Greetings from Uganda! We're currently at the end of our first full day here, and it feels like we've been here far longer!
Despite a slightly turbulent flight, which Hayley and Ellie did not particularly enjoy, we arrived here safe and sound and thankfully with all our luggage, although there was a scary moment where we thought we were missing 3 bags! Having landed at 11:30pm, we went straight to the minibuses for the drive through Entebbe and Kampala to the Adonai Guest House. By the time we were all in bed, it was after 3am and we were all exhausted, so the crowing cockerels from 6am onwards were not really welcome! Most of us did manage to catch up on lost sleep during our 2 and a half hour journey to Jinja today so we're fairly well rested!
This morning, after breakfast and a quick song rehearsal (we can't wait to show you all the videos of Tim and Hayley dancing), we had our first experience of 'Uganda time' when our guide Odiirah and our drivers were more than an hour late! Being on time isn't normal in Uganda - in fact most people expect you to be an hour late, which is a concept that I particularly enjoy! When we finally set off to Jinja, we made a quick stop at a local mall (which was surprisingly westernised) to buy leaders' phones, water and snacks, and mosquito nets for Tumaini.
The journey through Kampala into the rural areas was eye opening. In the city, we drove through the slum areas, and for most of us, it was like nothing we've ever seen before. Seeing in person what we've only ever seen on the TV was an enlightening experience. Along the drive, we saw amazing roadside markets, and the most well-loaded motorbikes you will ever see. In fact, one person had a sofa and two armchairs tied to the back of his bike! Two members of our team even experienced the first 'wild wee' of the trip...!
When we arrived, we entered Kakira, which is a sugar plantation owned by a wealthy Indian family named the Madhvanis. The compound was absolutely huge. We met with Pastor Nicholas and his daughter Marci for lunch, before going to visit one of the plantation communities. It was amazing to be welcomed into their church with singing and dancing, and to be taken around by the locals to see where they live.
Finally, we made out way to Tumaini children's home. Again, we were welcomed by singing and dancing by the children, all wearing familiar Promiseland t-shirts or Gerrards Cross school dresses, before we were then able to share our own prepared songs with them, and even led a massive conga line! We all loved being able to dance and play with the children, even if only for a short time, and can't wait to see them again tomorrow.
We are staying tonight at a place named Sole Hope in Jinja, which is an amazing building. I'm writing this now whilst sitting in an old, wooden wheelbarrow converted into an armchair (extremely comfortable), which I hope gives you some idea of the unique and creative house décor! We're about to have our first team meeting now, to discuss our highs and lows of the day, so this is all for now. You'll hear from us again soon!