Our first day in Uganda has been a full one. Everyone in the group made it to breakfast in the hotel lobby in time for an optional, early outing to a clean, modern shopping center where we changed money and went to a supermarket, all of which is fairly ordinary stuff. Less familiar was the bumpy ride through haphazard traffic that got us to and from that shopping center. From the bus we saw a huge variety of homes and shops, evidence of a reasonably well-off middle class surrounded by significant poverty. The people we’ve encountered have been extremely friendly, soft-spoken and kind-spirited.
After a good lunch at a buffet restaurant, we spent the afternoon at Makarere University learning about their research and outreach initiatives to expand the use of efficient, clean-burning wood stoves and solar power in Uganda. Our visit was coordinated by Patrick and Edward, representatives of a large aid organization called Pilgrim Africa. You can find lots of information on their good work on their website if you’re interested. We won’t have the chance to visit the school Pilgrim runs but between their projects and the solar and woodstove initiatives from the university we’ve got all sorts of thoughts about projects we might suggest to the people in Rukungiri over the years.
It’s now late in the day and jet lag is catching up to us so we’re taking a break in the hotel before gathering in the lobby to reflect on the day, write in journals and then have dinner in the hotel restaurant. Spirits are good and everyone seems to be enjoying each other’s company at the same time as taking in their novel surroundings.