We started our long journey to Shilongo on January 1st, flying from JFK to Amsterdam. After getting in earlier than we expected, we visited Professor Swan in the airport after he had gotten off of two flights and was planning on getting on two more! We were all under the impression that our flight would be going from Amsterdam straight to Entebbe, Uganda but the flight was actually scheduled to stop in Kigali, Rwanda before continuing to Entebbe. Confused but sure that they wouldn’t allow three passengers to board the wrong flight, we relaxed and passed the 10 hour flight by making friends with our neighbors, reading, and watching movies.
We arrived in Entebbe after Professor Swan and were worried about meeting up with him but he had cleverly made a sign that said “Swan” so we wouldn’t miss him. We all finally got to meet Samuel and our driver Fred. Misaki was welcomed very warmly by Samuel who was so happy to see a traveling member of EWB return. After settling in at the Entebbe flight motel, Misaki and I discovered that there was hot water to shower with. It was such an unexpected luxury and really cherished after two days of traveling.
After a good night’s rest, we got up early to have breakfast at the motel and begin our journey to Mbale, and eventually, Nyondo. We got a few essentials in Kampala before continuing to Mbale. Samuel was so helpful with getting everything that we needed for our stay, I really appreciated his knowledge of the best local stores and his ability to bargain. We stopped for lunch on the way and got to try some local dishes. Matt was the most adventurous and tried posho (millet), matoke, and pilau (rice with beef) – all traditional Ugandan foods. Once we arrived in Mbale, we visited FDNC where we signed their guest book and looked back at some of the other entries that other traveling members had made. Then, we stopped at the market and purchased food for the week. Everywhere we have gone, Matt has managed to find passion fruit. He has ordered passion fruit juice, bought passion fruit at the supermarket, and even bought it fresh at the market. His reasoning? “It’s a natural aphrodisiac!”
The drive out to Nyondo was bumpy as the roads got worse as we got farther from Kampala and Mbale, but we got our first glimpse of Mount Wanali, the first mountainous terrain we have seen. During the drive, Professor Swan kept commenting on the redness of the soil, I think he’s planning on sneaking some back into the United States. Once at Nyondo, we were amazed at how beautiful the house we are staying in is. It’s spacious and clean, with hot water too! We’re really being spoiled. David and James are helping out around the house again, they were very happy to see Misaki – everyone was! They cooked us a delicious meal of rice, carrots, and chipati. It was my first experience with chipati and it really is as good as everyone claims it is.
As we were planning out our schedule for the next week and a half, we realized how little time we actually have in the village and are already sad at the thought. We can’t wait for what this next week will bring and will keep you updated as often as we can.