Saturday, 14 April 2012

No TV for one month??!

What did I do that was so bad I deserved that, I hear you cry?

I'll tell you dear reader, I lived in Uganda and came nowhere near a TV for four straight weeks.

Want to know a secret?

I didn't miss it one bit. I really didn't. I mean it!

When you're living in a tiny village in Uganda where your electricity comes from solar power, your water supply comes from rainwater collected and your evening entertainment comes from chattting around a campfire under a blanket of stars, you kinda learn to do without a lot of things you thought you NEEDED back home.

Before I went to Uganda, my idea of a far flung holiday was to fly somewhere all inclusive, sit on the beach for a week (or two if I'd been a good girl ha ha) and then I'd come home having ticked that place off my list. The only place I'd seen was the stretch between the airport and hotel, the only people I'd met were the ones working in the travel industry.

Yet here I found myself and four others like me, in the middle of nowhere and I bloody loved it. Every minute of it. We were teaching in the school next door during their summer holidays and generally being gawped at by everyone who came near us. The gawping was down to the fact that we were the first westerners to have ever been to the village, so they'd never seen anything like us in their lives.

During the four weeks, the five of us learnt:

  • How to make and cook chappatis
  • How to light and maintain our own campfire (a big deal!)
  • How to cook meals using only two gas hobs and no fridge to store ingredients in
  • How to brave a freezing cold, open aired shower (just get on with it)
  • How to educate 200 children who speak only basic English
  • How to walk with baskets on our heads like our new friends did
We knew we'd spent long enough in Uganda when a cow just moseyed on by down the street past us as we were drinking in a cafe and we just gave it a second glance. True locals now, look at us.

Home @ Teach Inn Uganda

During the four weeks we went without TV, the main things that apparently happened back in England were that:

  • Maddy McCann went missing
  • England lost the Eurovision Song Contest (duh)
  • Neighbours moved to Channel 5
We exchanged emails with those back home who updated us about what we were missing, and we replied with updates such as 'Oh Katie's had Typhoid, Angela has one sunburnt toe and we've been a to a nightclub where we were the only westerners, you know, the usual'

It's amazing how time passes when you're away from home. It felt like after two weeks we'd been there for ages and ages and ages and ages. You get my point. The halfway point of our trip came and the last two weeks slipped away from us far too quickly (time flies when you have Typhoid).

Leaving the village in Uganda was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, and being just another tourist in Uganda felt horrible after that, we all wanted to go back where everyone knew something resembling our names.

We checked in to a hotel altogether and shared one big dorm room, the first thing we did was switch the TV on. Ahhhhh TV. We sat in silence for about three hours and although the only English channel
we could get was Sky news which was rolling about six stories in a loop, we lapped it up. If that TV was a drink we'd had drank it dry. We hated what we'd become but knew we were shortly going back home where water came from a tap, electricity came from god knows where, but was available at the flick of a switch. We might as well sit and watch TV if there was no campfire available.
I miss Uganda.

Volunteering in Uganda

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