6 Months and 3 Illnesses by Keziah Berelson

Berelson la

And I am back again!

Well, I’ve now been 6 months in Uganda and in the face of 3 tropical illnesses. I’ve been pretty safe and sound no broken bones and still 10 fingers and 10 toes!

I don’t think I’ll get over how incredibly welcoming my community has been … well past the “fitting in” stage we find ourselves able to walk down to the trading centre, chatting to every third person we see (this does double the length of time it takes to walk, however). I guess my next step in community integration will be to begin evening Luanda classes. We live on the border of the Buganda region and so there are many tribal identities living within the sub county. An initiative set up by local communities had been to create cheap evening classes in order to help with language learning. Who knows! I may even start teaching a little bit of French!

I have been finding it quite difficult to begin after school clubs – mainly because school finishes at 5pm and the children (and me included) have lots of chores to do before it gets dark at 7. However I have started to help out at “music, dance and drama” on Monday afternoons – this is a close colleagues passion and she’s a darn sight better than I am – so I am happy to help out, and attempt to learn some traditional Bugandan songs.

In the meantime, I’ve set up a regular position at the clinic and it is a real joy to see Africa beaurocracy getting it right – ish. The clinic provides free treatment, pills and immunizations – but only when they have the pills. At the moment, pills aren’t an issue (the nurse forces me to eat a vitamin C tablet every shift), but the plastic bags, in which we hand out the pills, have run short- we spend hours in what looks like an origami workshop, struggling to make them from old paper pill holders.

The weekends are always pretty jam-packed. I’ve now finally got the hang of hand washing, (yes I know it’s been a while!) and we have got a brand new 20-litre jerry can, which we pay our neighbours children to fill up for us. I guess when all is said and done although water would increase development the bore hole gives the children 15 minutes to meet up with all the village kids, and have a breather from the watchful eyes of their parents – and have fun. I guess that what I’ll miss most about the borehole trips, I was finally getting the hang of “seven’s “ a favourite card game of Sutenda and Talemwah whilst waiting in the queue.

Perhaps the most exciting development over last 3 months has been the elections, such horror the incoming president is yet again in power, this very much expected development has made exciting changes for the Myanzi area – Myanzi is currently the last trading centre for 36 km to have electricity. In the last months we have seen builders tilling back and forth propping up pylons now many say that this has all been just a show for the elections and alike. I do agree with mum in the most part I still have my hopes.

I suppose these 3 months have been filled with exactly that hope, we have now visited four other Project Trust projects and a very swiftly constructed School in Mitanni and I think that these projects show that although Uganda seeks continuity; they want change too.