Archive for the ‘Weekends’ Category

Lunch with Mamma Janet…

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

“Mamma Janet” is the name Ugandans have given to the First Lady, Janet Museveni, because she acts just like a mother for her country. She is a very powerful figure, but perhaps one of the most humble and caring people I’ve met.

Walking around the State House

Anyway, today, just following the awesome dinner/dance party and the Vice President’s, we’re heading to the State House where the First Lady has invited the CFU team for lunch (talk about your crazy weekends). She was so touched by their hard work, and was especially thankful to them for installing a lab in one of her chosen schools this year. So this was her goodbye party for them.

Dinner and Drums with the Vice President

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

The day started out pretty normal…I headed to InterConnection Uganda early in the morning and finished setting up the demo computers, then I did some work sorting out all the RAM we have managed to rummage up into the appropriate size and speed piles. Things were pretty calm today after the mad rush to get the place ready for the Grand Opening.

Christina was scheduled to arrive at 2:00pm in Entebbe, but John the Driver got a little mixed up on what the schedule was, so we didn’t leave until 1:50pm. Ooops. I hope she’ll be okay.

By the time we made it to the airport, the passengers were just leaving the airplane. It turns out that they had delayed the flight by an hour. Wow…what timing.

Then things got even nuttier.

John, Christina, and I hung around Entebbe until about 6 pm, waiting for the Computers for Uganda team to arrive. On the agenda today: Meeting with the Vice President of Uganda at his beach house in Entebbe.


And the award goes to…

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

“Prince” Nicholas, InterConnection Uganda’s P.R. Manager invited Fredrik, Rudi, and me to the first installment of the VIGA Awards (the awards show for Ugandan Gospel music). Outside of working at InterConnection Uganda, Nicholas is also a DJ for Beat FM, and has been working during his free time to organize this show.

Johnorable was invited to speak as the guest of honor. However, that morning we got word that his car had broken down (yet again) in Masaka while he was following around the CFU team. So with the possibility of John missing the awards show altogether, Fredrik was appointed as his substitute to give the keynote speech. Oh boy. Let’s just say Fredrik was feeling a bit out of place in that position.

Song and Dance

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

Today Brenda, John (the driver, not Honorable), and I headed down to Masaka to celebrate Father Jumba’s brother’s first CD release of Ugandan gospel music.


Hon. John had told us two days before that Brenda had to show up to speak in his place. So while we were all listening to different artists, Brenda was trying to come up with something to say.


Uganda vs. Nigeria

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

I woke up this morning to the rain gushing down. It sounded like someone had turned the faucet on in full, and I was slightly confused because it was still sunny. It’s Sunday…you can hear the whole village singing at church. It’s nice to wake up to. Last year when I stayed with the Computers for Uganda team at Bukalasa Seminary we heard bells and singing every morning.

Anyway, on to the football game that happened yesterday…

So John, Teep, Alissa, Brenda, Ronnie, and I all piled into John’s car and headed off to the Ugandan Parliament building to catch a convoy that would take us straight to the Mandela National Stadium. All of the Parliament members, ministers, and their friends were invited as VIPs to attend the football match between Uganda and Nigeria.

Nigeria is currently the best team in Africa. Their coach is the same coach who coached the German team to victory at the World Cup, so everyone was pretty intimidated by this guy and his team.

When the teams got onto the field, you could definitely tell the difference between the plays. Nigeria’s team members were all much larger and muscular than Uganda.

The kickoff came and for most of the first half, the teams were pretty much head to head. The stadium crowd was yelling at the top of their lungs. Uganda’s fans had these little yellow MTN horns (MTN is the largest phone company in Uganda…think giant, eh, monopoly) and they were all making quite a racket. Nigeria’s fans (huddled together in a small section) kept a constant drum beat going for their players.

Then Nigeria scored. The Ugandan crowd cringed. It was over…they knew it. The stadium, though not completely silent, stood still (except for the Nigerian section).

The first half ended. All of us were afraid what the second half would bring, but we still clung to a bit of hope.

The second half started out pretty rough. For several times it looked like Nigeria was going to get another goal. The players looked tired, disappointed…their enthusiasm was gone.

Then Uganda got a penalty kick at the goal. 1:1

Then they got another kick. 2:1

The stadium was roaring. I could not hear a single thing outside of total deafening noise. We did it. We can win this game now!

Uganda was back in full swing. The players were alert and ready for anything. Nigeria came back at them with full force. They attempted several goals, but Uganda fought back. They kept their lead.

The final minutes came. Nigeria fought back harder than ever. But Uganda was equally resistant. They wanted to win. They were thirsty for a chance at the World Cup.

Then the game ended. The crowd went absolutely insane. People, thousands of them, swarmed the field. Dancing, singing, crying. It was a win for their country.

Then we got out of there, fast. We jumped into the car, but by the time Ronnie had pulled out of the parking space, the traffic jam had turned into a giant traffic mob, and we lost all hope of catching the convoy back to the Parliament.

I wish I had brought my camera to this…ah, I wont forget it again. It’s quite difficult to describe what I saw…but I can say this: Football makes men crazy and silly.

We got out of the giant traffic jam (New York, you’ve got nothing on this) and made our way back to the heart of Kampala. It was all incredible. Absolutely incredible.

Arriving in Uganda

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

Well I’m in Uganda right now. It has been quite the journey over here.

The flight from Boston to Amsterdam was pretty calm. There were 40 empty seats (one of them was next to me), so I at least got to relax a little. This stroke of luck, however, kind of ended when I hit Amsterdam. In typical African fashion we boarded the plane at around the time it was supposed to have left already. My other carry on bag (a small suitcase) was then taken by one of the flight attendants because it was “too heavy” and they didn’t have enough room. I spent the entire flight worried about the health of the two laptops in there which Fredrik had given me for the refurbishing center.

Then I threw up. Hah, okay, so I timed my malaria pill so that I could take it at around noon Ugandan time…but of course this created a slightly sketchy situation as I was boarding the plane. I had to drink all my water that I bought at the Amsterdam airport because the security check happened right as I boarded the plane (joy), so I took my malaria pill with about half a bottle of tap water from the bathroom (I figured it was Amsterdam, probably safe…I wasn’t in Uganda yet), but oh boy my stomach didn’t like that.

Malaria pill + Amsterdam tap water + empty stomach = …well, you know

And I should have known this! But I guess my judgement was slightly impaired since it was around 5:00 am EDT by this time.

But it all eventually worked out. I took my pill again with dinner (I figured it probably all came out during *the incident*), so I’m fine now.

One good thing I did though: brought my own comfy blanket! As a result, I slept like a baby all the way to Entebbe.

Right before we landed I looked out the window and noticed this giant plume of ominous-looking black clouds. I also noticed that these clouds were emitting giant flashes of light! Turns out it was a tropical storm (eek!). I’m glad we didn’t have to go through that frightening weather…

Anyway, I arrived in Entebbe alright at about 8:30 p.m., got my visa, and then picked up my luggage–all bags in tact and everything perfectly sound and working. I made my way out of the baggage area…then I started to become worried. I couldn’t find anyone I knew. Aaah…did John or Brenda get my message? I was able to use someone’s phone to call Brenda, and she told me that Teep (John’s brother) and Ronnie (Mr. Bourne himself…kidding), were on their way. A couple minutes later and there they are! Whew, was I glad to see them!

We made it to John’s house, and had some time to eat dinner, with Matoke (cooked banannas) of course. And just as a reminder that I was in Uganda, the lights went out just as we ended. Luckily I had a headlamp (thanks mom), so I was able to get around the house and unpack alright.

I woke up this morning at around 9 am, surprisingly with little jet lag (oh, I’m sure that will settle in sometime later).

Anyway, I’m off to go see a football (soccer) game between Uganda and Nigeria with Teep and Alissa (his girlfriend from Pennsylvania). Along the way I’m going to pick up a SIM card, and hopefully my (hopefully unlocked) T-mobile phone will take it…