As I write this I am in my new bed, under a mosquito net canopy, in my new Uganda bed. I have been in Uganda for about 8 hours. I left Liberia yesterday at 6 PM Liberia time and arrived in Uganda this morning at 9 AM Uganda time (3 hours later than Liberia and 8 hours later than the East Coast of the US and 9 hours later than Central US.
I slept for about 3 hours on the plane so I was very exhausted on the 3.5 hour drive from the airport to my new home in Kalisizo, Uganda.
So, Liberia. I met some WONDERFUL people. I have great memories and friendships that I will hold close to my heart. I wish I could write so much more than I have time for.Nora, the neighbor to the Horace’s is an AMAZING woman who I am very sad to know that it will be a long time before I can see her again. Nora is 30 with a husband, a son in 6th grade and another son who is around 3 years. Nora is certainly more mature and wise than me but she is also so fun and loving and has really good Standard English skills. (Liberian’s speak Liberian English which has very unique pronunciation and a different grammar structure than Standard English, so I would say half of the people I encountered I had a lot of difficulty talking to. But not awesome Nora!) I don’t know where she got her English skills but I do know she did not go to college. Anyways, I love Nora. Another person who was great was Kebbeh. Kebbeh is a very sweet girl who wants to make sure that I tell everyone she is my African daughter. She is! She wants so badly to come to the US to live.
On my last night, the girls (Kebbeh, Nora and Saliha) surprised me with a going away celebration. What a blast. About 8 of us walked down to the main road bar to get some “Club Beer” (the main local Liberian beer), in the dark with my little flash light. The bar we call “Francis’s Place”, I don’t know if it has a real name, but Francis, who also lives with Nora, owns and runs it. This is the same bar I’ve mentioned before. It is a great concept of an establishment. It’s essentially a small liquor store and you can come and either buy your stuff to take home or to stay and drink it in their outdoor but covered seating area. And a cool thing about Liberia, is you can walk around with open drinks, so you could pop the top and walk home drinking it. That’s my kind of place!So we go to Francis’s. All the lights are off, and Francis is sitting in the dark, illuminated by the neighboring businesses lights, (why pay for electricity, when you don’t have any customers at the moment?). When our gang arrives he turns on his light (a single red light bulb) in the shop part of the place. We describe what we’re up to and he gives us a deal (thanks to Saliha!) of 5 Club Beers (12 oz I think, standard bottle) for 5$. We tell him we want music, so he sets up a stereo for us and we move the tables and chairs and we start drinking and dancing and having a great time. We even get some sips of cane juice, or at least that’s what they were calling it, it was very strong liquor. Some kids that were in the area, and even adults were peaking in, because rarely is Francis’s place bumping like this, especially with a white woman! The kids were dancing outside the bar and at one point I went outside and danced with them. What a great time! When we got back to the house, stumbling down the very uneven dirt road with random large rocks here and there, the girls had made Kool Aid for me and bought me “Bennison” which is a round treat, shaped like a coaster, made of sesame seeds and sugar and maybe peanut butter. Very delicious. If any of those folks are reading this, thank you so much! What a wonderful send off!
So, the plane ride from West Africa to East Africa was very smooth, very modern, not scary one single bit. There were tons of white people, but it was my first experience that I can recall encountering so many people that had my skin color but had a very different language and culture (and attitude). These white people were South Africans, Afrikaaners, who, if you don’t know much about history (not that I do) are basically descendants of the Dutch that colonized there hundreds of years ago. This was the first time I heard Afikaans, the language, and I was like “Where the heck are these people from?!” It sounded like Simish from the game The Sims!!! I think I was the only American on the flights and I was actually feeling pretty insecure about my blunt, deep, voice and lack of elegance in my accent and my knowledge of only one language, compared to these other people who either have gorgeous French-African accents (like the Kenyan flight attendants) or the gibber jabbering in what sounds like jibberish to me. Anyways. It was a nice flight. From Nairobi, Kenya to Entebbe, Uganda I got a window seat and was able to see some nice sights and get pics. It was only a 1.25 hour flight though. I think I even spotted Rusinga Island where I’ll be spending over a month later in my trip. I was very tired on the drive to Kalisizo but I got some pics. The landscape and architecture is very different than Liberia. The architecture of homes and shops in general seems to be of much higher quality than in Liberia. I’m pretty disappointed to learn that they don’t have coconuts here. That was a really great treat that we had in Liberia quite a bit. I can’t wait to get to know this place though. There is another volunteer staying here. Her name is Lucy, a young teacher from the Netherlands. It has been great talking to her and she says she walks around here, and to town by herself all the time and that it’s very safe. Yay!
Tomorrow Lucy and I go to town to get on the internet where I can hopefully do some work for Sprout Care Foundation and my blog.