Straddling the Equator
This morning we took a 2 ½ hour drive to Rakai which is southwest of Kampala along Lake Victoria.
Lake Victoria is the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the world. The first being Lake Superior. Lake Victoria is beautiful but the waters are murky. But that doesn’t stop fisherman from catching Tilapia out of it. Lake Victoria is also where the Nile River originates. We will get to see that later on in the trip.
On our drive southwest, we stopped at the equator and took pictures. Bonnie and I have a picture of us straddling the equator, one foot on the North Hemisphere and one foot on the South Hemisphere. It was very cool.
We also saw a demonstration of the magnetic pull at the equator. There were 3 makeshift sinks – one north of the equator, one on the equator and one south of the equator. When you poor water into the sink north of the equator, water will go down the drain clockwise. When you are south of the equator, water will go down the drain counter-clockwise. When you are on the equator, the water drains straight down – no swirling!!! It is awesome to see it in action. What is amazing is that these portable sinks are only a few feet apart so it’s wild to see the difference!
We encountered some rain along the way but nothing major today. We are here during their rainy season so it rains some each day. There has been some nights of heavy rains but during the day it’s not too bad. The biggest problem related to the rain is the mud. There are no paved roads here so it’s very muddy when it rains.
The first school we visited in Rakai is in the middle of nowhere. There is literally an open field and a concrete building with no doors or windows covering the openings. Most buildings like these have tin roofs. One of the classes takes place outside so there are tables and desks outside and then an outhouse.
Speaking of outhouses, I’m sure many are you are dying to know if we’ve used the poncho. Luckily we haven’t had to yet. But the bathrooms here leave much to be desired. They are stalls with a hole in the ground the size of a baseball up to the size of a softball. There are no flushers, no lights and no running water…so forget the toilet paper. Luckily we were given toilet paper and wipes by some of you, so thanks! They came in handy!!!! If you’re wondering, yes…you squat over the hole and hope for good aim. Our quads have gotten a good work out.
So, back to the school – the children are lovely. One little girl ran up to me and clung to me the whole time I was there. The school feeds them a mid-morning breakfast of a slice of bread, an egg and hot milk. After they ate, their choir performed for us. Their voices were incredible and their joy in performing for us precious.
We passed out the pencils that were donated by the girl scouts and the kids loved them. On our way out of the school, they walked us to their wire gates and waved us off. Outside the gates were 2 boys who are not sponsored through ARM and they just stood there the whole time we were there and watched the school kids. They were dirty and unkempt. We noticed a stark difference between sponsored children and non sponsored children in terms of cleanliness and even just the hope versus despair on their faces.
I wish so much that I could upload the pictures. When I get back, I’ll put together a slide show of all these things.
We visited 2 other schools and then stopped at Trudy’s village where Trudy’s mom and other family members prepared a feast for us. They made way too much food. The feast that was prepared for us was what they would make for a wedding celebration. It was yummy. The pineapple here is sooo sweet!
Speaking of food, there is no lack of food here. There is lack of money to buy the food due to poverty but there is no lack of food. In fact, the portions they eat and serve us would be enough to serve me and my 2 sons! The servings are about twice the size you would get at Cheesecake Factory. The diet is very starchy and a little protein, which is more expensive.
Trudy’s family was very gracious and hospitable. Their property was smattered with banana trees, pigs, coffee trees, jack fruit trees and their family cemetery.
Tomorrow we will go to Gaba Community Church which is pastored by Peter Kasirivu, the founder of Africa Renewal Ministries.