Monday, June 5, 2017

Alabama sees the world: Arriving to Ishaka.

At last, after a 16-hour plane ride and 8-hour van ride we have finally arrived to Ishaka. Before I begin describing my travel experiences, I would like to point out this is my first time ever leaving the U.S. I am honored to share this experience with the MHIRT program. My international experience began when I arrived in Amsterdam for my layover flight to Kigali, Rwanda. The Schiphol International Airport beamed with world diversity unknown to me as people from all over the globe interchanged. For this first time I tried Dutch pancakes called poffertjes. As I took a minute to soak in this experience, time was running out and soon Hermon, Liz, and I were boarding for the 9-hour flight to Kigali and then Entebbe. It was night when we arrived to Entebbe and the air was fresh and cool. To say we were tired would be an understatement and going through the long line of customs made the ordeal no better. When we were finally released from customs we met our driver Shalom outside. The first thing I noticed when packing our car was that in Uganda, the steering wheel is on the right side and they drive on the opposite side of the road, quick indicators I was far from home. Despite a room mix up at our hostel and a soaked suitcase (side note: never pack aerosol mosquito repellent in your luggage because it will burst and stain your clothes) we slept, awaiting the arrival of Daryl and Yohana who were to arrive the next day. Goats, exotic birds, and monkeys sweetened the rise of the next morning with their melodious calls. The air remained crisp as our group enjoyed continental breakfast where for the first time I had African tea. Once Daryl and Yohana arrived, we visited Victoria Mall via motorcycles called “Bodas” that hummed throughout the city and much of Uganda. When traveling throughout the country, we easily feel like walking spectacles as we all represent different ethnic groups; something Ugandans do not mind making obvious. We toured the city of Entebbe through Daryl’s friend Kim who showed us the local market, schools, Lake Victoria, and the Botanical Gardens. After eating a large, whole Tilapia and fried plantains I grew full and we said our goodbyes to Kim in anticipation of our journey to Ishaka the next day. Our driver, Mr. Richard, was a tall, soft spoken yet stern man who arrived to take us on the 8-hour journey the following morning. Along the way I was taken aback by the lush tropical green, Ugandan mountain landscape. Alabama’s hills were no comparison. After making a supply stop in Mbarara, we arrived to our guest home in Ishaka which is perfectly positioned to capture the breathtaking view of the Bushenyi District mountainside. This week we have scheduled an orientation with the Ishaka Seventh Day Adventist Hospital staff and Kampala International University. I look forward to what this once in a lifetime study will unfold.

A pathway lining the side of our guest house.

One of the many views exclusive to our home.

The General Hospital in Entebbe. Kim was born here.

One of the oldest churches in Entebbe.

No comments:

Post a Comment