Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I am sad to report that in about 10 hours, I will be driving to the airport. I cannot believe the speed of time. It seems that I landed a week ago.

This weekend was a great deal of fun. On Friday, we went to the first showing of Harry Potter in Uganda. The theater was full. I am going to have to see the movie again when I get home because the quality wasn't the best. The top of people's heads were cut off at times and it was sort of blurry at times. At first, i thought that I was watching the 3d version of the movie without the glasses! Nevertheless, I am glad we went and that I was able to read all the books this summer.
On Saturday, I went to Owino Market - the largest in Kampala. Charles - a student at Makere University that lives with Jeremy and Jamie - took me. He is interested in starting a tour company. He was a great guide. One of my favorite things he did was tell me what I should say in Luganda. For instance, when we took taxis, which are more like buses, he told me how to ask the price. The market is massive. They sell everything from fabric to tires to fish to vegetables. I enjoyed walking around. The clothing and shoes sold in the market are all used. They come from many places including Japan and the US. It was great to see where many Ugandans do their shopping.

In the afternoon, I met Alex - EAC's assistant program coordinator - for the Uganda-Kenya rugby match. i do not really understand rugby, but I enjoyed being at the game. The fans get really into the game. to fans, painted in yellow, ran around the field. in the US, they would have been paraded off, but here they were cheered on by their fans. There was a contingent of Kenyan fans. They had so much enthusiasm. Even though they lost, they stormed the field and started dancing when the game ended.

On Sunday morning, Will and I went to the EAC house because the children were performing for US visitors. Once again the infectious dancing filled me with joy. Even more, I loved getting to speak with students afterword. When I speak with them, I realize why I love EAC so much. They are confident, ask questions, and talk about their interest in a way that few people that age do. Yesterday, Will said to me, "It's great how EAC is deep instead of wide." This is so true. They invest in the lives of youth. The staff cares about building individuals to be the best that they can. I am honored that I have been able to volunteer with them for the last two years.

Sunday night, after an enlightening dinner with the man Will is working with, I went with Charles to watch the US women's soccer match. Despite the disappointing ending, we had a terrific time. In addition to having the game on a giant screen, the place we went to (humorously called Tickles and Giggles) had live entertainment. It was hysterical and caused me to giggle. People would get on stage and lip sync to songs while dancing. One guy, danced on stilts, which was really cool.

Yesterday, on my last full day in Kampala, I came to the office in the morning. Then, in the afternoon, Will joined me to go to Taibah Schools where I said goodbye to the students. This was sad for me because while my hope is to return soon, you just never know. I did leave this goodbye session with a new skill. Sharon and Maria - two of the students - taught me this stone throwing game.

Last night, we went to dinner at the Ethiopian Village. Alex, Nicholas, Charles, Jeremy, Jamie, Agie, Betty and two of our friends from the house we are living in Ewan (who went to University of Glasgow where I will be studying in the fall!) and "German" Michael joined us. This dinner made me realize one of my favorite parts about Kampala - the variety of people you meet. I have friends all over the place. When I am abroad this semester, I have someone to call in Ireland, London, Liverpool, and Vienna. I am so grateful for these friendships.

I want to end my last post with some humor. Throughout this blog, I have written about my boda boda driver. On Saturday morning, I woke up to the funniest text messages I have ever received. Let me give you some background . On Thursday, when he was taking me to the office, I had him stop at my favorite rolex (chapati - tortilla like thing- with an omelet inside) stand. When I told him, I thought they were the best in Kampala, he said, "Michael, there is a Ugandan saying - "YOu think your mom's food is the best because you haven't been around to other places." Then, he made me promise that i would go with him to his favorite rolex stand in Kampala the next morning; however, things changed and I had a ride with JEremy in the morning. I called to tell him, but I don't think he heard me. His text said,

Micheal mourning you fine but am upsetted with you which friend are you, who promises what you can't fulfill about ROLEX
I am glad to report that we have since made up. This morning, I had the the rolex that he wanted me to try so badly. It wasn't as good as the Jesus is Alpha and Omega Chapati stand near my house, but it was still delicious. I am going to miss my boda guy. He is a ball of energy.

Thanks to everyone who read the blog. Sorry for this long rambling final post. This has been an amazing 8 weeks. I have loved getting to know Will better, witnessing the amazing work of EAC, seeing beautiful landscapes (including the blue waters of Zanzibar), and forming new friendships. I leave filled with hope.

It is going to be tough to leave, but I have a feeling I will be back in Kampala pretty soon . . .

- Feldman

Friday, July 15, 2011

On the Outskirts of Town

The first part of this week was pretty slow. I spent most my time typing up reports for Dr. Musaazi summing up my thoughts on the work I've done with Nicholas. Things picked up yesterday when Nicholas and I headed out to a site about 30 minutes outside the city. A Ugandan woman had bought two incinerators as a business venture, and she receives payment by the kilogram for disposing of medical waste. The incinerators both run Monday and Friday for 6 hours. With a consumption of 10 kg/hr each, the site disposes of about 240 kg per week. The going rate for medical waste disposal is between 2k and 3k Ugandan shillings, so we're talking about around $240 each week. Not bad for a fledgling business. The purpose of our visit was to present the incinerators to a representative of the Regional Drug Administration, so the site could gain approval for burning drugs that had expired or been thrown out because of quality. The woman was hoping to expand her business and buy a few more incinerators if she got approval. We basically just explained how the incinerators work, and I talked about the emissions. I think the meeting went well as far as I could tell. The guy from the RDA really didn't know what we were talking about. It seemed to be more of a formality. Nicholas and I talked about how frustrating it is to have to get approval from all these organizations when they are so ignorant. They don't even know what their standards are half the time. They know nothing about how the equipment functions (or should function) and pay more attention to how fancy the site looks. We had a laugh together when Nicholas pointed at the RDA official's brand new Toyota 4x4 that had a big USAID sticker. Nicholas wanted to make sure I knew that my taxes were providing this guy with a nice new ride.
Next we went to a site in Ntenjeru, a village about 30km outside of Kampala. This one of the several sites of the Makerere University Walter Reed Project that is researching the effects of circumcision on HIV/AIDS prevention. The site had just bought and incinerator on PEPFAR funds (with my tax Nicholas again said), and we were there for another installation and training session. It went a lot more quickly than the one in Kabale, and we had less of a crowd. I didn't make it back home to Makindye until 10:30 or so. It was a long day but really productive. Today I'm back in the office typing more reports. Michael and I are hoping to see the HP premier tonight. Good times.

- Stokes

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sorry for the lack of updates. This week has really been about wrapping up my project. It is crazy to think that I will be returning to Dallas on Tuesday night.

This week, I have been working on creating a second draft of my service curriculum. My main goal is to make my work more specific so that once I am gone it will be easier for EAC to implement my ideas.

I really do not have much to share that is as exciting as pictures from Zanzibar or Will's rafting trip so I thought I would just share some snippets from my day yesterday (want to make sure that there is an update waiting for my mom when she wakes up). For lunch, I went to Rose's home where her mom prepared my favorite dishes from when I went there for lunch last year. While the food was great, the company was even better. Rose's mother has an amazing spirit. She made me feel so welcome and at home. She shares the same love of life that Rose has. I am so happy that i was able to return to her home before I left.

I took a boda boda from the office to home yesterday. My usual boda driver came and picked me up. On the way, we saw a woman who had drove her car into the side of the rode. He immediately turned around so that we could help. He became very upset because a few other men were there and wanted payment for assisting the lady lift her car. You may remember from an earlier post that Agie had given a speech at a graduation event about how Ugandans expect something for performing random acts of kindness. It was very interesting to see this actually happen. i am proud that my boda driver realized the silliness of wanting money for simply helping someone out of a bind.

I will try to do at least one more update before departing Kampala on Tuesday.

- Feldman

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rafting the Nile

This past Saturday I got the chance to head up to Jinja with a group of people Michael and I live with to go rafting on the Nile. Michael had done it last year and had said good things, so I had pretty high expectations going into it. The trip lived up to every one of them; it was amazing. I can't really explain in words the size or power of these rapids on the Nile River, but hopefully the pictures posted later on will give you some idea of what it was like. We had an awesome guide named Paulo, who I'm pretty sure got a whole lot of entertainment out of flipping the raft and watching us swim through the class 5+ rapids. He was quite the jokester, and whenever he wasn't fighting through the rapids he had a constant stream of corny jokes coming. For instance right after we had all clambered back in the raft after taking a swim through one of the last rapid, we hear Paulo, "What did zero say to eight?" No answer. "Nice belt!" His delivery was pretty priceless. Anyways, needless to say, I think we all had a great time on the river. If you're ever in Uganda., rafting in Jinja is an absolute must.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


These two pictures are just to show how ridiculous the tide was. They are both pretty much the same picture, the first at high tide, the second at low tide.

Spice Tour

This guy was pretty amazing. He was showing us how to climb the coconut tree.

Red bananas

Star Fruit

Sunset in Stone Town

Pretty Amazing.