Today we went to Jinja, and while the road was long, tiresome, bumpy, hot and sweaty, the countryside completely made up for it. Once we got out of the city, it was a completely new experience for me. Firstly, we decided to stop off at a trading centre, which is basically a road side stand where as soon as you pull up to it, you are swarmed by people surrounding the car trying to sell you anything from cold drinks to mystery meat on a stick. However the reason we stopped was to buy Gonja, a roasted banana (it was delicious). Next we drove through one of Uganda’s biggest forests and there was a possibility to see monkeys…. We didn’t see any monkeys. Then through miles and miles and miles of sugar cane plants which is kinda like the prairies, good in small doses. When we made it to Jinja, we were directed to the outskirts of that town where we found Budondo primary school which was the most amazing experience ever.
We were greeted by about 50 little kids all staring at us, not entirely sure what to make of us. However, as soon as we appeared friendly, some of them decided to hold onto our arms for dear life while others opted to shyly wave and smile from a distance. The first task for Charlie, Andrew and I was to give a health and hygiene presentation to the boys, while Anna, Ellen, and Erika presented to the girls. The rest of the gang ran the kids club to keep them all entertained.
After the presentation I met the most amazing boy. His name was Medi and we became pretty fast friends. Later on he told me that both of his parents had passed away and that aside from the occasional check up from an aunt, he was on his own. Even though he had all this turmoil going on his life we and 30 other kids had an amazing time kicking around a soccer ball. I didn’t want to leave. If I had had the opportunity, I’d probably still be there. But all good things come to an end and after a sad goodbye, we split.
Back through the forest (no monkeys this time either), past the miles and miles and miles of sugar cane and tea, past the trading centre where, even though we didn’t buy anything, the people still tried to sell us stuff by running along side the van, and then there was the city… During rush hour. Let me tell you it is nothing like rush hour in Canada, people will do anything to move forward and that includes driving on the opposite lane with cars approaching at 70 km/hour.
The day was incredibly, hot, hair-raising, sad, tiring and sweaty, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.