Hello from Mbale!
We finally got to Shilongo yesterday after flying from Boston to Amsterdam to Kigali to Entebbe. We landed in Uganda at 10:30 pm New Years Eve. Kampala was going wild. On our way to the hostel there were people in the streets, fireworks all around and loud music playing everywhere. The party next to our hostel didn’t stop partying until 5:30 am. We did not get a lot of sleep.

Jet-lagged and tired, we snagged a bus to Mbale. Every time the bus stopped we were offered sodas and meat skewers for purchase through the window. I was sorely tempted to buy a whole turkey. When we got to Mbale, we met with Samuel from FDNC, the NGO we work with in Uganda. It was quite hot in Mbale, especially after coming from shoveling snow in Boston. After a delicious lunch of rice, potatoes, beef and chicken at Samuel’s house, Samuel drove us to Shilongo.

We found the warmest of welcomes in Shilongo. Fred and Rogers had already met us in Mbale,but as soon as we arrived in Shilongo we met Florence, Justine, Rebecca and many others (along with Alan, Atha and many other children). We spent the rest of the day touring the village. We eventually met with Vincent and stopped to talk and play with the children. The kids found my arm hair fascinating… We then went and had tea and dinner together before splitting up to go to bed. I slept in Roger’s room, Abby was with Justine, and Misaki stayed with Florence.

We reconvened for tea and breakfast in the morning and decided to once again journey to Mbale to get enough food for the next week or so. I rode my first boda boda (a motorcycle taxi of sorts) to get there. It was really dusty but overall fun and less scary than I had been led to believe it would be. And that’s how I got to the internet cafe where I am writing this.

Its been a busy trip full of travel so far. Today we are meeting with Vincent and Jude to plan out our schedule as far as village meetings and water board meetings are concerned. We are also planning on going to Busano for a cultural festival tomorrow that nearly everyone has been telling us to attend. I’ve only been here for a day or so but I can already tell why Misaki loves Shilongo so much. The next two weeks are going to be great.

Pictures will be up soon!

-Kevin