Saturday, June 14, 2008

Back in Kisubi!

It’s amazing how easily I can slip back into the rhythm of Uganda. I feel just like a Peace Corps Volunteer again, although this time with quite a bit more money, which does make it that much more enjoyable! I love being able to spend money on my friends and treat them to things that they don’t normally get to experience.

Although I’m staying at the swanky Sheraton, once I’m back outside walking the streets of Kampala, and especially walking around Kisubi, I feel totally at home again. It’s wonderful!

So after sleeping 11 hours last night I headed to the crazy Kampala taxi park and hopped a matatu to Kisubi. It’s been a few years, but I remembered it all perfectly. Kampala is definitely growing and it’s starting to look like one big urban sprawl from Kampala to Entebbe. Although once I was back in Kisubi it was village life again.

I met Margaret for lunch (rice and salty beans – yum Ugandan food) and then we walked through my old trading center on the way to the village where Lukwago lives. For those that don’t know, Margaret was my nurse counterpart when I was a PCV. She, her daughter, Majo, and our little adopted brother, Lukwago, are my family here. Margaret is one of the most amazing women I have ever met.

It’s amazing being back here. I can’t explain how wonderful it is to be remembered by people from my village. Everywhere I was going I heard “Nakamate”, my Ugandan name, or “Dawna” my other Ugandan name! People were recognizing me and running up to hug me saying “You’ve been lost” – a standard greeting here when you haven’t seen someone for a while. 

Lukwago had absolutely no idea that I was here in Uganda so when we found him at his home in the village he ran up and would not stop hugging me. He’s gotten so big, he’s 16 now, when I left he was only 12. He’s doing so well too, he’s in grade 5 and knows so much English now. He’s even a prefect (a high honor in the primary schools here)! I am so proud of him. He’s had a tough life. When I met him at Kisubi Hospital he was a house boy for one of the nurses, he had never been to school, his parents died from AIDS, he lived with his little old Auntie (who is also HIV+), and he was just the sweetest, kindest boy you have ever met. One day, he was sent home from being the houseboy because he was spending too much time over at my house. So to make a long story short, I went and found him in the village and we put him in school, and he is doing so well now! He is a foot taller than all the other 5th graders, and quite a few years older, but it doesn’t seem to bother him at all. He’s a great kid!
After picking up Lukwago (you think he was going to just say hi and let me leave? Oh no, he’s going to be by my side every second I am in Kisubi!) we walked up to my old hospital, running into so many people that I know. How fun it is!

Tomorrow, Margaret and Lukwage are picking up Majo at her boarding secondary school and they are coming into Kampala for an adventure! We might do a little bowling, maybe a movie, good lunch, some ice cream, we’ll see what the day brings! I can’t wait!

Here is a picture of Margaret (left) with the owners of a shop I used to go to!

We bought some meat! We took a bag full of groceries (bread, sugar, biscuits, and meat) to Lukwago's aunt.

These children live at Lukwago's place (not sure of the relation) and I thought it was adorable that the little one in the back was copying his big brother and carrying firewood on his head.

Lukwago's aunt and his cousin, Sarah.

Lukwago and Margaret - striking a pose!

Me with Lukwago and some of his family.

Mr. Prefect in front of his school!

Lukwago and his favorite teacher (Math).

Me with my jja-jja (on my right) and Auntie Carol (on my left) and her daughters. She owns a small store I used to go to all the time.

Big Lukwago with Little Lukwago. Little Lukwago is one of the orphans I used to work with, he is HIV+ and was started on ARVs a little over a year ago. Margret says he is doing well now!

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