(by Becca Waterloo)
We left early for Mbale the next morning, which was probably my favorite day just because of the drive. As a daydreamer, I love long car rides, especially in a van with a large amount of people (road trip?!). It was in that car ride I felt the happiest I’d been in my life as of yet. It was the group, the scenery, the fact I was completely relaxed and had nothing to worry about but still knee deep in this banda project. I was in AFRICA! The wind was blowing in my hair, and I was listening to really good music. It was that moment that every bit of hard work I had done all year, my whole life, was completely worth it. I can’t even explain in words, but it was perfect.
I observed the scenery of an English countryside mixed with a jungle. We passed by endless amounts of earth houses constructed of mud, cement, sticks, bricks, hatched roofs. African people are so ORGANIC. They are earthly, and they are completely grounded with the planet. They wake up to survive, with not much money at all (compared to us) no smart phones, computers, purses, basically our “necessities”. The children are the most breathtaking beings I have ever seen. They walk around their homes with no agenda but to grow a day older, and enjoy the sunlight to light their day and only a candle lights their night. I would give anything for their simple, non materialistic way of life.
Our lunch was spent in Jinja, at the source of the Nile River in Uganda. The group split about 7 deep fried tilapias, eyeballs included. It was hard to watch as I don't eat much fish, but yes, I did try it at least. There were more craft markets to explore about, but just breathing in the air near the Nile River was enough for me. Oh also, monkeys are Ugandas squirrels. The people were laughing at my "MONKEYS!" comments as it's such a rarity at home.
After our drive into Mbale, we pulled up to a hotel. Mbale was a lot less busy than Kampala, but an extremely cute town. Each student had their own single bedroom with a bed, mosquito net (or princess canopy), toilet and shower. I was fortunately blessed with a full sized bed compared to others. We ate dinner at an indian restaurant (in a room with about 3 other white groups) which was yummy. Good food and good company.
Overall it was a great Christmas Eve.