Thursday, July 23, 2009
by Lauren Madden
After waking up at 5:30 this morning and eating a more than decent breakfast at the Anderita Beach Hotel (pineapple and bananas are great!), we got on board the Hope4Kids bus and headed out towards Fort Portal. The five hour drive was a piece of cake compared to the 30+ hour flights the day before. We got out to make a “short call” and Claire was forced to conquer her fears and, well, you know…outside for her first time! We were all congratulating her when a Ugandan field worker yelled hello at her in the bushes! We stopped at a market in Mumbede and tried chipati, which is a tortilla like flat bread, and so delicious! We were approached by many interesting vendors tapping at our window. After some more driving, we went to The Gardens Restaurant and had a great lunch including some of the most fresh avocadoes I’ve ever had! On the bus ride we also brainstormed a list of “life’s simple pleasures” that we haven’t really taken note of until this trip. A fresh shower, a bed to sleep on, a cool breeze, and just stretching are a few of the things we realized made us feel so much better after all of the traveling! Next we went to the Outreach to Africa clinic. I was so shocked by the conditions these patients are faced with – such small rooms and inadequate supplies. None of which would be available without American-based charities. It really made me realize how lucky we all are to have the medical advantages that we do. We then left for a school that Hope4Kids sponsors. On the way there, we were increasingly feeling like celebrities as all of the children and even some of the adults waved down our bus and screamed “mzungus!” They were all so excited that we were there. We enjoyed giving and receiving the famous Uganda “double wave.” Before we even pulled into the school’s yard, we could hear the children screaming and soon saw them running and jumping towards the bus. By the time we stopped, they were crowded around the car waiting for us. When we got out they shook our hands and hugged us, and one little boy held onto my hand the entire time we were there! The children loved my camera – they were taking pictures of themselves and their teachers. We then came to our second hotel, Mountains of the Moon, which was such a great relief from the time-warped and strange Anderita Hotel. This property is absolutely beautiful and we are all so fortunate to be here. Endless green grounds with pine trees, palm trees and banana trees all in the same place, cool breezy patios, and even a luxurious pool. We rested for a bit, and then headed over to the Sunrise House, an orphanage nearby. We all set up a volleyball net donated by some CA teenage H4KI travelers there and played volleyball with the children and the teen orphans requested a volleyball duel with the mzungu teens. Then we handed the first of the backpacks we raised to them and they were so grateful. It was so rewarding to finally see these backpacks handed out after seeing them pile up in our classroom for almost a year! They walked around wearing them proudly and one girl said to another, “I look like a real student now!” It was tough to see other little children crawling out of the woodwork as word traveled there was “free stuff” being given out…if only there were enough for everyone. In Africa, there is never enough, no matter how much you bring. The children then performed a very unique dance and song to thank us. Hailey and I posed for pictures with some of the boys in the orphanage who asked us about life in America. Back to the hotel for dinner – after such a long day, everyone is exhausted! We are all looking forward to the safari tomorrow. Hope we see some lions like the last group.