If you are just joining the story, there were five of us in Jinja: Achilles, Edie, Darcy, Alicia and I. Achilles was our student-faculty coordinator who worked as a teaching assistant in our class and graduated at the end of last semester.
Achilles left two days ago. Edie leaves in one week. Darcy and Alicia leave in nine days. Then it will be just eight days left for me, seven in Jinja. I have some work to do here still and some people that I would like to visit in the settlements. It’s hard to believe the time is almost up. It feels like I have been gone a long time…and it feels like I was just in New York a few weeks ago.
It will be tough to say goodbye to a place that has become so comfortable, so much like a second home. I hope I will return and I look forward to a future visit -fingers crossed of course. I just don’t know if I will get the chance. This trip just makes me realize that there is so much work to do and it is so important to do it well. I need to remember that I said that when I go back home, when I go back to school, when i get my diploma, when I go to work…things should be done half-assed.
There is still so much to learn and the people I have been working with have so much knowledge to give.
I headed to the back garden at a local café and was happy to find one of the couches empty. I sat there and reflected on the peacefulness of the day, the quiet in the garden; while sipping on a smoothie…despite the previous day’s tense conversations.
Why does something so ridiculous as a smoothie somehow make everything become okay…even if it’s just for a few minutes? Staying sane while surrounded by insane situations, takes a type of mental strength not many people have. The ones that can last in this work are few, the ones that are successful -in terms of accomplishing their goals, are even fewer. I need to learn from their work.
Staring at the grass, I watched a small spider crawl up onto the couch. Traveling with what seemed like a purpose over my books and onto my bag, he stopped. I can only describe his movements as “tasting the air” while looking at me. He was feverishly moving his arms on a motion like digging a hole with two hands…but only touching air. After sharing a curious moment, he left for the pillow and dropped to the ground. Simply continuing on his way.
I suppose I should take a lesson from this moment: take a deep breath and carry on.
We visited the source of the Nile today…if you didn’t know, it starts in Jinja at Lake Victoria. The water takes about three months to travel from the lake to the Mediterranean Sea. We brought some rolexes with us (chapati omelets) to have a small picnic. When we got there, it was a bit more touristy than any of us planned, but it was still nice to see. After walking away from the vendors we found a nice spot n the grass to relax for a little bit and have a snack.
Later we decided to try this Chinese restaurant we have been interested in, but had yet to feel adventurous enough to try. Why? Well it’s attached to a gas station (petrol for those of you using “proper” English)….and that doesn’t usually scream “Our food is amazing!” Interesting enough, in Uganda it does mean that. The food was excellent! We also had a bit of a romantic ambiance if you will. We ate outside in the garden under a grass thatch umbrella.There were frogs crooking all around us and it started to rain a little bit.
Needless to say, it was an adventure well worth the wait and one we’ll be making again in the near future.