To Jinja, in Jinja and bye bye Jinja cont.

Its been great being with Alex for a few days. I’ve known Alex since 2007 though he remembers meeting me when I first came to Uganda in 2002 which is likely as I met a lot of children at Maria’s Care, the children’s home and attached school where I got my first experiences of Uganda. Maybe in another email I will share a little more about my Uganda family/ies.

There are other people living within the same compound as Alex and the two youngest were hiding behind a wall when I saw them. I knew they couldn’t be afraid of my colour as there are a lot of whites living and visiting Jinja. They were just a little shy but I soon made friends with them and then I couldn’t get rid of them for a second! The minute I came outside they were at my feet never asking for anything just wanting to watch every move I made! Can be a bit disconcerting sometimes!
The little house where Alex stays is unfinished but liveable in. The room I slept in was on-suite with a shower but it is not connected properly so drips water out of the wrong place, when the water exists that is. So we bathe as I do at St James, standing in a big ‘basin’ pouring water from a jerry can, which is fine by me!

There is also a small basin but with a great chunk out of it as if it had been dropped before installing. The toilet is a western one but with no seat and the ballcock needs adjusting regularly to prevent the expensive metered water seeping away!! The rest of the house is ‘comfortably’ furnished and has electric power intermittently. Many people in Uganda start building houses then run out of money but they still rent them out at a cheaper rate in this condition so as they get the little rent in they will earn money for completion, eventually!

My family and friends sponsored Alex and his brothers through their education. Alex gained four A levels and decided he would like to start a small tour company called Joyful Uganda Adventure. I am very pleased that his tours to the Ugandans National Parks including to see the mountain gorillas have been successful, as well as doing smaller driving journeys like taking customers shopping in Kampala, to the airport and me to St James.

He has a seven-seater vehicle and is saving hard for a smaller one to be more economic when just carrying one of two passengers. Alex is a very likeable guy, great fun, reliable, is very good with all ages and he is used to the demands of Mzungu – white people! Please Facebook Joyful Uganda Adventures to see the sort of tours he has been doing. You never know you might want a holiday in Uganda which could also include a visit to St James! You know you would be very welcome!

Alex is my regular driver, guide and most importantly my friend. Yesterday we spent six hours yes, six hours banking, shopping for supplies for my stay at St James and for crafts to bring home from the UK. The local people of Nakakabala and the children of St James make quite a few of the items but many come from other parts of Uganda and even Kenya. I have befriended Esther who has a little shop in Jinja and gives me good prices for crafts if I buy many of each item. As she is on the Internet thought it a good idea to send her my order before coming to Uganda.

So it should have been an easy job just picking the crafts and handing over the money but I needed to check them to make sure of the condition and the numbers. So I was in Esther’s shop for well over five hours having had little breakfast and I had forgotten to bring one of my snack bars! Dear Esther noticed me struggling and went and bought me a big mixed fruit juice – mango, passion fruit, watermelon, pineapple and orange, nicely chilled. It was delicious and I felt my body and mind recovering only minutes after drinking some.

I overestimated the quantity of crafts I ordered and they will certainly not all go in my cases so will leave half them here to collect when I return in 2016.They cost me £750 and I still need to buy more! But I will make a good profit for St James when I sell them to you all on my return to the UK!

Please note, I hate shopping, even in the UK so I am happy to have most of it over and done with early in my stay as I am often tired when I come to do the shopping in my last days.

It’s been nice staying with Alex and the heat has been more manageable as we are not far from Lake Victoria and the Nile so there is a gentle coolish breeze blowing most of the time. He is driving me to St James this morning. Can’t wait to see James and all the changes that have taken place since my last visit in September & October last year. So the next newsletters should have lots of interest to all of you who have supported this wonderful project.

Bye for now. See you in St James!

Love Gerry x

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