Post Author: Abby Barker

Mulembe!

We have officially settled in at Shilongo! Yesterday consisted of
travel, travel, and more travel – I met everyone at the airport on
Wednesday and we made it through customs without any issues, found our
driver, and headed to our hostel for the night. Everyone was a little
delirious on the drive there so we were happy to finally have real
beds to crash on, even if it was a short night sleep.

After a delicious breakfast (although unfortunately they did not have
chapati for breakfast, so sad), we drove to the bus station and took
the YY bus headed to Mbale. Five hot, sweaty hours later we arrived in
Mbale, and were greeted by even more sun, heat, and many curious
stares at the strange mzungu and all their luggage. Luckily we did not
have to wait long before Sam picked us up and drove us straight to his
house for an AMAZING lunch, which we ate in record time. Sam is really
great, and we discussed all the traveling he has done in the US, and I
think he may have visited even more states than I had! Before driving
to Shilongo, we stopped in mbale to pick up 6 mattresses and some bed
nets, then piled into the car on top of all our supplies (literally)
and headed south.

The drive was incredible – a perfect introduction into the village,
with the winding red dirt roads and rolling green hills, and the
silhouette of the giant mountain behind it all. When we pulled up in
front of Rebecca and Sam’s house, we were greeted by so many new
faces, and countless little kids all begging for our attention. They
quickly helped us unload the car and drop our stuff in our rooms, and
then we did some introductions. I tried very hard to remember each
name and face, but we will see if I am successful in the future! After
rice, beans, and delicious cabbage, we organized ourselves in our
rooms and promptly fell asleep (Kyle before anyone else).

First thing this morning, Peter and I embarked on our first run, which
was fantastic other than the fact that we must have gained at least
1000 ft of elevation in the 25 minutes before turning around. Some of
the people we passed found the running mzungu to be funny, others just
stared at us, unable to comprehend what was going on. On return, we
enjoyed a breakfast of chips (ie, french fries) and mango, then we got
the grand tour of all the water sources in the village from Timothy.
Again I was struck by the beauty of the whole town, and the way each
house and farm fit together seamlessly. I’m excited to be working here
and can’t wait to see what this week holds.

This afternoon we took a quick ride into town for some shopping and to
pick up John, who got in last night. Much more to come!