Saturday, September 27, 2014

Day Two! More Traveling... Rotary International VTT 2014 - Kampala, Uganda

{This is a series in posts about our trip to Uganda for the Riley/Rotary Vocational Training Team. To start at the beginning, go to this post. Check out the team blog at If you visit the team blog, please leave a comment! The team loves to hear your encouraging words!}

We made it into Friday morning somewhere over the Atlantic. I should add here that I sat next to two Dutchmen on the plane who seemed to be writing a book together. They started playing trivia together before the flight landed which was pretty entertaining. When asked about a common move in Volleyball where the answer was supposed to be "A Spike" they answered "A Spank." Maybe I was just sleep deprive but I found that really funny!

After breakfast, we landed in Amsterdam only about an hour before our next long flight out. In this airport, passengers are screen through full security at the gate which takes some time. Regardless, we made it on the plan in time and were off for another 8 hours in air.

One thing I noticed in the airport though was how striking the flight attendants for KLM (a Dutch airline) looked. They were mostly all blondes and their uniforms were bright teal blue which really accented their complexion and blue eyes. Somebody in the marketing department worked overtime on that one!

I probably slept for the first two hours. So much for my idea of not sleeping on this leg to adjust! I'm glad I did though because it worked out just fine when going to sleep at the hotel later. (I napped for another hour toward the end.) Lunch was served and was very good! And, how cute is the packaging?! All of the food was good and that surprised me.

Time passed pretty slowly despite movies, TV, books and blogging. I did a lot of flight tracking. This one is entering Africa.

And then much later in the flight. We actually landed in Kigali, Rwanda for about two hours to pick up passengers. 

When we were about 2 hours away from Kigali, a man next to me struck up a conversation after borrowing my pen. He is a Ugandan who has been working in Germany for 9 years. I am really glad I was able to talk with him. (He was better than my next seat mate, a 24 year old American on his first mission trip, who asked me how I felt about Jesus within 2 minutes of our conversation.) I enjoyed hearing a little about Uganda and I think he enjoyed sharing. Plus, it helped pass the longest two hours of the trip. 

He talked so warmly about his country. I think he could have been a tourism promoter! He talked of the "spirit" that is felt in the country which is unlike any other in Africa. He was sad that we were only here for 9 days and would spend most of them in the hospital as he thought we wouldn't get the full experience. He also said I'd be back. :)

We discussed cultural differences for a while. He said that Ugandans are not super fast paced. I  said that can be noticed in certain parts of our country too. Apparently, time doesn't mean the same here as other places either. He told of stories where his family was five hours late for an event! 

Along the same lines, he said that he had major adjusting to do in Germany when he started working because he wasn't fast enough. His brother owns a construction company and has a hard time keeping workers for more than a few days for the same reason.

Dinner was served and somewhere in there we had ice cream as a snack. It seemed like we were always being fed!

Finally, it was time to land. Boy it felt good to get some fresh air! A short trip through customs and we were onto baggage claim. Something new this year were Ebola precautions. People in masks squirted everyone with hand sanitizer and then took our temperatures before admitting us through the line. They just waived a thermometer close to our cheek. We all passed thankfully! 

All but one bag made the trip. Not bad for 14 of us with 2 or 3 bags each! It was a TON of luggage! 

We received a warm welcome by Kampala-North Rotarians Grace (1st Ever Gift of Life Patient), Oskar (my Rotarian counter-part in terms of grant writing) and Harriet (previous Assistant Governor). Everything got loaded in trucks and vans and we were off to the hotel! 

It may be that Ugandans are a little slower paced than Americans, but I would have put our driver up against a New York cabbie any day! We came to a fairly abrupt halt when two large (really large) cows were crossing the road. There didn't appear to be a caretaker and it appeared that they were dragging a rope that had likely been broken to allow their escape! That was a first for the group too. 

Finally, we arrived at the hotel around 1AM (6PM EST). Door to door travel of 31 hours. After a relatively smooth check-in, unpacking, and catching up on wi-fi, I crawled into bed at 2AM. Turns out my naps on the last plane ride didn't hurt one bit and I slept like a rock! 

So good to finally be here after reading all about it and all of the planning. A relief. 

The journey continues here

No comments:

Post a Comment