• I’ve desperately missed the friendliness of Canadians while living in California. But the Ugandans are soothing my soul 🙂 Our new friend, Esther, welcomed us into the guest house we now share with open arms, took us on a walk to show us around, and even talked our way into the job site to see the beautiful new school being built by Niteo’s long time country director, Sam Turya. 
  • Boda Bodas are everywhere – named for their original use of carrying goods and people across the country, border to border, the motorbikes weave through traffic, carrying one, two, or even three hired passengers or a load of goods. Karine says all team members are banned from riding on them.  Our new friend Esther rides them and says they’re quick and safe. Kampala Hospital also a ward dedicated to their injuries. 
  • Everyone seems to know everyone through facebook.
  • There’s a different level of appreciation for children’s books here. Yesterday, I showed 2 picture books to a couple of potential partners, highlighting a publisher we’d found who is intentional about working with Ugandan authors and depicting Ugandan children.  I thought they’d just look at the covers, see the smiling Ugandan children and continue the conversation. Instead, both the adults read the picture books from start to finish. They were enchanted.
  • Goat and Pig in Lungandan are very similar but I think we’re getting it. Goat – emboozy – mental reminder: goats are boozy. Pig – embizzy – mental reminder – pigs are very busy.
  • As a Canadian, it does feel strange knowing there is not much of a culture around reading here. For a Ugandan though, it’s very strange that I only speak one language. Esther speaks seven. 
  • I have happily managed to eat or drink mangos at every meal since arriving. 
  • When filming video, it’s tricky to remember to also take still photos. New goal for tomorrow is to take a lot more pics. I only have 10 from the last few days and they’re almost all focused on the raindrops on the van window, rather than the actual view outside.   
  • I enjoy creating a well constructed piece of writing. I read sentences repeatedly out loud to hear the sounds roll through the air and mull over specific word choice. I reorder, revise, rethink. It takes forever. This is not going to be that sort of piece. Instead of my time-intensive creative process, if I manage to get blogs written, they will be writing by brute force.  
  • The range of conversations we have had with Niteo’s partners and potential partners in the last two days is making my mind spin. We’ve discussed climate change’s negative impact on coffee yields, models doing fundraisers, the challenges of publishing books in local languages, does China own Africa, should English as the official language of instruction be changed because it is a relic of colonialism or is it now a unifying force, how some families cannot pay $9 usd/term for their child to go to school and on it goes.  My main takeaway – Niteo, with Karine at the helm, is thinking deeply about how to best invest in the children of Uganda and has also made lasting friendships here with like-minded people. It’s worthy work and honestly I’m beyond honoured to be here. 

We have spent yesterday and today connecting with partners and publishers. Our itinerary picks up considerably on Monday when training starts. Off to bed now though. Peace!

Categories: Uganda 2019