We have had to return, briefly and unexpectedly, to the UK (thank you VSO for paying for my flight and for compassionate leave, also unexpected and much appreciated).
Back in England in the early autumn, I suppose the obvious questions are: what comparisons can be made between here and Gulu, Northern Uganda? What do we miss and what are we glad to have returned to?
The Sea; Uganda is landlocked
Cold wet walks
and climbing up hills perhaps
Noticing how quiet everywhere is, although aeroplane noise is ubiquitous; empty streets
3 lane motorways and single files of traffic,
Returning to blackberries and the plum season
Wearing jumpers again
The skies are getting grey as autumn approaches, even in the couple of weeks we have been back, the sun is slightly lower in the sky each day.
During our eight months away I have missed the seasonal changes that seemed to be hardwired into those of us from the Northern hemisphere. Gulu is so close to the equator that day length is a precise and unchanging constant.
It will be nice to go back to warmth, both climactic and human, I haven’t heard one person laughing in the street since I’ve been back; in Gulu you hear it all the time.
No sounds of children, or crying babies either. Nor, for that matter has anyone run up to me shouting ‘Munu, Munu, Munu, Munu’ another standard part of our Ugandan lives.
So, until we return to Gulu next week I shall finish with that other phrase all the Gulu children say (no one has waved at me for weeks either)
“Bye, how are you?”
PS: Apologies to British friends we have not visited, it is a very fleeting visit.