Thursday, October 19, 2006

Photos: Top to Bottom: 1. Just before leaving, with Melissa and Zach. 2. Even the cloud formations over Africa were amazing. 3 & 4. My room!

Greetings from Kampala! I landed around 9:15 tonight, so I haven’t seen much yet. The drive from Entebbe to K. was along a very nice road with sporadic shops, markets, and eateries lining it. It seemed people were walking or bicycling everywhere.

My room is very simple but clean. There’s a small kitchenette w/ sink, stove, fridge and nice dishes with a teapot (yay!) So I can drink lots of tea and think about cooking food. I have “high” speed internet, though, while it may be high, the frequency with which it kicks off and on kind of puts me back at modem speeds.

Dan missed his Chicago connection, so he won’t be in until Friday night. Hopefully I can find out key info for him before he gets here... things like ATMs that work (the one at the airport wouldn’t take my bank card), where to get a simm card, and a small market with basics like milk for my earl grey tea (that’s for you, Damon ;-) and sugar. That should about stock my kitchen!

I haven’t met anyone yet. I’ve been laying out my gear, hanging up my clothes on the handmade wire hangers, and configuring my bag as a sort of dresser (which is the one thing lacking).

The best part of my room is the mosquito net for the bed. How fun is that? I doubt it’s really necessary here in Kampala, but my philosophy is if your hotel room has a mosquito net, you should use it. It’s kind of like camping... or playing 1001 nights... or something. When I was little, I used to play safari at my grandmothers, wearing some old white hat with netting then skulking around the yard hiding from pygmies and lions. This mosquito net brought it all back. Wonderful!

My trip here took about 40 hours. That includes layovers, check-ins, etc. Paul met me at the airport for my 6-hour Dubai break. I hadn’t seen him in a year, so it was really great having my tea with his cappucino over pastries. Just like old times! He gave me a wonderful pep-talk on inspired photography and capturing people. I hope I make him proud.

On my flight to Entebbe, I sat with a guy (biologist) who’s lived here for 3 years. He gave me important information like the best atm’s, the best mobile service, and truly fascinating facts on tse-tse flies: their size (about and inch and a half), their bites (which really hurt b/c they bite to the bone — something about evolving to pierce the hide of rhinoceroses), mosquito repellent doesn’t repel them, and they like the color blue (because they think anything blue IS a rhinoceros), . Wonderful. I only brought a few clothes, and most of them are blue.

You know, a fly that’s an inch and a half shouldn’t have the name tse-tse. It sounds too small and cute to be messing with rhinoceroses.

Aside from the fly drama, my long trip gave me a lot of time to think about how and why I ended up here. I owe thanks to dear friends who’ve encouraged and supported me. Most of all, though, to my graces-three who all convinced me to follow through and to Dave for always encouraging my independence and believing in my work. Without the unflagging support of all four, I would not be here.

I know once I’ve experienced working with the groups here, I will want to come back or participate in similar projects elsewhere. Travelling so much often gives me pause about what defines me. I’m not home enough to really experience community within my town. Technology and the nature of freelance has enabled me to have quality interactions with my girls, but... I guess I’m hoping that at the end, I will have learned quite a bit about not just photography, humanity, and the business of helping... but about myself as well.

Breakfast at the hotel is at 8 tomorrow, and it’s already 1am. So off to bed! Tomorrow is going to be very..... exciting. I think. I hope. I’m pretty confident I will at least meet some participants...


At 04:31, Blogger Tarek said...

I am really proud of you Cheryl. I just keep asking myself: "How does she manage to do all these things together?" I keep getting absorbed into photography projects, one after the other that made me forget what a holiday or a social gathering would feel like. Enjoy while you can. Love your posts.

At 04:38, Blogger Tarek said...

...and by then way, your room pictures: are these the "before" shots? Are we getting the "after" shot at any time? You took these on your scouting day, I am sure. I know you will be dealing with "real" photographers this time, so you might as well post some different versions of some "after" shots :0))

At 04:40, Blogger Tarek said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 08:05, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope you're saving your commentary for the book, for you are not only a visual artist. You're an artist with words as well! Liz

At 20:24, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for a lovely morning. Sorry we didn't get to do the souks but what better way to spend time than sitting in a cafe drinking and talking away the time.
Will be watching your blog closely.
Like the chosen angle of your room. Inspired.
Love Paul

At 06:30, Anonymous Edwin (Puerto Rico) said...

Cheryl, Thanks for adding me to your blog list. I wish you the greatest experience and hope you have the best time in the world. I am looking forward to see more of the picture you are going to post. Never mind about the Rhinos but the flies, mmmm… I wouldn’t like to be near 1½ inch Tse-Tse:) Wish you the best. Edwin.

At 12:24, Blogger Nina said...

HI AUNTIE C!!!!!!!!! The pictures you took are really cool. I like the picture of the bird the best. You look like you are having a good time in Uganda. Tell Mellisa I say hi! love nina.

At 08:06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

chey, you should know that what you are doing is a gift from God for the batwa. thanx for everything you are doing for the batwa. God will reward you for your efforts. stay well dear and may you be blessed abundantly. GUMA.

At 18:54, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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