High sea adventures. And pirates.

Upon the island of Juani off the shores of Mafia Island lies Kua Ruins dating from the 12th century. Off a long, narrow channel between the island and the sea, a short walk from the shore of the channel, lies the Blue Lagoon. That sounded too cool to pass up. So I arranged a boat to take me out there, and a guide to show me around. These things I saw: ruins of much oldness, a lagoon of much blueness, and a sunset of much redness. But as usual it was the journey which proved the most awesome.

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Turn Left at the Tamarind Tree

Men and women use different frames of reference when they give directions. This difference is also cultural. On a recent trip to Mafia Island, off the coast of Tanzania, I had to take a shortcut, off the beaten path, down through some scrub land. No roads, no buildings, just bushes, trees, a few cows. And sand. Lots of sand.

I was going to take this route a few times, and so just to make sure I didn't get lost Marameta decided to quickly show me the way.

As we walked he gave me some quick references which I could ostensibly use when making the journey alone. But the references were all using natural way points, which whilst very familiar to locals were totally new to me...
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The tide is coming, fix the boat

Wooden boats need to be repaired. The people who own wooden boats can ill afford to loose the boat for more than a day. So any work you do gets done between low and high tide.

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Seek adventure, tread new paths

this blog is a copy of my 'official' blog posted on the internal company intranet

I'm in Uganda. I'm working for PACE. I'm living an adventure. I've met Irene who made it the 40 kilometers across the potholed dirt road to reach the clinic where she got at least basic medical care, and gave birth to her son. I'm helping Irene, and those mothers who are unable to get care, those who don't know, those who can't travel, those who can't afford. These mothers are Sara. My adventure is my work. And Sara is who I work for.

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How many hellos?

One of the best way to get to know people is to learn their language. Even a simple hello sequence can get you a long way. With that philosophy in mind I've tried to learn two new words of Luganda per day. Turns out Luganda is one of the few languages Google Translate doesn't help with. Also turns out there are very few resources in general for the intrepid learner of languages. There are some which are pretty good though, although even those are incomplete works in progress.

I started off with the basic hello, and goodbye. And moved on to other phrases from there. On thing that never really stuck me before is how many ways there are in English, to say hello. Well Luganda is no different...
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Sipi Falls

All work and no play... well that's just tedious. So one day during our field trip we asked our driver Waswa to drive a few hours up to Sipi Falls. It's high up on a damn huge hill. The views are amazing! And the falls are beautiful.

In theory you can get all the way to the top of the falls, where it's almost totally flat. But you can only do that when it's not raining. Unfortunately when we got there rain it did. But we made it up to the half way point...

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Weddings and Introductions

Weddings in any country are a big deal. In Uganda they are a big deal which involves the entire community. Before the wedding day, the groom is introduced to the brides parents. This is a big ceremony.

The women dress up in elaborate gowns. The men put on traditional kanzu, over which they usually wear modern suit jackets. Representatives of the groom, family, friends, relatives all gather and then convoy down to the brides village. They bring with them gifts. Lots of gifts. Chairs, TVs, maize, salt, clothes, goats, cows, chickens, suitcases. You name it.

They are received by a delegation of the bride, and filled into the official introduction area. And so begins the long introduction ceremony.
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Field Trip!

One of my goals whist participating in the RTC Fellowship program is to get to get closer to the people we're trying to help, understand who it is we're working for. We head off on a five day trip travelling north, and then to the east, visiting Pace branded ProFam clinics on the way and meeting some really great people!

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Party time at the Pace office

Looks like we arrived at the right time, just in time for the Pace ekibo (pronounced cheebo), aka big ole office party. If you're thinking parties like we have in the west, think again. Music, dancing, roast meat, and beer. Let the fun commence!

More pictures of the party over on Flickr.

Photos from Uganda

I've setup a Flickr photostream which captures my experience, as well as the 3 others I'm working with, whilst we're working for PACE in Uganda. Should provide a bit of the local flavor!

Dual lane road, three lanes must be better...

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