Here is what happened after arriving in Africa. Two weeks have been since we landed in Entebbe in the middle of the night. I came as a volunteer on EVS(European Voluntary Service) project, which is an international project for Turkish, Romanian and Spanish residence. And the name of it is as you might have seen already on the front page “Empowering Youth with EVS in Uganda”.
Our schedule here is from 12th on June to 12th of September considered a rainy season in the local tropical Ugandan climate.
Kawempe Youth Development Association is what KYDA stands for. Kawempe is where we live as well, it is a district in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Frankly, I didn’t know that the source of the Nile is here nearby, actually in Jinjer, another district in Kampala. It is somewhat interesting how I picked up to read “Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone.” in which is told the untold story of the people responsible for finding the source of the Nile.
So the first week at KYDA, the volunteering organization here made me think about how I can make the most of my time here. Given the degree of risk I have undertaken to come to this land for this amount of time I set myself to do the most I could. Otherwise what I am really doing with my time here?
After five days of rumination and contemplation for our gameplan, we have agreed to a new course of action. Initially, we wanted to renovate the roof of a pavilion where kids, orphans, get classes, then we agreed after a discussion to spend our budget elsewhere. One thing is a garden roughly making an acre, then we would build a workstation for carpentry and a playground for the kids. That is all the construction and agriculture work I got myself involved too. Besides that most of the girls are in class teaching hygiene and life skill classes.
The second week came and we actually started building the carpentry workstation shelter first. It is Thursday now, while I am staying at home writing about it, my friends are doing the final work to complete it. We were about to finish with the roof yesterday when a typical tropical rain started pouring over us and it made us delay it.
We have a local market nearby, organized in a village type with pop-ups stations and kiosks.
It is worth mentioning that all in all we are nine volunteers living in a rented family size house. We are located in Kawempe which is a district of Kampala, where actually both our house and KYDA are placed. The house is a big one, but not so much that everybody gets his own room. I am in the biggest room with three more guys, two are my friends Ivo and Ivan and our Turkish brother Hasan. Basically, that is organized with the help of two bunk beds. There is another room with three girls, two of whom are from Turkey, that are Buse and Eda, and the third from Spain, Alicia – in which they have a single bunk bed and one solo. Plus the last room where the Romanian couple resides – Mihaela and Catalin.
The Life Around Here
Most of the time we spend at work and the rest at home. That is how we are going to manage the budget of 240 Euros a month we receive from the EU. That’s great, eating rice and beans helps taking care of it even without monitoring what’s left under the mattress. After all, we have citrus fruits for nearly free, and that’s better than a desert, it is also breakfast and snacks.
But what is life without a little bear? Especially during summer time, it is impossible, at least for me, to resist an ice-cold glass bear of beer. My preferences set aside what I found was something new. First, I stuck on Bell’s beer, which is made in a factory on Lake Victoria, but then it came to the bottle with a black yellowish label – The Nile (its motto: a true reward). The price is decent, but it isn’t so comfy and easy to refill new racks many times a week.
Yeah, shopping around here is what makes you feel African right away. It is fair to say it is what connects you with the local people. Sometimes you don’t, there is a lot of bargain around and you should bargain to make sure you are paying the right price.
Before You Leave
This is one of the first posts, but part of many more coming soon from the team. You will see many different perspectives on our project to really understand what it is about – Empowering Youth in Uganda. Thank’s to this EVS we are going to create a brighter future for the kids in KYDA.
So before you leave, like our Facebook page for more upcoming news and updates.