Friday, 10 December 2010

Uganda Wishes – Bwera Prepares

Another morning. I walk to the view of the Congo. We’re near the border. I’m allowed to pass. Locals continue to giggle as I announce good morning in their language. Many on route to fetch water or bring home firewood. Yellow Jerry cans strapped to their foreheads. I find the church at the top of the hill. Alone. Perched clearly for the beauty.
There’s an interesting take on names here. I arrive back at camp in time for breakfast. Dear Innocent is refused food as he’s shown up without a formal request to work. He’s been a volunteer yet he doesn't want to leave. Both Natalie and Peter have given him money to go home. Kathy, a nurse – also from Victoria speaks of others she’s met. Desire is one name. Truly it is his name.
Can’t be a hypochondriac here in Uganda. You have to suck it up. Access to medical care isn’t a hop skip and a jump away.
Peter and Natalie Hunt of PODA
The chickens lope around freely. Pete walks on damage control. He’s announced there is no wood for a fire. No wood to cook lunch. I feel hungy yet I bite my tongue. Innocent was refused food. Yet he works on. Adamant he stay. No lure to leave. Others nearby look malnourished. Round tummies bound.
The children play for song. All look happy. I ponder on.
Kathy the nurse sees a young boy, Steven. Lesions stay his skin. Unknown reasons. Talk of jiggers. Yet the cause not true. We’re not doctors here. Only nurses. With love and care for what we can do.

I busy waving flies and think to myself tomorrow is the wedding. Pete has already seen his jacket. He fears for loud. Maybe from a 1980’s saxophone band era? The colours speak.
Yet we await Nat’s preparation. Rumours are to expect the villages around and more. For celebration, food, music and dance. We imagine order. Yet a muddle of locals with collaboration is expected to ensue.
I picture the ground breaker aka the brick maker. A team of men shovel, mix and squeeze, they pour out fast. And stack to the right. Age dries them up. The walls go high. The school has progressed.

Intake of water is low in the system, while the consumption is high. So claims the plumber who I sit down to speak with. He illustrates how the women suffer carrying the water. He says he’s requested the government to survey the land for infrastructure. The villages need to pay. $500 Uganda shillings per month. A lot to them. Less then a dollar for us.
The lizards scratch around as we speak. A chicken chases one. Unsuccessfully.
The plumber thinks the mzungus should pay. I tire from that talk. Since we’ve been speaking, I decide to ask him his wish for Uganda today.
“I wish for Uganda for stability. Unity. Better leadership. In Uganda, in that moment you have all those things you become free. Free to work in a free land. We say united we stand – united we fall.”
After I ask him for his wish for the world.
“To have peace in the whole world.”
I tell him his English is very good. He tells me he is the seventh son of his father and claims English was brought by the British to colonize Uganda.
“We have our own native languages,” he reiterates.

The sacrificial cow has arrived. To be slaughtered for the African wedding celebration tomorrow for Natalie and Peter.
I spend some time handing out clothing to needy children. The young crawl around in rags. My pockets are empty. It’s all I can do.
Along comes Wilson. He’s finished his studies and has qualified to be a tutor. Soon a teacher. So I ask him his wish for Uganda.
“I want Uganda to develop. To be diverse in technology – politically, economically - then socially. Manufacturing industries like cement, mining, welding. These industries can help Uganda develop,” he says.
The wish for the world?
“That the developed countries liberate with the third world countries. Expose their technology to the third world countries, then they can come up,” he concludes.
I take a Stoney break (a ginger tasting soda) and walk down to the end of the road. Another swarming of children. Young and ruthless for serving the smiles. They laugh together and giggle with looks.
I decide to test out my Ugandan dance style with the kids. I get my HD camera out and flip the viewfinder their way. They’re in love to see their faces. Soon a crowd.
Local women sit on the road scrubbing their hair for tomorrow. Chitter chatter, pitter patter. I hear children mimic the moo of the cow. Clearly we’ve brought some sunshine. No rain now for three days.
There’s excitement in the air as Bwera prepares. 

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