this is my third try today, i keep getting to the end of a long paragraph and the power/internet dies. so third time is a charm, which really just means this is going to be a cut and paste email from fletcher to parents that describes the first couple of days. I have not read this I will write more later when this is more reliable. cheers Jon
Hey dad & Lutrelle! I finally got to an internet cafe that works! There was a storm here last night and the power went out all throughout Iganga which kept us from accessing the internet or ATMs or anything. Its a fairly usual occurance around here so it doesnt interrupt day to day business, just outside connections. This is so much fun so far. Africa is a different world. We moved into our shop today, which is ~20 minutes from our hotel, down a looong dirt road where villagers live for the most part, but random shops/buildings are scattered among the houses. Its hard to describe… But most of the afternoon we cleaned up the shop and built tables and benches and assembled our tools and drill saws and became friends with the locals. I have so much to say I really don’t know where to start. It turns out that the owner of our hotel, Dowdy, who is the person we will be passing our business along to once we leave, is the older brother of the former vice president of Uganda. The first powerful female figure in Ugandan history as well. We’ll get a chance to meet her at some point. She resigned from VP not long ago because she divorced her husband (something about abuse) and divorce is not very acceptable here. Well Dowdy and his family have a lot of power in this town, and he’s respected everywhere he goes and in turn we’re treated the same way. He runs a restaurant next door to this internet cafe where we eat 3 meals a day. The foods really good and no more than about $3-4 per person per meal. The beers are cold too. Food is exotic moreso here than in America, as expected, so its not unusual to have random chicken hearts or spinal column or cow intestines, all of which we politely push to the edge of our plates……. One of the primary foods here is matoke which is unripened bananas mashed together. They prepare it 1000 different ways. Some are not bad, most are pretty bad. Aside from that though, the food is amazing. Fresh fruits and vegetables and chicken and beef. Haven’t had any goat yet, although we see them everywhere throughout the city. One of the cool things about this town is that the animals mostly roam free, so at any given time bulls with 2 foot long horns roam the streets or traffic stops for goat crossing, etc. So far we’ve constructed the shop and the molds for creating the shellers, although we’re waiting until tomorrow to pour concrete. We are a rare sight for the locals to see so while we’re working in the shop people come up and watch us, and are eager to help when help is needed. We have about 5 locals working with us so they will be as familiar with the equipment as we are when its time for us to leave, so we can pass on the business to them. Ugandans call white people “muzungus”, especially the really young people here, who aren’t shy to point and say muzungu! and get all excited. We’ve only run into 2 other muzungu here so far, and both are Peace Corps. There are many more here, just havent run into them yet. Anyways, the children here are one of the best things about this town, they love to interact with us and theres this thing they like to do where we make a fist, and they make a fist and pound it against ours and we both say “bong”, more like the booong a bell makes than the smoking device hahah. Well the children love it and the adults laugh. Partly laughing with us, partly at us but haha thats okay. Taking lots of pictures, still need to figure out how they’re going to be uploaded online, but I’ll get them to you.
Talk to you soon!