Friday, October 7, 2011

The rhythm of the day

I thought it might be interesting to hear what events "mark" the day here in Kitgum, Uganda...

At around 4:30 am, the roosters start to crow...  it is dark outside and I check my watch and think, "really, 4:30 am?"  I put the pillow over my head and try to go back to sleep.  Eventually the sunshine breaks in and the noise level continues to rise.  I start to open my eyes when the singing starts.  Kids singing on their way to school, cooks singing as they pump water - the morning is here.

I fill my wash basin with water and go into the outdoor shower/bathroom.  Washing up and washing hair by pouring cups of cool water over my head.  A night shower is even better under the African stars  :)  Bathing twice a day is absolutely necessary because of the heat and dust - I am grimy at the end of the day.

Anyway - I also wash some clothes in the washbasin each morning and hang them out to dry.  Breakfast of porridge or toast. bananas, and tea - and a talk about what is on for the day.  By the time I gather my things to head to the clinic or the hospice, most of the 3,000 kids are in classrooms.  I can hear them repeating the teacher or the occasional giggle as I walk by.  The vocational students (high school age kids in training for building, sewing, secretarial, mechanics, etc.)  are all gathering outside and singing and clapping to start their day as well.  Wow, does that start the day off on the right foot!

We meet back around 1 pm for a lunch - which is usually rice, beans and some meat stew.  We had chicken today at lunch and I crunched down on neck and other unidentified bones  - so one has to be careful!    See Frances, the cook, below plucking our lunch.  May I add that the smell of the burning feathers does not stimulate the appetite in the morning (we were eating breakfast while he was doing this )  However, I really do appreciate all the work that goes into our meals - no refrigeration, no electric stove or oven... it would be hard to cook for a big group in Africa.  We are invited out to a staff's house for dinner tomorrow and they are preparing "game meat" - I think gazelle or antelope is on the menu.

Then back to whatever work I am doing until the end of the day around 5 - then washing up again, a light supper with the group and then usually we have a bit of conversation, or computer time or reading until the satellite modem is shut off.  Some days there are power outages, but so far we have had power most of the time.  Each day so far has had a bit of rain - but the temperature doesn't drop below 70 at night - and gets up to 80 or 85 in the day.  Kitgum has beautiful, vast skies that somehow seem different than home.  Maybe it is the flat landscape or the lack of pollution (although there is plenty of dust).  You'll just have to see it someday - yes, and open invitation to come back with me.

Off to bed - under mosquito netting.  (don't worry Steve - I am also taking my malaria pill)


  1. Thanks for the great word picture of what a day is like over there!...:)