In honour of Dave’s video for this month, A Day in the Life of Dave (watch here!), I thought I’d use my preferred skillset to tell you a bit more about my daily routine here in the beautiful country of Uganda. It’s a bit more of a challenge for me; unlike Dave I don’t have a set time to be at work and to come home, or a clearly defined role to determine my days, but there is still plenty to occupy my time.
The alarm drags us from sleep at 6.15am now. It used to be 6.30, but we’re waking up a bit earlier to give Dave time to do his daily back exercises to prevent any more spine related mishaps. That is, of course, if the mosque around the corner hasn’t already woken us with its morning call to prayer. We’re in Ramadan now and I’m sure they’ve turned the volume up for the occasion!
It’s a bit of a rush to be ready in time for Dave to leave work just after 7am. We were always cereal munchers in the UK, and though most cereal here is pretty pricey, Weetabix isn’t too bad and so that’s our staple weekday start to the day. Weetabix with full fat milk (as it’s really hard to get anything else), chopped banana (so delicious here!) and a bit of vanilla yoghurt.
As Dave heads out the door I do battle with myself to find the motivation to do my own exercise. Though walking is perfectly safe here (other than the complete lack of pavements, and motorbikes that will happily use the pavements where they do exist), there’s not really anywhere to walk to. I was used to long walks every day in our home on the edge of the New Forest, so I’ve had to find alternative sources of exercise! A thirty-minute intense interval training session does the job, but jumping around all over our living room is not the most pleasant experience in 85% humidity!
That’s where the routine ends. Some days have a bit more structure, Wednesdays for example, when the wonderful Naomi arrives at around 8am to help us out around the house and when I head out for a couple of hours to join other women living in Kampala for a Bible study and prayer group.
Otherwise my days are a hodgepodge of tasks that need doing, and wrangling my brain into taking this opportunity when I have less fixed commitments to do a bit of writing (those books aren’t going to write themselves!). As I can’t give you an exact rundown of daily life, here are a few examples of those tasks which occupy my time!
- Cooking. It’s possible to get most things here in Kampala, I even saw a Homepride pasta bake sauce in our local shop at the weekend! I’d have been tempted, if it wasn’t for the price tag! Convenience foods are around, but very expensive, so cooking takes a bit longer than I was used to in the UK. I tend to bulk cook to have easy meal options in the freezer. This week I’m trying a new chicken tikka masala recipe in our slow cooker – here’s hoping it turns out well!
- Shopping. Dave and I tend to do our big shop on a Saturday morning, however it’s common that the shop we go to won’t have everything we need, and fruit and veg tends to go off more quickly than supermarket bought goods in the UK, so there’s often a fresh food top-up shop to do. That involves a walk up the hill to visit our closest market stall, a great chance to practice my Luganda!
- Meeting and Greeting. It’s amazing to think we’ve been here for six months now! During that time we’ve had chance to meet some amazing people, both in and out of MAF. Midweek days are a great way for me to cement those budding friendships with a cup of tea here and a slice of cake there.
- Updates. With Dave hard at work keeping those MAF planes flying, it often falls to me to keep up our correspondence so you’ll often find me answering emails and writing blogs, newsletters and articles for external websites. We love bringing you with us on this adventure, so it’s great to have the time for those things (even if it’s over a month since my last update here!!).
There are so many other odds and ends which fill my days, from laundry to housework to exploring the city, to trying desperately to identify the unusual birds flitting around the compound, to practicing the language, to studying the Bible and allowing time to hear from God about my own mission here in Kampala. It’s easy to reach the end of a day feeling that I’ve not achieved too much, especially on those days when traffic and other delays mean even simple jobs can take a lot longer than anticipated. But in these first six months I’ve really enjoyed taking the time to adjust to a very different culture and climate, and to meet fascinating people from all walks of life.
Time to find another odd job to fill an hour before starting dinner!