By Sophia Foerst
Africa is very different to what I expected. First of all, in South-West Uganda at least, there is no shortage of food. In fact I'm very happy about the food; there is lots of it and it's delicious. Every meal has lots of variety, even if it is quite carb based. For lunch and dinner we have six or seven of the following dishes: potatoes (done in a many different ways - including chips!), plantain, bean stew, rice, green beans, peas, cabbage, cauliflower, groundnut sauce, tomato stew, chapatti, goat, chicken, lamb or beef stew, posho (maize meal), pumpkin, swede and carrots, and this is always followed by lots of fresh fruit. The pineapple especially is so fresh, sweet and juicy, it's delicious. Mr Reich explained to me that the locals don't always eat with such a wide spread on the table, and that they pull out all the stops for visitors, but that there isn't really a shortage of food in this fertile part of Uganda. And this leads nicely on to the second thing that surprised me, and that is how green and pretty it is here. It is a long way from the dry, dusty, arid stereotypical Africa that you see on the news. There are so many shades of green all around, with crops growing on many of the hills. It is very beautiful and a long way from what I'd imagined. Finally, I have been surprised at just how friendly everyone is. I'm not sure where I got the idea from, but I had for some reason imagined that the people here would be different, and a lot less open. I'm so glad I was wrong about this as the welcome we have received has been very special; everyone is so happy and warm and it's really lovely.
Today we needed some paint, as well as some food supplies so I went into Kabale town about half an hour away with Mr Reich, Andrea (Chan) and Eunice, one of Peace's sisters, to see if we could get all we needed. The town itself was a little more like I imagined Africa to be, and very different from the countryside, as it was loud, dusty with very bad roads full of potholes, and all rather crazy. The hardware shop we visited was very disorganised with layers of dust over everything, it was a wonder the shopkeepers were able to find what they needed in the mess. To get to the fruit market we had to pass a string of butcher's shops. There were rows of carcasses hanging up, and piles of chopped meat and innards sitting on the wooden counters. It didn't smell too good and I wondered how it stayed fresh. We then saw a live goat tethered nearby and I couldn't help but think that his days were numbered.
On the journey home, we stopped at a popular roadside market stall to buy carrots and cabbages and we were at once mobbed by a gang of at least 20 vegetable vendors, all pushing their sales through the windows of the car and bartering with us - even for things we didn't want to buy. I must have had about six people at my window alone all pushing vegetables in. It was crazy! One of them, who assumed that Mr Reich was my dad, went to the front window to speak with him and told him that he liked me and wanted to buy me! Thankfully, Mr Reich told him I wasn't for sale!
After lunch Amelia and I were assigned to teach the five young primary school children who do not go back to school in the afternoon. Their English is very limited as they are a couple of years behind at school as they have not been attending consistently befire they joined The Peace Centre. We taught them colours and tried to turn it into a game as we noticed they have short attention spans. Their normal learning style is to just to sit and listen, and then repeat everything the teacher says, so they seemed to love that learning could be fun too. We did the same for some simple addition and subtraction activities for maths. I made some paper origami boats, which we then used in a practical demonstration of adding and taking away that the children could do themselves. It was not easy as whilst some were very keen and wanted to learn, others were distracted all the time and were a bad influence on the others which was frustrating. I did feel a sense of satisfaction though, at having taught something useful to someone else, but I did think to myself, I'm not becoming a teacher. I realised that everyone has different styles of learning, and learns at a different speed, so really, it just seems like too much work! They have good holidays though...
I was just about to try and post this, but I guess I'll have to finish it tomorrow... We've just had a power cut!
Who are we?
A team working alongside Golden Magezi in Bukinda, Uganda, running an orphanage that provides kids with love, family and an education.