Saturday, June 1, 2013

Days Eleven-Fourteen: Jinja

6/1/13, 8pm
Tessa and I took the public boat into Jinja yesterday morning and had smooth sailing (ha ha) the whole way. It was less crowded than usual, in that there weren't flocks of chicken and herds of goats joining us, so it was a very relaxing boat trip. It takes just under two hours to travel from Lingira to Jinja by boat, but it's really not bad with such beautiful weather. As soon as we arrived to the port in Jinja, being the only two muzungus, the kinyamas (sp?), were swarming and pointing at us so they could be the ones to carry us out of the boat. Then, maybe two seconds after our feet touched the ground, a boda boda driver came to us and told us to come with him so he could drive us to town. It was so nice to be on a boda again; I had missed that during our stay on the island.
We had an incredibly productive day in Jinja. We went to the bank, the supermarket, the cafe and the pharmacy, and then stopped by the hostel to drop off our things and eat lunch. Then we went over to WORI to drop off a few things and speak to Annette about our plans when we come back to Jinja in a couple of weeks. Annette had so kindly set up appointments for us with various related NGOs and will be accompanying us as well. She also spoke to a host family we will be staying with during that time in Jinja and arranged our accommodations. It is so wonderful that we are connected with so many resources already who are so willing to help us during our time here. After leaving WORI, we were determined to find Rolex for dinner and extra chapati and zesta (jam) for an early breakfast tomorrow morning. Chapati is kind of like a thick bready tortilla and is used to make Rolex at stands all along the street. They contain eggs and generally some sort of vegetable, such as tomatoes, onions, carrots, or peppers and only cost about 1000-1500 shillings a piece (roughly 50-60 cents). While we were waiting for our Rolex a young shopkeeper next door was trying to convince me that doctors recommend drinking porridge with your Rolex and that I should let him buy me some while the security guard next door was trying to get Tessa's attention. We walked around for a bit to the various shops on Main St, comparing prices and deciding which goodies we will buy and from where before we head home.
The hostel we were staying at, Jinja Backpackers, is located directly on the Nile River. Before heading to bed (at 8:30), we enjoyed a Nile beer while watching the sunset over the Nile.

This morning, Teresha and Israel from Spring of Hope met us at the hostel to drive us to Kampala for the conference. Everyone went around and introduced themselves and their organization, discussed challenges and possible solutions, and after we mingled and networked. Tessa was able to conduct several interviews for her project, which was perfect. One organization that really stood out to me for the purposes of working with Tawi was Eye4Africa, where they connect students with internships for 2-24 months abroad. The woman who was there was previously a professor of psychology in Holland and realized that the experience abroad needed a bit of reform, much like Tawi's experience. Before students leave for their time abroad, they attend sessions to understand more about the culture they will be entering as well as the effects their own culture may have on their experience and perceptions of the country and the culture. While in country, they offer various packages of support programs for students who may need help coping with their experiences culturally or personally. Though the program currently only works with students from the Netherlands, she was more than open to possible expansion and potentially partnering up with Tawi by offering their services to us and perhaps exchanging fellows, depending on if they were interested in research and joining Tawi or internships and traveling with Eye4Africa. I am looking forward to continuing to foster this and the other partnerships we have been creating on our visit.
On the way back to Jinja, we stopped at a supermarket in Kampala that was very similar to a super WalMart. As Tessa and I have not seen anything aside from small local shops since we had arrived, we were overwhelmed. On the ride home, Teresha and Israel were so kind as to offer for us to stay with them at their home tonight, and we will be joining them for church in the morning before heading back to the island again in the afternoon.

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