Ichoo Maber, from Gulu Uganda! I have been four weeks in Gulu and am now finding the time to share with you my experiences. This blog is not intending to win a Nobel Prize nor, my English teacher colleagues, is it intended to be grammatically correct. I will simply relay the happenings around Gulu town. I might post another entry before I leave Gulu, I might not. At any rate, here, finally is my blog.


     A region torn by a twenty-year war. Fear and worry about the return of the war. Rampant malaria and diseases. Infested water that needs disinfecting. A town almost entirely cut off from the modern world. A city of danger and despair. That is the Uganda I expected to see.


      People in the process of healing from a twenty-year war. Relatively “modern” living conditions. Dusty clay roads. Boda Bodas everywhere. Dusty boda rides. Scary Boda rides. Beautiful babies. Kids and women with heavy objects on their heads. Matazas for breakfast. Posho and beans everyday for lunch. Beautiful singing. People with easy, beautiful, welcoming smiles. A place I would come back to visit. A place I could live in. That is the Gulu I know and love.


     I can’t believe that it’s almost time for me to return to the states and though I miss home and all my friends, I don’t want to leave-not yet. A month and a half is not nearly enough time to embrace a people and a culture. I have been completely welcomed by Ugandans and have just started to slip into a routine here.


     Gulu district is a beautiful region with picturesque grasslands called the bush and dusty red clay roads whose dust gets stuck in your hair, on your skin and on your clothes. I am writing this blog while getting ready for a Safari. The Mutatu is here and I must go.


     That was actually a week ago and the Safari is a whole story to itself. Keep checking back here for the complete scoop. Now I’ve spent five weeks here and I’ll continue to discuss my time here in general. Let’s see, where did I leave off…Oh I was talking about the dust.


     To reiterate, there is lots of dust here and it sticks to everything. I can’t believe it. I’ve had so much to say and now I can’t think of anything.  Well, I guess I’ll start by tackling different topics. The first being London, England.

Where Did They Go?



     So it was May 31st and I was actually there. London, England! First Wave Teacher Exchange participants deplane and head off for a few hours of adventure in London. We had about a six-hour lay over in London and decided to go explore the city for two or three hours. We needed some cash so we went to the ATM to get money. It was here that it happened. After some difficulty, I finally got money from the ATM machine and headed back to the group-only they weren’t there. They had disappeared. Poof! I couldn’t believe it. I searched for them downstairs at the downstairs London subway entrance not there. I went back upstairs to see if maybe they’d gone to the bathroom. No one there. They really had left without me. At first, I was upset, but I had no time to fret if I was to see London. I was a tough cookie; after all, I was from New York. I could handle this. I found the information desk, asked for maps, and boarded subway for my adventures in London.


     The London subway is called the tube and reminds me of the New Jersey Transit trains. I was struck immediately with how similar this first experience was like my life in New York. The trains were crowded with tourists and natives in a hurry to reach their various destinations. When I got off the train, I realized the information clerk had directed me to the shopping district. There was nothing special about this area; it looked like any shopping area in the world. I was not impressed. I had no idea where to go and I could not eat in a restaurant because I did not take out enough money. I was afraid of spending too much money and not having enough for my stay in Uganda. Why had the clerk assumed I wanted to shop? I can’t stand shopping when there is so much history to see! I bumbled about for ten minutes of so, believing this would be all I’d see of London. I did not have a watch, as they are not needed in New York with cell phones and clocks everywhere. I thought of returning to the airport when I decided that I was not going to be defeated! I looked at the map to see where the main attractions of London were located. I really wanted to see Buckingham Palace and realized that, according to the map, it was in walking distance. I decided to walk. I stopped along the way to take a picture of London taxis, they were so cute! They reminded of cars from the thirty’s but smaller.


      I proceeded to walk in the direction that was indicated on the map and did not run into Buckingham Palace. I started to worry that if I kept venturing too far from my original starting point that I might get lost and perhaps would not make it back in time for the plane. I was stubborn, though and decided I should press on; I had to see something of London. I eventually landed in this amusement area with a large Ferris Wheel and numerous street vendors and buskers. I decided to check this out. In some ways, this area of London reminded me of Washington Square Park in New York and I felt at home. I wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel but, as I said, I was frightened of spending too much money. I walked to the other end of this complex and saw a familiar sight, Westminster Abbey. I was glad to see an attraction located where I could retrace my steps and I decided it would be great to see so I walked over to it. I walked around it and realized that this was the House of Parliament. I was determined to see Westminster Abbey. I noticed that, like New York, the tube was connected decided to bravely stray from my path. I saw several buildings named Westminster Abbey and after some walking, I gave up. I really did want to see Buckingham Palace so I re-consulted the map and discovered that it was not that far away. I found a clock and realized I had about an hour and a half before I needed to head back to Heathrow. I started hoofing it to Buckingham Palace.


     I walked, and walked, and walked, and walked. No Palace. I looked at the map and checked my streets and it still indicated that I was on the right track. I doggedly pressed on.  Finally, I saw the main street of the palace. Yea! I walked faster. I still was twisted but finally made it. Buckingham Palace! Right in the middle of London. I thought it would be somewhat outside of the city. But it was in the middle and easily accessible. For this to be the royal palace, I thought it was grossly under protected. There were just guards at the main gate. I also, thought it was unimpressive and unremarkable. It looked like governmental administrative offices and not a world renown Palace. I got a picture of me in front it and then left. I had the tube to catch.


     The rest of the time in London included a walk through to catch the tube back to the airport. Of course, this took time because I got semi lost again. Eventually, I got to the line and boarded the train back to Heathrow. I had seen Buckingham Palace! My messed up day turned out to be awesome after all!

Published in: on July 8, 2009 at 8:04 am  Leave a Comment  

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