It would be the first Christmas away from our families for some time, and with the MAF office shut for the festive period we thought we should make the most of a few days off. And so, we headed to the town of Jinja, a couple of hours away from Kampala, to stay in a hotel called the Source of the Smile for a couple of nights before the new year.
A new year is about to begin, and with it comes the usual contemplation of what the next twelve months may hold. For Dave, the path ahead is clearer. He will put his incredible engineering skills to work on the fleet of MAF planes here in Uganda. There will, of course, be much for him to learn about MAF’s operations, not to mention this country which is simultaneously beautiful and alien, welcoming and perplexing. But his role is clear.
Well here we are, two weeks into this great adventure to Uganda. I’d like to say things were becoming more normal, but I think it’s likely to be a while before we can say that with any sincerity! It’s still strange to hear unusual bird calls, and to see boda boda motorbike taxis transporting anything from giant pieces of furniture, to pieces of sugar cane that span the entire width of their lane. It’s peculiar that it will be Christmas day in one week’s time, and yet the sun is beating down and the weather is warm. Gradually Uganda will become our home, and these things that seem strange will become normal, but for now every day has something new to discover.
Here we are, safe and sound in our beautiful house in Kampala, surrounded by unusual birds, insects, and even the odd monkey! It is going to take a while to get used to the unusual sounds, sights and smells of this vibrant city. Already our tiled floor has a tinge of the red dust that swiftly coats everything here, even after mopping it only yesterday. We’re told it won’t take us long to stop noticing it. I enjoy the brief moment after a shower, when my feet are scrubbed back to their normal colour for a small window of time.
It is an absolute privilege to be part of a wonderful church here in Totton, in the UK. It is an honour to have such amazing, caring and loving friends and family. But it makes it all the more difficult to say goodbye.
Tuesday dawned and we greeted it in a haze of drowsiness. The last few days were packed full of organising, filling boxes, and generally working out what we wanted to come with us to Uganda. The next day two strong men would turn up with a truck to load all our wordly goods, to later put them on a shipping container to send by sea to Mombasa, and then on to Kampala by train and road.