Monday, April 11, 2011

Future Site Visit!

This week we traveled to Bushenyi to visit our future site! It was so great to see where we would be working and living for the next two years! Two current volunteers from the nearby regions rode with us on the bus on the way there and pointed out where we should get off, which was super nice. So, all was well in our journey.

When we arrived at the college we were greeted by the many boda drivers who park at the stage in front of the college, as well as another PC volunteer, Jean. Jean is a Community Health & Economic Development volunteer and has been in Uganda for a year. She works with an organization called Bushenyi Honey. She was excited to have some other volunteers with her in Bushenyi, and our sites are really close together. So, that was a lot of fun. She has promised to show us the ropes in Bushenyi and she knows lots of good hiking and jogging routes that she is willing to share!

So, I want to tell you all about our college....Bushenyi Primary Teacher’s College. After passing the gates you come upon a beautifully groomed campus with tons of trees and flowers and many brick buildings. We were welcomed into the administration block of the college and quickly met many of the administrative staff. Everyone was so friendly and seemed genuinely happy that we were there. The college has had PC volunteers a number of years ago and recently hosted some VSO volunteers from Britain, so they are quite familiar with having volunteers in their school.

At BPTC, there are currently about 250 first year students, and 150 second year students (who were out in the schools doing practice teaching). They also have many projects happening on the campus: a tea farm, a dairy farm (which means I can have fresh milk delivered to my doorstep every morning!), an apiary (bee keeping), & chickens and goats. The school also has an outreach program that works with currently serving teachers, a coordinating center (resource center for the regional primary schools), and a model primary school. It is quite a beautiful and there are many good things happening there!

We also got to stay in what will be our future house. It is very, very nice! We live in an an area with many other of the teaching staff. In our house, we have a kitchen with a sink and running water, living/dining/sitting room, 2 bedrooms, a flushing toilet, and a shower (freezing, but a shower nonetheless!). It is more than we could have asked for and we cant wait to move in and make it home! In our backyard we have bogoya trees (large, sweet bananas), avocado trees, and tons of space for gardening! I know that we will love it there! We have already gotten permission to paint and can’t wait to add some color to the walls and fill the home with the things we have brought from home. Very exciting!

We also got a chance to walk into Bushenyi town (about a 40 minute walk) and see some of the surrounding country. It is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!! It’s hard to believe we will be surrounded with such incredible views every day for the next 2 years!!! Everything is green, and there are gorgeous rolling hills, many trees, and lots of cows (with HUGE texas-style horns), chickens, and goats. The people are kind and everyone has been more than gracious with our limited Runyankore! We love Bushenyi and can’t wait to return!

Our journey back was a bit more eventful than the way there. I thought I’d share some “Ugandecdotes” (clever, aren’t I?!) from our day yesterday:

We took a taxi from Bushenyi into Mbarara (about an hour ride). For much of the trip, there were 10 people crammed into a car the size of a honda civic: 6 men, 2 women, and 2 teenage girls. This was the first time I have ever seen two people in the driver’s seat of a car - and a manual at that! To make matters more interesting, at one point the driver pulled over and left all of us crammed in the car while he helped himself to a “short call.”

We found a bus going to Kampala that promised they were leaving right away. They were revving their engine and starting to move. We considered ourselves very lucky to have such great luck. Hours later, we realized this was not the case. We sat on the bus while it revved it’s engine and drove back and forth for more about 2 and a half hours! Ugh!

At one point along the way, we stopped along the side of the road to pick up more passengers. (This happened frequently, but this particular time was very interesting.) There was an elderly woman with a large sack of stuff and there were people pulling her sack in different directions and talking very animatedly. When we asked a fellow passenger what was going on, he explained that the taxi and bus conductors were fighting for her to be their passenger. They fought for a considerable amount of time, but eventually she got on the bus with us. Then the taxi people started yelling more and eventually began throwing rocks at the bus. The bus put on its brakes, rolled backwards towards the taxi conductors (and the crowd of villagers who had been gathering during the ordeal). A group of people got off the bus and armed themselves with rocks and started back towards the taxi conductors. (Incidentally, this was also when I began to freak out!!!) Somehow we got out of there before things got too out of hand, and we pulled away while the crowd yelled angry things at the bus and the people on the bus yelled angry things right back at them. Eeek!

*The moral of the story: take the morning bus!!!!*

That’s all for now. I hope to post some pictures soon, as we are getting internet tomorrow (yea!) Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!!! We love you and miss you all!


PS - 10 days until we are sworn in as PC volunteers!!! The countdown begins!!!

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