We’ve finally made it to Soroti and have been able to settle in to our hotel, The Golden Ark. And solved our internet problems, for the time being. We’ve definitely learned that telecom services are confusing and frustrating no matter what country you’re in.
We hit the ground running when we got to Soroti. On our first day, we were introduced to the staff of the Pilgrim Soroti field office and then had a meeting with a selection of the staff that we would be directly working with during our time in Soroti.
We then made our way over to the Beacon of Hope school to inspect the rainwater harvesting system and perform water testing. We met with the headmaster of the school, Robert, and several of the staff working at the school. Robert then introduced us to Ben, who is training to become maintenance staff at the school, and the two of them showed us the system. We were slightly disappointed to see that the rainwater harvesting system was in the same condition as it was during the winter trip, with small but important fixes not having been complete. When we returned to the hotel, we set up our water testing experiments while discussing the history of the system and developing ideas for the future of the system.
After setting up our experiments, we headed off to a well-deserved lunch at the Landmark hotel. When we finished our lunch, we broke off into two groups. Eli and I went with Edward to the Pilgrim office to meet with Paul, the contractor pouring the concrete base and installing the MFP base. Liza, Aniekeme and Marcellin returned to the school to review the MFP system and discuss further improvements to the system.
When Eli and I met with Paul, we realized that we were facing some significant delays in our construction schedule and weren’t sure if we would be able to complete the project. But, after some negotiating and restructuring of our plans, we were able to draft a schedule that would allow us to complete our implementation before we leave.
Liza, Aniekeme, and Marcellin were able to meet again with Ben and discuss specific improvements that could be made to the system. We are optimistic that these changes can be made and the system improved in the near future.
When we got back together, we shared the results of our activities and then walked together to the market. We were excited to find that we could continue our tradition of PB&J sandwiches with cereal for dinner. After enjoying our dinner, we played a few rounds of Eucher until we were all too tired to continue. And, after the long day we had just completed, we didn’t get through too many rounds.
Robert, Eli, Liza, Aniekeme, and Marcellin
Today was the day we were all dreading, the seven hour car ride on bumpy roads from Kampala to Soroti. But, it turned out to be a pretty good day.After being woken up by a very heavy (and noisy) rain storm, we packed all of our luggage into our car and squeezed ourselves in underneath, next to, and above it. We each had our method of getting through the road trip, whether it was listening to the perfect road trip soundtrack, reading a fantastic book, or even just a restful nap. At one point, I was even talking with Edward and he described the history of the Teso region and the recent challenges they had faced. This discussion reinforced the importance of the work we were about to start and made me eager to arrive in Soroti.
After the first two hours in the car, we took a break to stop at the Source of the Nile. After Edward helped us negotiate a price, we took a boat tour along the Nile river and along the connected Lake Victoria.
Being our fearless travel lead, Eli felt the need to test the waters and swim through the the Source of the Nile. But, after drying off, we realized that he actually went swimming in Lake Victoria. Of course, this meant that he had to go back in to the Nile. While having to take two swims got the team wetter than we would have liked, we did manage to get some great pictures.
Then, after a quick lunch at a surprisingly good gas station, we loaded back into the car for the rest of the drive to Soroti. We stopped briefly in Mbale, where Francis (our driver) introduced us to his grandkids and we stopped to buy coffee fresh from the distributor. Needless to say, my inner coffee-addict was quite excited about this.
The rest of the road to Soroti was incredibly bumpy, but we finally made it to The Golden Ark, our hotel in Soroti, and had a quick dinner before falling straight asleep.
Although we had a long day of sitting in a car on a bumpy road, we made the best of it and got some great memories from the ride. We’re all very excited to get started working in Soroti!
Sorry for the long delay, the internet at the hotel has been out since our first day here. We’ve found an internet cafe and have all sat down with laptops and fresh juice as we re-connect with the internet.
Our entire travel team finally made it! There were a few delayed flights and extended layovers, but everyone is here and ready to work. We’ve spent the past few days going around Kampala and seeing different parts of the city, from slums to high rises.
We’re leaving tomorrow morning (in about 12 hours) for Soroti and I know we’re all looking forward to getting there and starting our work.
Sorry this is just a short update, we can’t stay at the cafe much longer. We should have more consistent internet access once we get to Soroti and have more time to document our experiences.
Best wishes from Soroti,
Eli, Liza, Robert, Marcellin, Aniekeme
Well, after two long flights and countless in-flight movies, Liza, Aniekeme and Robert have made it to the Tiptone Hotel in Kampala! We’re still waiting on Eli and Mars, and they should be here later tonight. The three of us are sitting in the hotel lobby waiting for Edward, who works with Pilgrim, to come by so we can talk about our schedule.
Leaving JFK and transferring at Heathrow went smoothly, we even had time to stop for pastries and check our emails (and ever-important Snapchats)! However, we did run into some issues when we landed. We realized that Pilgrim, who we thought would be waiting for us at the airport, were actually waiting for us to call them saying we had landed. But, thanks to an abundance of free Wi-Fi, Skype credits, FaceTime, and some good luck, we were able to resolve the issue quickly and even make some quick calls home.
Once we got going, our drive took us through towns, villages, and markets, giving us a brief glimpse into daily Ugandan life. We’re very excited to get started on our trip.
As Liza (quoting ) would say, “We’re going on an adventure!”.
Kianyun ejaulo (in Ateso, “See you later!”)
Robert, Liza, and Aniekeme
Welcome to our blog! We’re excited to share our journey with you. Stay tuned for updates!