We have been here just over a year, summing up what we have learnt/ appreciated/ discovered should be easy shouldn’t it? It is not; why?
After our first week in Uganda a fellow volunteer said to me: ‘Human beings are very adaptable aren’t they?’
I am sitting in my office at my placement college,
outside a bird is calling, it is a single repetitive screech, there is the usual crying of babies and laughter of adults.
The child mothers from the sweater weaving class next door are practicing their traditional dancing.
The power is off; the generator is at full tilt, the guard dogs are barking, the hammering and sawing in the CJ (Carpentry and Joinery) workshop is going on strong.
I am waiting for a call from my VSO project officer confirming (or not) a budget before I can develop a curriculum workshop.
NGO bureaucracy is close to aspects of British education I thought I was leaving behind; no ‘learning curve’ needed there.
I drove here down the long dusty murrum road, threading the bike through crowds of people walking very slowly to or from town. You have to do a lot waving as you go by, one handed driving is another new trick. Children jump up and down as I passed shouting ‘munuu byeee’ as they do every morning, the novelty of a motorcycling white man never seems to fade for them. All this has become so familiar, so fast.
Perhaps that’s why summing up our first year is difficult, we have become habituated to this life; none of it seems new anymore. It is the thought of cold dark days: rain; layers of heavy clothing; street lights; power and water; quiet nights and quiet people. These are what seem unusual now.