Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 2: My arrival to Uganda

Wow what a long way to come! The flight from DC to Ethiopia was easy and uneventful.  I didn’t get much rest, but it was good because the flight was only about half full.  So I had an entire row to myself and could stretch out my feet.

I landed in Ethiopia, and realized that I wasn’t able to call out on my cell phone. I have service but can’t make any calls.  No WIFI at the Ethiopia airport either, surprised, nope!  BTW- there is public smoking allowed inside the Ethiopian airport, anywhere throughout.

I arrived to Uganda about 1:30 PM in the afternoon, and made it through customs rather quickly.  William and Patrick were at the airport waiting for me, it was so great seeing them now for a second time.  They even brought the same cab driver from the last time I visited 2 years ago.

Uganda’s economy seems to be doing well.  I noticed a lot of raw lumber along the drive back, and there appears to be more high-end residential neighborhoods being constructed just outside of Kampala near Lake Victoria.  William tells me that people are investing in their economy which is a good sign for this nation. 

So wonderful to be back.  The sites, the sounds, BODA BODA’s (motorcycles) everywhere and of course people fill the streets with all of the street vendors.  There is about a 2 mile gap between the outskirts of Kampala and the village of Bulenga.  However that gap is now being filled with new construction, and I imagine it will eventually be connected within the next few years.  Most city people are recognizing the cost of living is much more affordable to live in the villages on the outskirts of town, not to mention it is a much better place to raise a family.  This should be no surprise to us suburbanites back home in the states.  The suburbs are rapidly growing.

Arriving to the village was absolutely amazing.  There is something really sacred about this place.  The people are warm and welcoming.  I would describe it as a semi rural setting. The a main drag of store fronts and food vendors stretch for about half a mile followed by winding red clay pathways that flow through the residential community.  You will find most people are usually walking 2 by 2, smiling with not a care in the world.  I appear to be the only Mzungu (white man from abroad) here at this time.  The village is really developing.  There is a lot of construction, and the land value is appreciating rapidly at this time.  I;ve been told the village has reached its maximum capcity for new construction.

Of course I was greeted at the orphanage by all of the children singing and dancing, and they were so excited to greet me.  They refer to me as Uncle Preston.  It’s so awesome to see their faces again and call them by name this time.  It feels as though no time has hardly passed since my last trip just over two years ago.  Their memories are amazing, they were speaking Spanish phrases like buenas notches and buenas dias that I taught them the last time I was visiting.  Though there is a language barrier, there is most certainly and understanding of love and acceptance.  We celebrated the evening singing and dancing, eating beans, rice, and motoke “plantains.”  Each of them cannot seem to touch me enough; they know I am a father which brings them a certain level of comfort.  During my stay I will embrace each of them the best I can.  Certainly a bit overwhelming, but things will settle over the course of the next several days, but the joy will definitely continue to increase.

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