In a blog, you're supposed to write about things that might interest others. I haven't written a blog in a long time, I haven't found all that much I think will interest others. However, during the last couple of weeks, we've had quite a few visitors, and I realised that our everyday lives are actually quite exotic and interesting in their eyes. Therefore, I figured it might be just that to others as well, hence, I'll blog about it. I'll take you through an ordinary day here in Mbale.
I get up at about seven; turn on the oven and start preparing scones for breakfast.
Marthe and I eat and chat for a little bit too long every morning and rush a bit through brushing the teeth and, for me, putting my hair up (it's way too hot to wear it down, even though this is the cold season!). We then walk the thirty minutes to CRO. About ten-fifteen strangers greet us every day during these thirty minutes. They're all asking how we are. The weird ting is that almost none start asking until we've passed each other. Moreover, they keep on talking as they walk in the opposite direction, back to back (it's amazing how long you can keep a conversation going while you're walking away from each other, back to back. Marthe once witnessed such a conversation stretching out for about fifty meters!). When we're about halfway to the CRO, we hear shouting from a distance "Silia! Mafhotte!" Some of the kids from the CRO catch up with us and we walk the last bit together.
When we reach the CRO, the doorkeeper, called Mordercai, opens up the gate for us and welcomes us, followed by about five-ten kids who come over and say hi. Then, we're off to morning devotion. It lasts for an hour and contains prayer, worship and a special message from one member of staff (or two, as is the case when Marthe and I are in charge). After the devotion, I teach my class which consists of the children who are about to join P1 (first class in primary school) in numbers. I do so in what is usually the dining, but for the occasion we've put the benches and tables like desks and chairs in a class room, and a portable blackboard is put on one of the tables, then; I try my very best to teach them how to count, but above all how to concentrate. That can truly be challenging sometimes, but it's not easy to stay angry with them. They're just too sweet and lovable!
After class, the kids have porridge (maize flour and water) and I try to make sure they don't make too much of a mess. The kids themselves clean up the mess that they've made before they can play. Oftentimes, I join the kids when they are playing around in the compound, other times I take one kid aside and have private tutoring or counselling. Sometimes, we also just goof around in our office and have fun with a camera.
Then, it's lunchtime. Mmmmm... lunchtime! We eat beans and posho every day, except for when we have visitors; then we get meat. Nevertheless, I actually prefer the posho and beans. It's yummy! In addition, we also get the world's best fresh passion fruit juice! After lunch we train the kids in our groups in various circus games, I'm in charge of the Chinese plates group. They've made me so proud in the presentations the previous week!
When the day in CRO is over, we do some grocery shopping and go home. The way home is pretty much the same as when we're going to the project; many people greet us and make us feel very welcome. When we've reached home, we drop our bags and I sometimes head to Namatala (the slum area) by myself. I go to buy fruit and vegetables for dinner in the marked. It's really a nice trip to take, especially now that people are starting to recognize me, and say Silia, not just Mzungo. I buy lovely avocadoes and tomatoes from Juliet, the mother of a girl in the CRO, and bananas from a woman that only speaks Swahili. I'm always overjoyed when I understand the price she's giving me, and she's always laughing when I don't get it.
After shopping for dinner for the two of us, spending about 1500 UGSX (4,50 NOK), we go home and prepare the food. When the electricity is out, we sit outside and light up our paraffin cooker.
If there's still some spirit left in us after the dishes, we go out our door and into the library and start a disco with our great, African comrades. We do salsa, swing and other fun stuff until we're too tired to keep going.
At that time, Marthe and I retreat to have a little time with each other before going to sleep. We do as Jack Johnson expresses so neatly in "Banana pancakes"- we close the curtains, pretend like there's no world outside. Good night, Uganda!