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“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Monday, 13 August 2012

Arrival and the first night

The place is absolutely nothing like we imagined. When we first walked in, there was a “banda” (An African Roundhouse) on the left with two girls sunbathing on the grass outside; Sarah, a young traveler from Cardiff and Nita a half-caste (can you say that these days?) from London. They had traveled separately, but met on the bus from Kampala a little over a week ago. They seemed friendly enough and to our amazement invited us clubbing in the evening – the last thing we imagined we’d find in this remote village of Ruhanga was a nightclub!
Further into the compound we reached a central area where more girls were sunbathing, reading and chatting and I have to say it was more intimidating than the bus ride had been – but we were shown to our dormitory and decided we’d wash, change and unpack before introducing ourselves to the group.
Our room has 4 beds (2 singles in an L shape and a set of bunks). There is a shower on the wall in one corner above a cold water tap and 2 buckets. A hole in the bottom of the concrete wall allows the water to drain out. There is no toilet, no sink and bars where the windows would normally be. The metal door has a huge hole in it in place of a handle and a sufficient bolt to be able to padlock it shut. There is a kettle, a light and an electric 4 way, but intermittent power.
Caroline got straight to bed exhausted, whilst I had a cold shower and headed out to meet the others and have some tea and chapatis with jam.
The group are ok, very young and all female except for Sam and Ollie. A mixed bag of independent confident travelers from all over the UK, Ireland, and one from America. There is also a 9year old called Fraser who is the son of Erica and Neil who are English but currently living in Dubai. Both are in their mid 30s, making Caroline and I the oldest volunteers in the group. We weren’t expecting to be amongst so many volunteers, we think there are between 15 and 20 here at the moment, we also weren’t expecting school to have finished over a week ago. We were told that our first week would be school term time and our second would be summer camp – so instead of feeding porridge to 400 children, we have only 50-60 to deal with. However there is still plenty of work to do.
The group spent most of the evening by the campfire playing a drinking game whilst Caroline and I pretty much crashed out after a dinner of chips and something similar to coleslaw. The group arranged lifts into town (Ntungamo) for 1030am to go clubbing – but we were both dead to the world by then.
They managed to wake us up when they returned at 3am though and continued partying on the grass right outside our room until 530am which wasn’t welcome at all. We’ll get them back in the morning.

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