Tumble Photo January 13, 2015 at 12:33PM

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via IFTTT The Forge – Jinja —

In what I have termed “The Forge,” Johnson and Jonah are apprentices in the Leatherworks shop here. There are eastereggs in the pic for the “home team.” I had the pleasure of interviewing these two young craftsmen this morning about their lives and work. I was pleasantly surprised yesterday by how conversant and open young Ugandans are — once you get them talking — and both Jonah and Johnson were no exception.

At first they seem rather standoffish or closed, even these two work in near silence, all concentration on their craft. So I was concerned about “gathering stories” from the locals. I, as usual, needn’t feared. Once the cameras were rolling I asked a few basic questions and the interviewees spoke easily, proudly, smilingly, lenghtfully and well. Even after shooting most if not all have been affable, ready to engage in conversation with as much focus and concentration as they do everything else.

Jonah and I had a very pleasant and learned conversation off camera about languages (he speaks 2 to 3) and Ugandan history which was only broken off by lunch. I look forward to lurking around “the forge” a little tomorrow… for the project of course.

The rest of the day was spent bouncing about the town center, wrangling footage, taking a pleasant ruck with a sandbag we brought for our host (product testing and yes I shared) out and back to an overlook of the “source of the nile,” and then a family dinner.

The sunset was so lovely, I couldn’t help asking to be let out of the gate and across the adjacent golf course (kept neat, we learned this afternoon, by goats) to snap a few pics. It is relatively quiet as the bats have taken off for the evening (pictured — yea those aren’t birds except the big one to the right which has a wingspan of over 5 feet). The cicadas, though, are serenading us through the open windows as we read and write and even do math homework on various devices through the living room.

Tumble Photo January 12, 2015 at 09:13AM

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via IFTTT BodaBoda LiarLiar – Jinja —

As promised (and kinda-promise, kinda-broken) the pic of me riding a “bodaboda” (motorcycle).

This morning has been a hard-wonderful day. We spent the (early) morning in one of the poorest neighborhoods on the outskirts of Jinja meeting the girl one of compatriots sponsors to go to school. We also saw here school and I still have no words for that experience, I’m working on it.

After a break and emotional recharge back at the house, we spent the early afternoon interviewing students of the computer training center (my point and purpose for being here) and it was incredible balm to my bleeding heart. The pride and happiness of these accomplished students was incredible and you could see what this organization has been and is doing in their lives. Thank you Universe. So with 2 hour’s sleep I’m downloading footage, catching up a bit on internet bits and already looking forward to bed.

Here is what happened yesterday…

Did the 3am-6am awake thing again last night. I think part of it is the bats. Will try to use earplugs tonight and see if that helps (Spoiler alert: It did, but only after I was up from 2am-6am writing and really really awake). Otherwise, coffee is kicking, my belly is happy-full of waffles and a fresh banana, and I smell faintly of motor-oil while I type with a purring kitten behind my head.

Life is so good.

The rest of yesterday:

APFT (wow, yea, we aren’t at sea level)

Buddy-Carry Lessons

Shoot a slingshot (see: bats)

Walk through a pretty terrible mini-slum to catch a boat.

Boat ride with friends’ of mild-mannered Gerard who lives at Jinja House, also got BodaBoda lessons today, and is in cooking school where he only has to actually be on time 2 days a week because his teacher those days “is hard.”

See the source of The Nile in the middle of Lake Victoria (behind me in the picture across the golf coarse) and learn how The Nile got it’s name.

See many types of birds, perhaps the most picturesque potty locale and also jail locale on the planet, monkeys, a statue of Ghandi’s bust (his ashes were spread at the “source” to float all the way upriver to the mediterranean)

Get off boat at boat club literally next door to mini-slum, have phenomenal dinner on the waterfront at sunset.

Walk home to play Bang! (a card game) and eat Christmas cookies.

Meanwhile laugh, learn, and share with my amazing hosts and fellow travelers on this “down” day. My heart and brain are so full. I’m already trying to figure out how I’m going to get back here. For longer.

Oh and I find it hilarious our hostess can’t believe I don’t show much interest in going bungee jumping.

Tumble Photo January 11, 2015 at 03:52PM

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via IFTTT Connection Errors – Jinja — The internet here is not great tonight so alas, I’m unable to post the picture and text from my computer I wanted to. (2nd world problems) I wish I had the energy and words for the 1000 required, but I don’t even think that would be sufficient to touch my wonder and thankfulness for this day. Hopefully tomorrow I can post more, for now, a forewarning— that whole expectation about not riding a “bodaboda” might have been flummoxed… In my defense I wasn’t just riding, I was driving. 😀 I got up to second gear on actual roads and I loved every second (and promise I still have all my teeth and fingers).

Tumble Photo January 10, 2015 at 06:54AM

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via IFTTT Perspective – Jinja —

From our walk around the neighborhood last evening… this woman was taking a pause from tilling the land (with the post still in her hand) by gazing out over Lake Victoria.

So many stories to share, even just from that walk. Kids playing soccer in the gathering dusk, rusty red roads, the bats and birds, boda ride offers… Then this morning seeing the Computer Training Center and walking a bit more in town. But now, back to work…

Tumble Photo January 09, 2015 at 10:10AM

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via IFTTT Gathering stories — Jinja “What is your passion?” Zach asked me with a heartfelt, shy smile, “what is it you love to do?”

“What is your passion?” Zach asked me with a heartfelt, shy smile, “what is it you love to do?”

Stunned again by this bilingual potato farmer who uses the “magical” power of Google to help his local corner of the world.

“This is what I love to do,” seemed like an inadequate answer. It was a morning of information sharing, of asking questions and problem solving together, of being a fly on the wall to three people discussing powerful, life altering simplicities. Watching as the history of technology unfolded in miniature: building from power (110 or 220?); to information sharing through voice to written to digital back to person to person; printing (ink or laser?); and old information gathering to new (gps, sms and pics or it didn’t happen). Our batteries died and memory cards filled as our appreciation for what these two gentlemen — true gentle men — wanted to accomplish in the most simple and humble ways.

I was reminded how difficult it is to appreciate another’s problem until you see if for yourself, especially if you have no point of reference. (read: I was reminded why I love travel) Questions were asked that I wouldn’t have thought to start from and they were just as interested in us as we are in them — true mutual learning and understanding. I even had my own moment of insight where I said to Zach, as he explained that he travels around by bicycle and google’s people’s problems, that basically he is a mobile librarian.

I have hours of video and 100’s of pictures to process but the power is out… so instead I sit to write and ponder Zach’s question: What is your passion, Jo? Simplistically: today, now, I am living it.

Thankful. Have I mentioned how thankful I am?