The two weeks at BULA finish too quickly!
18.04.2011 - 25.04.2011 27 °C
The kids had been telling us all weekend that they had no lessons at school in the last week of term. We took this with a pinch of salt, as they've told a fair few lies before! However, as David and I sauntered into school at 11, we saw the classrooms padlocked, and the number of pupils roaming the school grounds had dwindled dramatically from the week before. The teachers sat in the staffroom all day marking the exam papers, leaving the children incredibly bored! None of the guys at BULA wanted to go to school, but we insisted, as did the Uncles, that they turn up. Slightly hypocritically, David and I left the school and didn't teach any more, but we could hardly teach when the classes were padlocked!
As we now had the days to ourselves, David and I went to Gadaffi Mosque. Ít must be said, it's an impressive building, but quite clearly an attempt to gain allies by the lunatic Libyan leader. From here we took a boda boda to Kasubi Tombs. It was the first time I'd ridden a motorbike, but with three of us on a 125cc bike, we were hardly going to be breaking the speed limit! Kasubi Tombs were an absolute joke - it would have been polite for them to tell us, before we paid our entry fee, that the tombs burned down a year ago!
On the Wednesday, we collected the senior pupils from their boarding schools. I thought the dorms at the orphanage were full, but at Bethany High School, 30 boys sleep in one dorm. With a further 14 children back at BULA, the number totalled 27, which is a colossal amount of children in one house. The children from Mengo Primary School finished on Thursday, which means that they are all there 24/7 - the noise is relentless!
When the Unlces called us for a meeting, we thought we'd be discussing plans for the week, any concerns etc... But in fact, they asked if we'd be willing to contribute to the food over Easter. Such are their budget restraints, they couldn't afford the cost of the special Easter meal, especially as prices rise over the period. David and I, who were stuck on an idea for a treat as it was, were more than willing to help. It just goes to show, though, how difficult things are. In the end, we spent about £25 between us for a meal of 34 people. In the grand scheme of things, it's a pittance to us, yet a huge outlay for them.
Contrary to original thoughts, I got a lay in most days of the holiday. This rule was broken on Easter Sunday. I was woken at six o'clock and went to find out what the racket was. I bumped into Doug walking through the kitchen with a chicken under each arm ready to slaughter. The squawking of the chickens as their necks were wrung ensured I struggled to sleep much more that morning...
The rest of Easter Sunday was brilliant. Instead of the usual posho and beans, we were given a feast of matoke, curried rice, potatoes, chicken and cabbage! The range of flavours were a complete shock to my taste buds, which had only discerned posho and beans for the two previous weeks!
With my stomach still at bursting point, Uncle Dan asked if I'd like to go to the park and play football. It certainly made a change from the small paved area at the front of BULA. Here, the pitch was a vast expanse of dust, yet they stuck steadfastly to the 'bricks for goals' format. My lack of fitness was evident, especially when playing against big, strong, quick Africans, of which there must have been at least 15 on each side, as people from all over the village flocked to play. I was, unsurprisingly, the sole mzungu representative.
Exhausted, we arrived home just in time for John's Easter service. Despite the fact he's only 17 years of age, John has a great desire to become a priest, and his service at the home certainly proved that he can do it. My last evening in Uganda was spent, rather bizarrely, watching 'Titanic' in Ugandan. Considering I've never even watched it in English, it was certainly difficult to follow.
As I packed my bags on the Monday morning, it was hard to believe that my two weeks at BULA were over. The children performed a fantastic send-off song and dance for me and I must admit that I was choking back a few tears as I hugged the kids goodbye. They really are such resolute and positive children. I cannot begin to describe the amazing work carried out everyday by the Uncles, either. Thank you to everybody who made my two weeks there such an amazing experience! Of course, I cannot forget Brother David either, who eased me into the process, whereas he was thrown in at the deep end!
I'm writing this now from Delhi airport, my final layover before I arrive in Kathmandu. The ten day trek will be a blast and I cannot wait to experience yet another culture!
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Once again, thanks for reading!