Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Weekend 'Upcountry'

Last night I got back from a long weekend in Western Uganda, staying with the Kamasaka family with whom Tom, Billy and I lived for four months in 2004 while we were teaching at Equatorial College School (which is now the sister of our old school, U.C.S). ECS, as it is known, has benefited greatly from fund-raising from various UK sources (and of course good management) and has changed greatly since we were there. There is now a library, IT room, large multi-purpose hall, running water, reliable power through solar panels and a large generator, and two laboratories are just a couple of weeks away from completion. Exam results are also now among the best in the district. It just shows how much benefit a direct and personal link can be, one that doesn't have to deal with the bureaucracy and skimming of Governments and NGOs.

It was lovely to meet old friends again and to spend time with the Kamasaka family. It always such a friendly, welcoming and generous place to visit. I'd also forgotten how stunning rural Uganda is and while I wont attempt a Kapuściński-esque description of the banana plantations and deep-red earth, suffice to say it like nothing we have in the UK.

The rainy season has decided to come early this year so every afternoon we are treated to an hour of torrential downpour, during which the streets clear, the paths churn up and the shoe-shiners give thanks for the business they know they are about to receive. Or at least that is what has traditionally happened but many Ugandans are increasingly worried by 'drizzle', the type of moral sapping drip-drip rain that characterises London winters. Apparently it is becoming more common and is confusing what has always been a very typical Equatorial climate. If only i'd paid more attention to physical geography...

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