Saturday, July 18, 2009

Messages from Not So Far Away

Hey team!
I’m home now, pretty jet-lagged and trying to stay awake for another half hour but home and life is good. The layover in London went much better this time, I got a full night’s sleep and ended up having breakfast with Marcus and Andes from Germany. They’ve been backpacking around Europe all summer and thought it was hilarious that I’d done something as silly as go to northern Uganda. We had a good chat, I gave them the information for the Antigallican because Central was full the following night and then we went our separate ways.
Gatwick was kind of interesting. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about Heathrow, but really… Gatwick was way slower. Yes Heathrow is huge, but they’re so used to processing ridiculous amounts of people that they’re also very efficient. I waited for 2 hours trying to clear immigration in London on the way TO Africa, and border security again took me an hour coming home. Nope, I’d do Heathrow again before Gatwick any day. It’s also way easier to get to Heathrow by rail, you can do it on the tube. Technically you can take the tube all the way to Gatwick, but if you want to get there in anything that resembles a timely manner you take the express and pay ₤16.00. Hm… kind of expensive, but a very nice train. Very nice train, they fed me, it was hilarious.
They also insisted on going through my box of declarable things. I don’t begrudge them that, I had plenty of things that were wood or wood products and ground nut paste, but I thought it was very strange that they’d search the box on my way OUT of Britain, and not on the way in. That was also kind of time consuming, it ended up being good that my flight was an hour behind schedule because I wouldn’t have made the plane otherwise. By the sound of it Greg and Chris had much better luck with Gatwick than I did, so please keep in mind that I am definitely biased on this.

The final tally for Africa stands as such:
1561 Pictures taken
27 Mosquito bites
20 Nights in Uganda
17 Blog posts
8 Chimps chased madly through the jungle
5 Species of monkey spotted
4 Cities and towns visited
3 Co-teaching sessions at Lelaobaro Primary School
3 Baboon sightings
3 Rhinos (2 black, 1 white, lined up like an oreo cookie)
1 Vicious battle with a bottle cap on a coke bottle; the cap won
1 Case of food poisoning (bad fish… >.<)
1 New Ugandan girlfriend (?)
0 Individuals informed of my return date, time and flight number (… oops)
0 Bad boda-boda incidents (yee ha!)

If I had counted the number of times I was randomly asked to marry someone on the street I would have included that as well, unfortunately that seems to happen on a rather frequent basis and I have a sneaking suspicion that that had less to do with my physical attractiveness and more to do with the novelty of a white girl wandering the streets of Gulu and Bigodi.
All in all I’d say it was a pretty awesome trip. As it stands the walls and the roofs have been put up on the library and the teacher’s quarters. The foundation and walls are complete on the pit latrines (VIP Latrines, as in Ventilation Improved Pit Latrines, oh yeah!) and… the Opening Ceremony is set for August 4th!
I’m sure I’ll into everyone this week, see you all soon and thanks for reading!

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