Saturday, June 8, 2013

Days ThirtyOne-ThirtyFour: Goodbyes

We got back to the island after a very bumpy boat ride around five this evening. At first we were surprised not to see Ema waiting for us, but as we got closer we saw he was there resting behind a tree. Dinner was especially wonderful, with rice, chips, fish, and cabbage, ending the night watching Taken. Considering my upcoming travels to Europe, I can assure you I won't be getting in a cab with anyone named Peter.

After satisfying our craving for Ruthie's breakfast with Rolex, Claudia, Tessa, Nicole and I paid a visit to the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) clinic and the primary school in the morning before lunch. After lunch we walked the circumference of the island as Nicole, Tessa and Andrew had not had the chance to yet. I also wanted to say goodbye to the old man we had met last time on Lingira who lives just outside of Dubai camp. Last time he started out impressed with my Lugandan for only having been here a week at that point to becoming shocked every time I didn't know the Lugandan word for something. He had proceeded to teach me roughly sixty words and would yell "benange!" when I didn't recall it correctly.
He was sad that we were leaving, telling us he will buy our next ticket if we come visit him again. Wile I didn't remember all of his teachings, I remembered enough words to impress him. Luckily for me I recited some words first, so only Tessa and Andrew got grilled on their Lugandan. Like last time, he followed us as we tried to leave, pleading with us that we will come back and telling us how he was so happy to have met us but he was still sad and we had better visit soon or we'll come and find him dead. As one of the most interesting characters I've met in Uganda, I'll miss him too, but luckily Andrew managed to catch our last encounter on tape.
We indulged in another movie after dinner and decided to watch Up, as I never managed to see most of the movie. My sister, Megan, and I had tried to watch it after Thanksgiving dinner one year, but she turned it off once it got sad (approximately ten minutes in).

For our final day on the island, Emma taught us how to make chapatti which, it turns out, is fantastic with peanut butter and honey. We visited his family and others to say our goodbyes before leaving the island one final time. That evening we went to the football (soccer) match of the boys versus the girls. While someone claimed the boys had made three goals, we were all pretty sure that no one scored, ending with a tie of 0-0. After our final dinner, Teacher Fred and some others came to visit us at SHIM to say their goodbyes as well.

This morning we had requested Ruthie's banana pancakes for breakfast, which are literally one of the best things I've ever eaten. Compared to my usual limit of two pancakes, I can manage to eat closer to six of these masterpieces. We were accompanied to the boat by Ruthie, Emma, Maama and Paapa O, Teacher Fred, Teacher Zack, and many of our other friends and partners on the island. It was strange saying goodbye, but so good to know that we had made such strong connections. Teacher Fred even gave parting gifts to Claudia and I before departing and I am hoping to be able to continue to stay in touch.
Once we arrived in Jinja, we had lunch with Annett and Rose from WORI, though the restaurant didnt actually have most of their food on the menu in stock, so we all ended up with cold beef samosas and chips. I think they were the hardest to say goodbye to, as they have been so incredibly helpful during our time here. I never would have been able to meet with so many organizations, have the homestay experience, or make connections at the same depth that I was able to if it hadn't been for them. 
A few of us had also decided to donate our clothes through an organization in order to keep in line with some of Tawi's goals. Really we are not in Uganda to deliver any sort of finished project or donation, so instead of being the mzungus who directly give our clothes to those in need, we were aiming to be invisible community helpers. There is no need for us to take the credit for the donation of these items and by donating them through the organization, they become the helpers and empowerers.
Before leaving Jinja to go rafting, we wanted to see Andy and Keeky as they were staying at their home in Jinja. They invited us over for (REAL Jersey cow) ice cream and popcorn, which was such a treat. They have been so helpful throughout this entire trip.
Nicole, Claudia and I shared a boda on our way back to Adrift, the company we would be rafting with the following morning. On our way back, our driver drove on the shoulder to avoid one of the speed bumps, as they often do. However, another boda was stopped there and the shoulder of the road was thick with mud (or what we hoped was mud) causing our boda to tip and completely soak us. While I was trying to pretend that it was only mud, I heard a few of the drivers that had come to help say the word for "shit" in Lugandan and my fears were confirmed. The three of us, who were all wearing Nicole's skirts and I who was carrying my new bag from Esther, were literally covered in wet, muddy shit. The driver tried to apologize, but we did what we could to get out of there ASAP. I hopped on a separate boda so that the three of us wouldn't be squishing more filth onto one another and they got back on the original boda so we could get back to Adrift. We ran to the showers and bathed with our clothes on, and even after washing them a few times they will need to be severely disinfected at home. Though we were mostly unscathed, I ended up with a nice size bruise on my hip which has made sitting rather uncomfortable.
Luckily, Adrift has a bar, complete with an upside down kayak that you can hoist yourself into to take shots. I think we were all well in need of a drink after that episode.

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