We are now in the process of making our way back home. We left Shilongo this morning, and will be staying just outside of Mbale for the next two nights. We will be wrapping up with FDNC and local government officials over the next two days and then driving to Kampala and then Entebbe to catch our flight to Amsterdam and back to Boston.
Tuesday we finished collecting information in Shilongo. We had our eyes set on getting flow tests on each of the three springs three times this day, so Drew and Scott ran from spring to spring filling Jerry cans and writing times on Drew’s arm. The journey was far and extensive and we managed to get lost several times – but we had fun. We later land surveyed the community borehole in the morning, with a large audience of community members and on looking students. We laid out an impressive grid of over 100 points, which will give us good data in planning for implementation. Before breaking for lunch, we made a stop at the chairman’s house to talk over a few last minute details, say a very sincere thank you, and sign the Memorandum of Understanding, which commits Shilongo, FDNC, and us to our partnership.
One of our friends who has spent a lot of time with us invited us to her house in the afternoon. We sat with her family in their house, looked at pictures, exchanged warm conversation, and played with the kids outside. Afterwards, as we were heading back to our house, we passed by the local teachers collage. They waved us over to play some Volleyball and we were eager to accept. While some stayed on the sideline, others of us played for hours until the sunset. We left with many new friends, some newly tuned volleyball skills and lingo, and quite a lot of dirt and mud. We all slept well that night as usual.
The morning was cloudy, rainy, and a bit stormy so we stayed inside compiling data and writing our trip report. In the afternoon we said our final goodbye to Shilongo under the Mango tree in the Purunyende (Village’s central meeting spot). We re-presented the water quality results, which they took for educational purposes. We had written the village a letter, which was read and translated by the general secretary of Shilonogo. The final goodbye was emotional, and although we know that our group will be coming back next year, we do not know which specific students will be. The community and many of its members have grown to like us over the past few weeks, so as is normal, the goodbye was hard. We have pledged to stay in contact as best we can, and are eager to share all the wonderful feelings and experience we have gained from our work in Shilongo.
Next time we write, we will be in Kampala staying at the Backpacker’s Hostel.