After 31 hours of puffy red eyes, wind blown hair, and delirium, the May 2012 PMI team (and all of our luggage) has made it safely to Masindi! We got off to a bit of a slow start when our luggage wouldn’t fit under our first plane from Charleston, delaying our flight for over an hour. Turns out, when every one of our 50 members checks a wheelchair, plastic tub, or giant duffel bag of medical supplies, it doesn’t fit so nicely. Upon arriving in D.C., our flight attendant reminded us, “Don’t forget your crutches in my closet!” Seventeen other members of our team joined us in D.C. to depart for our TWELVE hour flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We weren’t sure it would ever end. You’d fall asleep feeling like six hours went by, and wake up to realize it had only been two. It was at the airport in Addis Ababa that we ran into a problem… the toilets have no seats, and you put the used toilet paper into a wastebasket. There is no flushing. Our quads may be sore by the end of this week. Luckily, when we got to our hotel in Masindi, the amazing hotel staff had prepared a home cooked meal for us, and we all gathered to eat and share our experiences from the five hour drive from the airport in Entebbe to Masindi.
A few things that we noticed on the drive over included: the lush green vegetation lining the mountainsides during this rainy season; how confidently our drivers navigated the bumpy roads lined with hundreds of pedestrians, animals, bicycles, and “motabodas”, even in the pouring rain; how eager the drivers are to use their horn; how happy the children seemed to be with smiles plastered onto their faces, peering over the wall to watch us at the gas station, then greeting us with hugs (some of them lacking pants; the variety of ridiculous things you will catch riding a motorbike: a family of five, some bananas, a full-sized refrigerator, four chickens, a grown adult pig…; the bustling shops and markets lining the streets, with most things written in English; how much the Ugandans like their Coca-Cola products; the balance it must take to carry a heavy basket on their heads; the blend of traditional African clothing with contemporary fashions; how normal it is to have guys in black uniforms with AK47’s casually walking around the airport; the “traffic police” stationed watching the roads which have no speed limits or laws at all!
Now it’s time for some MUCH needed sleep and a clean shower. Check back tomorrow to read about our day at the orphanage and our tour of the PMI clinic in Masindi!
- Kaleena S., Nicholas F., and Sara J.
P.S. For those family members reading this who may have been expecting emails, our internet is down here with no word on when it’ll be back!