Archive for May 11th, 2012

May 11, 2012

An epic 16 hour layover in London

I double checked my ticket information about a week before I was going to leave Uganda and discovered that I actually had a twenty hour layover at the London Heathrow Airport.  I didn’t mind too much because I’ve never been to London, and I quickly decided that I was going to make it into an epic adventure!  I decided to couch surf because I had used the social network previously when my classmate Andrea and I first arrived in Switzerland for our exchange in 2010.  I made several couch requests to various people, and a guy named William got back to me and was willing to host me and show me around.

The day came for me to leave.  A driver came to pick me up to bring me to the airport at 5:30 in the morning and three of the interns came with me.  The Entebbe airport was crazy but I eventually got through with all of my bags and my guitar.  The flight was smooth but we were delayed in taking off and landing and so we landed two hours late.  After that I had to go through an insanely long customs line and ended up waiting for two more hours to get through.  My phone wasn’t working and so it was almost 9pm when I finally called William on a payphone to tell him that I had arrived.  I paid the extra money to take the quicker Heathrow Express into the city instead of the Tube and finally arrived at Paddington Station.  Upon finding each other we dropped my stuff off at his apartment and then went out again to go for dinner.  By the time we found a restaurant and were done eating it was 11:30pm.  The night would still be young however.  We took the tube and the buses around the city by night even though it was cold and drizzly.  William took me to see the London Eye, the Westminster Parliament Buildings and the Big Ben, incidentally at the stroke of midnight, and Trafalgar square where I saw the countdown for the Olympic Games.  I pretty much got to check off the stereotypical London things that I wanted to say I saw in the twenty or then to become sixteen hours that I had.  Not bad!  We were out until 2am and even after that kept on talking about all sorts of things.  William was a very kind and considerate host and it was great to see the city from the point of view of a local.  I can certainly say that the layover was epic and it was so great to see and experience the city of London even though it was only a dark and rather blurry glimpse!

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May 11, 2012


During my time working with eMi I had the opportunity to take Swahili with two other ladies from our office, Sarah and Rose.  I couldn’t really use it in Kampala specifically because the local language there is Luganda, however, Swahili is widely spoken in many countries in East Africa.  I heard it for the first time when I was on my project trip to the DRC.  I have no idea if or when I will have an opportunity to use it, but my same love for languages that has followed me all my life wouldn’t let me dismiss the opportunity to learn it.  It is a very beautiful language and it was such a joy to learn.

Kiswahili is an easy language to learn by way that it is pronounced like it is spelt and many of the grammatical patterns follow through.  One of the hardest things about the language was that there are several different word classes and each class has everything associated with that word take on the patterns or rules of that specific class.  This means that adjectives can sound completely different depending on the word class of the noun that they are describing.


May 11, 2012

The Hairy Lemon

On my final weekend in Uganda, all seven of the interns joined by one of the eMi staff in Jinja and the three girls who have a street kids ministry in Kampala (takes breath) went to a lodge on the Nile near Jinja called The Hairy Lemon.  We had heard about this place from other eMi staff and were told that it was a great and really chill place to stay.  We booked a ‘crocodile bunkhouse’ with eleven beds for two nights and all headed out on Friday morning with public transit to spend the day in Jinja and then head to the Lemon that evening.  After about three hours on the road we finally made it to Jinja.  We ate lunch at our favourite restaurant called Ozzie’s which I have decided make the best burgers I have ever had to this day.  After that we did some souvenir shopping, talked to some street kids for a while, and then met up with Brice, an architect from eMi in Jinja, who has a pick-up truck and was able to drive us to the Lemon with everyone in the back.  What a sight we must have been on the road – a white pick-up filled to the brim with a group of mzungu’s traveling Africa-style.

After about an hour we arrived at the Lemon, but the lodge is actually an island and so we had to take a ferry out onto the Nile to get there.  The ferry was a rickety canoe that they managed to fit many of us in at once and was oared by a single (muscular) man!  The Hairy Lemon island itself was all it promised to be.  It was super chill, the bunkhouse was simple and nice, the food was good, and we were all in each others great company.  On Saturday David and Katherine went white water rafting as this part of the Victoria Nile has some of best rapids in the world; I was originally supposed to go but couldn’t because of my recent knee injury.  The rest of us just chilled for the day swimming, playing volley ball, tossing a frisbee, reading books, and playing cards.  It was heavenly to be in a place with so few people.  One thing about Kampala is that is is impossible to escape the presence of people.  It was a great time for me to meditate a lot on the trip and my rapidly approaching return to Canada.  On Sunday we had our own worship time and then headed home after lunch.  It was an awesome weekend although it was the calm before the storm!  Upon my return it was time to begin packing and preparing to leave for home.

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