Monday, January 31, 2011

Blood, goats and roaches...almost settled

 Blood, goats and roaches
Having located a room for my stay here in Ndejje,  Uganda.  I proceeded today in getting kitted up for the move in.  Things were a bit delayed, as my friends car had to be repaired on the way to giving me a lift.  This was due to an incident last night which marked a slight horrific start to my stay. Last night, having just seated ourselves outside Miki's bar in Monyonyo with a vodka tonic, two boda's collided. One got away with pretty sever concussion, whilst the other spun, hit his head on my mate's car and lay in front of us gasping for life.  His head injuries were extremely severe and we doubt he survived the night. 

I was rather shaken up by the sudden change; relaxed evening drinking scene to grotesque blood bath, but the incident wasn't the most disturbing part of this evening.  It was the reaction to the body... the first person who ran to help, flipped the guy right over, on his front, which I think was a response to stop him choking, but I was pretty sure this was not the appropriate recovery position.  Somebody phoned the police - they weren't picking, and no one was prepared to drive him to the hospital, as they knew they would be held responsible.  Everyone just stood staring at the body and each other realising that there was nothing they were prepared to do to help. This really was one of the most desperate scenarios I have encountered.  Ten minutes at least went by before someone claiming to be his brother had succefully begged an escort, whilst the pup owner paid a small contribution to the fuel cost and fare.  Aparently there was a policeman there watching the whole thing, and did not respond.  They talked of the most likely responce from the dialed 999, (in the chance that they had picked up the call) would have been something like... 'Well....have you got fuel to get him to the hospital?... because for us... we have none'

Anyhow, the blip where the head met the car got fixed, and on the way I picked up the following essentials for my Ugandan hideout:
A wash basin, jerry can, kettle, padlock, torch, mosquitto net, cup, candles, and matches,
And with that I am happy and settled.  The girls, Ediths daughters, moved a bed and mattress in from there place and made the bed in military fashion, so precise, hospital corners, etc.  They then cleaned my floor, hung the net, put down some mats, and moved my bags, clothes and things around until they felt  they were all in the most suitable positions (:  
In the evening we played a handmade ludo game, and brushed up my basic L'uganda vocab and phrases. I was tired and ready for bed at around 8, so I went off to my room.  I was quite unaware I was going to be visited and re-welcomed by almost everyone in the family group until about 10.30. Even my new landlord had time to pay a visit, sitting on my hand weaved (by Edith) mat for a good 20 minutes, greeting me and adding to the gossip and general chatter passed between the then 6 people gathered in my room.  Having spent most of my teenage and adulthood living and sleeping solo...I found it rather ironic that one of the main subjects people were concerned with last night was whether I would fear being alone.   Not only did I have 6 people in my room at the time, and Uganda's love for load music and beat follow you through the day and night...But there is an endless wailing of a babe crying from  every direction.  In short, I did not feel in the least 'alone'.  Rough statistics? In this inlet of Ndejje, there are around 3 family networks.  consisting of maybe 15 adults in total, and 11 new borns. The rest are children at properly 25 or more.  
first encounter with my neighbours...
 Later that night, a lizard poked my head and tugged at my hair, I failed to use the latrine due to a fear of flying cockroaches, and ( the pitch darkness, thinking it was a frightened child)....tried to befriend a goat. 

To be continued....

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back to the beadin village

Today I came to Ndejje by Matatoo and grabbed cassolli, (boiled maze) for breakfast on the way. The transport cost me 2,000 Ugandan Shillings, but this only takes you to Zana district, and I had to walk a good ten mins to reach Ndejje, and finally to the home of Edith Namanda, (our Mzuribeads Ugandan head of opperations).  She welcomed me with a big smile, and showed me around all the improvements to her area and compound since i was last here.  A new water pump, lots of new neighbouring homes, better roofing and planning of her family amenities. However, the improvements were not the only reasons for Ediths big grin, she has just become a grandmother! Ediths son now has a wife and child which are now pleasantly located  in the new build next Ediths.  He is still involved in construction, and work is 'somewhat ok', which usually means a little bit closer to consistent contracts.  So, once Edith had fully presented me her current pride and joy, she showed me a room for rent behind their home.  It was a small, very modest little private nook, which I decided will suite me well.  I will have to share a communal family bathing and toilet area, and I will be pleased to live close and within her family and the community .....and only pay a monthly rent of £17 a month (:  I move into the room tomorrow night with a my laptop and flash light (:
Back in the beading hut, Edith and I discussed the future and plans for me work here. She was nearly in tears of joy when I discussed the plans for us to find a sponsor for her trip to the Uk and the chance to apear and present her work  at an International show, such as the Scottish Bead Fair.  

She was also very happy about the £25 we have so far raised for Mzuriseeds, the garden project.  It is the dry season right now, but I will be visiting Mabel, (the garden pro), later this week to start plans and understanding of what we should start to grow in each season, etc.  Local boy, little Benedict (who's mother died last time I was here) has grown and is looking healthy.  It seems he has been very lucky that Edith has taken him in and he is now very much part of the family. Another friend of Ediths has come into unfortunate financial situation and has had to leave to working in the quarries of Entebbe.  Edith has kindly taken in her daughter, she is 16, and in need of the funds from her mother to pay her school fees....we are all crossing her fingers that the money will be there before the term starts in 2 weeks time.  Either way, she is grateful to have been welcomed, accommodated, fed and happily pulls her weight with house chores, alike all of Ediths children.... I guess she'd be in the quarries also, if it wasn't for the goodness of Edith and her family /:

Other news, Mama Change, another beader, has given birth to another healthy babe.  I will meet with the other beaders later next week.  I don't wish for us to meet for a long hot, boring meeting on this occasion.  Orders have been many, and tricky last year....we have all been working extremely hard.  I have decided we will throw a party, a 'Well done/Happy New Year party', and I am looking forward to it.

Pics coming soon as I get some electricity flow into my little Ndejje hideout (:

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011


From the Mzuribeads team &
all our involved Ugandan artisans.

We wish you a very creative &

We hope you enjoyed the holidays, and look ahead to some bright and beautiful beading..........But before you do we'd like to give you a brief update.

We made some big changes in 2010. However, 2011 will to mark our biggest step yet. We begin with the relocation of the online retail shop. For the trial period, February - May 2011, it will operate from Uganda, not the UK. Shipping time will increase. However, more power and responsibility will be placed in the producers skillful hands.

This restructure is part of a larger movement which aims to offer the customer increased quality, control, and communication.
And for the producer; more control, increased responsibility, a chance to strengthen the managerial team and introduce new products.

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