proving a bit difficult (I really did cherish the last shower I had in England!) so we have been showering at other people's houses and at the pool. Apparently there is dirt in the pipes? Hopefully it will get fixed soon?! Other than that, washing dishes by hand is bringing me back to three hills days.....good times.
Wildlife: okay, so I'm not talking giraffe's and lions here....I am talking about cockroaches, ants and lizards.  It's wild life to me!! We've only seen and killed 1 cockroach (lets hope it stays that way...they are BEYOND disgusting), seen several lizards but they can stay cuz they eat the bugs (oh and they don't have teeth!) and ants....well....ants are just a part of our family now....they march in and out in nice straight lines.....and clean my kitchen, floor, walls, tables for me....anything that has any trace of food left on them.  :) Sometimes I am mean and clean things really really well....other times I am nice and forget to clean up the kids break fast and see 1000 of them marching in a very loooong line. :) (I have 'special' spray for that situation!) No spider sightings'll know cuz you'll hear me scream all the way from Uganda! :)

Hmm...this is getting to be a rather long post....just wanted to give you a snap shot of what I see here in Kampala.....more to come.