Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Home for the moment
Jan listening to the archers on BBC online and checking emails in our new home. behind the laptop you can see a telephone with an antenna. Mobile phone technology has leapfrogged landlines or cabling here, so these phones which are connected to a mobile network are everywhere. For £100 and £30 a month you can have reasonable intenet access from pretty much anywhere near a town here. Out of the price range of nearly all Ugandans, but on every street corner is a man with a wooden box sometimes a makeshift kiosk with one of these phones offering its use for a fee. Most consumer goods are freely available in Mbarara which is probably the third largest town in Uganda. Prices are the same as in the uk with chinese imports dominating (as in the UK...) Petrol is 75p/litre. Food is cheap and labour is cheap.
Our home is a dark and pokey 2 room cell adjacent to the panafrican highway (Uganda to Tanzania and Rwanda) so noisy and dusty to boot. Added entertainment is provided by 2 enormous sleeping policemen, which slow the 10 ton trucks and trailers to a crawl as they bounce and crash over them ( though 2am - 5am is reasonably quiet).
We're moving to a larger flat in december so have decided to make do, clean decorate and equip our half goatshed size abode. We had thought about renting a house up the road, but all the house rentals are completely unfurnished - no cooker no nothing so it didnt seem worthwhile. We may yet change our minds.
Our home is in a small residential compound for foreign workers so we're surrounded by a warm and friendly and eclectic bunch of english, dutch and cubans working in the hospital / university. We've been made very welcome, hence our reluctance to move to alternative accommodation.
Tomorrow is our first day in our working roles visiting a rural health centre with our community health department boss, Vincent.