Uganda 2017 Day 12: Driving, driving, driving!

In order to allow ourselves a bit more free time later in the week, I had scheduled a number of appointments for today. Subject to confirmation from Yowasi, we were due to meet the District Education Offiver for Rubirizi, Stephen Birru, a man we have got to now well; the District Scout Commissioner; visit Kyambura Primary School; and, finally, drive out to Mahyoro to drop off letters from their twinned school – West Meon.

We had intended to leave at 9.00am, but confirmation of our itinerary didn’t come through until after 10.00am, so we were late in leaving. We were going to pick up Yowasi from New Life Junior School and then get Muhudi (our scouting expert) from his school near to the offices at Rubirizi.

The drive up to New Life was terrible. I was now totally fed up with th euseless road surface and the prospect of driving up and down it several times today did not fill me with any joy. An indication of how bad the road surface was duly appeared at Kyambura when we came upon a jack-knifed lorry carrying salt and the drivers and his friends looking dazed at the side of the road. The lorry was still there nearly twelve hours later.

We arrived at New Life to meet Yowasi. When he saw us, he asked us why we hadn’t picked up Muhudi. We discovered that he was at home at Kyambura as he had managed to walk on a nail and had gashed his foot.

After doing some quick filming at New Life, we had to drive back to Kyambura (past the jack – knifed lorry)  to pick up Muhudi and then all the way back up to Rubirizi to meet Stephen Birru.

Stephen was in good form and very pleased to see us. He had given Mrs Green the connection with Kyambogo University and was very pleased to hear about her meeting.  He was also very interested in the work we had done at Kafuro and was very keen that the school use every means possible to become self-sustainable. He was strongly in favour of introducing a mobile phone chargng service to the school. He even recommended to Yowasi that he install satellite tv at the school and charge local residents to watch Premier League football. Somehow, I can’t see Mrs Myers doing this at Liss!

We had brought a mountain of neckties (neckers) and badges from scout groups all over the UK thanks to the very hard work of Mrs Prior at Liss. The District Scout Commissioner was overwhelmed and could not believe how much equipment she had received. Unfortunately, we had missed a big scout meeting the week before, but the commissioner was going to make sure the equipment was fairly distributed and send photos.

After this really successful meeting, we headed back towards Kyambura to visit the Primary School, which is twiined with Sheet Primary School. On the way, we had to make a couple of stops. The first stop was the Doreen Hotel, whcih is where Yowasi decided we should have lunch. Mrs Green and I had goar Muchomos. The bill for four of us was £5!

Our next stop was to visit Yowasi’s dad. I have met his mum several times before, but never his dad. Yowasi’s dad is in his 70s (ancient by Ugandan standards) and suffering the aftre effects of a stroke. However, he was very pleased to see us and spoke excellent English. He had heard all about us and wanted to find out about our families.

We got to Kyambura Primary School about 4.00pm where I met briefly with Hope, the headteacher and Moses, the Twinning Project Co-ordinator. This was a very frustrating meeting as both their laptop and their tablet have reached the end of their natural lives, but they didn’t bother to inform Yowasi so we could’ve brought out a replacement. I gave them some money for data and they are going to use Hope’s smartphone to communicate. I felt very sorry for Mrs Newton, the coordiantor at Sheet, who has done a brilliant job in communicating regularly. Hope did promise me that she would have letters ready to take back to Sheet.

It was 4.50pm when we left Kyambura and we had an hour’s drive to Mahyoro. This is usually one of my favourite drives because the scenery is stunning, but a) we were running very late and b) it was very cloudy and the light was beginning to close in. We finally made it to Mahyoro at 5.50pm where we were met by the co-ordinator, Julius – the children had gone home an hour ago. I handed over the letters from West Meon while Mrs Green took aphotos and gave Julius money for internet data. He was very pleased to see us and gave his best wishes to the children and staff of West Meon Primary School.

It was an hour’s drive to Yowasi’s house to drop him off before we finally headed home past the jack-knifed lorry and along the worst road in Uganda. We were so late coming back we had to use the main gate into Mweya (rather than Katunguru) which added 15 minutes to our journey. Add to this rubbish headlamps on our car, clouds of dust, a pitch black night and full beam headlights in my face from other vehicles, and I’m sure that you can understand that I wasn’t very happy by the time we got home at 8.15pm – over two hours later than planned.

The day had a successful conclusion. Joshua, the chef at Tembo, had given us a chicken for visting his school and it was beautifully cooked alongside rice, salad and …wait for it…Irish potatoes. It was a nice end to an exhausting day.

Tomorrow we’re going to visit Katunguru Primary School in the morning and go chimp trekking at Kyambura Gorge in the afternoon.

 

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