Saturday, October 10, 2009

Now for the Nitty Gritty

Ok, so now I'm going to share some of the nitty gritty facts about Uganda! I know you have been waiting!! I've already shared that we had no privacy whatsoever while on the islands. There were kids everywhere and most times they were peeking into the windows anytime anyone was in our "room". The reason "room" is in quotes is because it was a classroom which had been cleared out for us to sleep in. Here is my "home sweet home" on Llolwe Island. I shared it with Deb and Jo. There were also two other tents set up in here for the other ladies on the trip. Ah, the comfort of concrete floors!!

Since the island had no running water the people of Llolwe set up a bathing station for us.

There were 5 very narrow stalls in the structure but it was private. (Sorry don't know why all of a sudden I have underlining???) They carried water from the lake and boiled it for us. We would pour the water into a tub and wash off. Actually, it was VERY refreshing after a hard day of work in the heat and humidity!!

The bathrooms almost everywhere we went were also as primitive. This(below) was my first exposure to a "squatting" toilet. I had imagined much, much worse from the accounts given by last year's team. This was at a convenience store we stopped at on the way to Busiro school.

This was at a bathroom stop we made on Suku Island on our way to Llolwe Island. Those are the edges of my skirt you see at the bottom of the photo. Not only do you have to squat to do your business but the women on the islands always wear skirts so we had to also so as not to offend them. And to answer your next question, Yes, there were geckos, bugs and all sorts of creepy crawlers around (especially at night).

The next photo is the women's bathrooms on Llolwe Island. It was quite a hike up to the bathrooms so in the middle of the night we just went out back of our rooms and squatted in the grass. Primitive camping, anyone???

A discussion several of us had one morning on the way to the bathrooms was really funny. We always had to carry toilet paper with us since there wasn't any in the bathrooms. Jo mentioned that in the States we would have been horrified to carry around our roll of toilet paper but on Llolwe Island it just wasn't any big deal. See what I mean, no privacy. You weren't going to sneak off to "go potty" because with that roll of toilet paper in your hands everyone knew your "business".

This was because the Island babies didn't wear diapers. They just squatted wherever they were and went. I saw two little girls run out of the children's meeting we had, pull up their skirts, pull down their pants, squat and pee. They then ran right back into the room and resumed whatever they were doing. Men just stopped on the side of the path and went. My what a culture shock that was.

Now, for those of you who have back or knee problems which would prevent you from squatting, help was there. Rex was kind enough to carry it for us.

The island girls, however, must not have realized what it was since they begged for their pictures to be taken with it. This was taken after our time on the island. YUCK!!

When we reached the lake to leave that day she even offered it to me and said, "Sit". I told her, "No thanks, we will be sitting on the boat for a long time. I'd rather stand." Awkward!!! Although, as this next picture shows, it was always the last thing loaded on the boat because we also used it as a step ladder to get into or out of the boat. Getting out could be a little tricky since not only were we wearing skirts but you had to watch your step so as not to step right down into the middle of the seat!!
The restrooms on Buvuma Island was quite nice. They even had toilet paper in them. This was quite a surprise since we had just finished lunch where we had to eat with our hands because they had no utensils for eatting on the island.

I must tell you that American Port-a-pottys will never be a problem for me again. They are like the Ritz Carlton bathrooms in comparison.

This trip was such a God inspired trip for me. Any of you who know me know I am all about my comfort. I don't like tent camping and never have, although I have done it. My favorite way to camp is at the Holiday Inn. I'll endure an RV if it is completely self contained with shower and my own toilet. Heat and air-conditioning are a must. I have been quoted OFTEN as saying, "I don't like to sweat". But I didn't even hesitate when I was told of the conditions we would be encountering on this trip. I KNEW I was supposed to go and go I did. It was an experience of a lifetime and I hope to never forget a minute of it.

I will never be the same....and that's a good thing.

Thanks for stopping by. More to come!!
(Several of the pictures shared today were from team members Deb, Michelle and Hannah. Thanks girls!!)



Hi Donna--I can only say one thing--GOD BLESS YOU FOR GOING AND FOR LISTENING TO HIS VOICE---then thank you for sharing your thoughts and time with the rest of us....
hugs, just DI
a siggy swap partner!!!

kopeckys said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog. What a trip of a life time! You are truly a child of God.