After a very informative and quite enjoyable four-day training session in Ottawa with my fellow Young-Proffessionals (YPs), it was time to say goodbye, pack my bags, re-pack my bags, clean my apartment, and then re-pack my bags one more time.
In what seemed like a flash, I was aboard my flight from Ottawa to Entebbe Uganda with quick stops in Montreal, Brussels, and Kigali. There was almost no time to fully comprehend the emotion of leaving for an extended time (I am sure that will come in time), but friends and family all made sure to keep my phone ringing all weekend.
The flights were as non-eventful, minus a last minute go-around on final approach to Entebbe which delayed our landing by about 10 mins. Once on the ground I was made blissfully aware that this new home was nothing like the piles of snow Ottawa was receiving. 25 degrees and thunderstorms at 12:30 at night lit the sky during the 45 min drive to the guesthouse, a quick stop for some fuel (a perfect opportunity to buy some water and chips) and we were at the guesthouse, which appeared abandoned… because it was. No night watchman, no greeting party, no bed for now. My driver Charles was starting to look a bit concerned after 30 mins of honking and banging on the gate. He admitted later that he was considering taking me home with him. We finally woke up a guard at another guesthouse and convinced him to rent me a room. 20 mins later I was asleep (having left my water and chips in the car, and realizing my computer charger wasn’t going to work tonight).
As I awoke the next day I was greeted by the familiar friendliness of East Africans and the lush and green surroundings of the city. Kampala has a distinct feel that I have not seen before, much brighter, cleaner and green than other capitals in the area. The traffic is busy, but quiet, the boda boda’s are crazy, but very convenient (and frankly a lot of fun – sorry mom).
The first days at work have been engaging; they have me working on the organization’s strategic plan and grants already. The office is small with four of us working in a room about 20 x 20, but everyone is very nice and the friendly nature of the office makes it easy to work.
Spent my first weekend exploring the local incredibly hilly neighborhoods and catching up on some much-needed sleep, and now for the first full four-day week! I will report back next week whether or not he Easter Bunny made it this far south…