Arrival

[Written 2 June 2016]
After a smooth flight from Brussels, much of it spent talking to an American bible school student named Jacob en route to pastor training institute in the west, we landed in Entebbe.  Always excited when I step outside for the first time in a new place.  It was dark unfortunately, which often seems to be the case when I arrive in foreign countries, so I can’t say I really got a meaningful impression of the passing countryside.  While in the car, I started using the internet on my phone and found out that the article about me in News@Northeastern had just come out.  I posted it to Facebook (it was around 1pm in the eastern US) and got such as flood of likes and responses and I’ve ever seen.  By now, as I finally get ready to go bed well night 2am, over 200 people have reacted, possibly a record for me.  I’ve also gotten a deluge of emails from Northeastern people I don’t know and comments from Facebook friends expressing an interest in learning more from me about water and sustainability and suggesting useful contacts.  Too bad that’s not my field.  On an even more exciting note, I heard from a SOP camper, a high school classmate, and a college friend, all of whom are in Uganda right now.  It’s amazing how much useful information is contained in your social network, yet you have no way to know its there until you send the word out.
Observations
  • A poorly designed rotary backed up traffic quite a long way on an otherwise pretty smooth road
  • The one route of the airport to the capital is rather like US 1 – going down each town’s main street.  A well-paved bypass road is in the works.  Wonder if the economic impact on the small towns will be as severe as the advent of the Interstate system was in the US
  • Hard to know what to explain and what people know because they do it too. I made a bit of an idiot of myself explaining to my driver Pascal while were were on that Entebbe to Kampala road how US highways had multiple lanes, curbs, closed sewers, and sidewalks, explaining these things as if they’d be rather novel.  I then saw all those things once we reached Kampala.
  • I’m a complete neophyte when it comes to how cell phones and internet works in other countries – in that respect, these people are more tech savvy than me
  • It’s weird having such throughout access to the outside world while in a developing country.  I think back to my time in Mexico in high school where I got once phone call home after 3 weeks without contact, or even Mongolia where I had to trudge through the snow to a nearby internet cafe.  Here, I just pick up my phone and message people halfway around the world and read their status updates as if I’d never left.
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Departing for Kampala

Departing for Kampala

[Written 1 June 2016]
Today I start a new adventure. Well, yesterday actually since it’s now 8:40am in Belgium, where I’ve just landed.  Getting from my apartment in Boston to my new apartment in Kampala is like trying to clear a set of hurdles.  I breathe a sigh of relief each time I’m issued a boarding pass, clear security (each airport makes you do it again), board a plane in time for departure, and hopefully, a few hours from now, reunite with my one grudgingly checked bag in Entebbe.
Observations
  • Saw a woman signal to her friend across the shuttle bus not to talk so loudly
  • It seems like at least a third of the passengers on my flight from New York to Brussels were African (judging from the women’s clothes) or Israeli (judging from the Hebrew)
  • I was even more surprised that the flight to Uganda was mostly Mzungu

Also, this is neither here nor there, but JFK International Airport, where I changed planes, is located in part of Queens called Jamaica.  I was somewhat amused to note the most of the employees I interacted with there had Caribbean (most likely, Jamaican) accents. Coincidence?