Monday, May 30, 2011

Arrived in Good Shape

I'm writing from the Fang Fang Hotel in downtown Kampala using a new modem. All is quite well.  Kampala does have a home/familar feel to it.  Everyone I've spoken to is confident that calm has been restored. The city is busy with what feels like a lot of progress and a lot of challenges.

A few travel suggestions born in experience are in order. As far as Uganda immigration, please note that if you have a visa, you can and should stand in the Uganda residents line which will be much shorter. It is more to the right as you are facing the lines.  Also, they will pass out arrival cards on the plane-nice they do that now, so take a minute to fill it out and then there's nothing to fill out on the ground. For those buying a visa, your line is all the way to the left. If you step fairly lively, you can get in line such that you'll get your visa at the same time as the bags will have arrived. Note, they still have the carts-making heavy suitcases easy to move.

For those laying over in London, that 12-13 hours is brutal (might be easier if you can take turns staying awake).  I would definitely recommend that you look into the dayroom at the Comfort Inn. I think a room for 2 is 36 pounds. Compared to hard chairs, it is well worth it.  By way of confession, I went to London and worshiped at John Wesley's church and then went to the British Museum, but it was specifically not recommended by the Missions group at Chapelwood for the group to go into town.  Obviously, if you do, leave lots of room and make sure that you have someone confident in their use of the tube with you. Mark the Younger is quite talented at that, for what it is worth.

The head pastor at Wesley's chapel, Leslie Griffiths is a great preacher and also a member of the House of Lords.  He told me he had preached at Saint Paul's in Houston. As per a conversation I had with Rev. Griffiths before, Africans now make up a distinct majority (perhaps 80-90%, by my guess) of those in attendance at Weley's chapel. Interesting that Methodism's travels abroad is now coming back to help save one of its foundational churches.

One of our drivers, Sabiri confirmed that our books had arrived well and were received with really great enthusiasm. He had taken my good friend Mike Hill with Orphan Support Africa to Zeu a few weeks ago.

While starting to pick up supplies this afternoon, I was reminded how incredibly friendly and interesting Ugandans generally are. Greetings take on a personal note that we've lost. The fellow I bought this modem from had to run ten minutes away to get one to sell to me and was very grateful for the sale.  Btw, 10 GB for the month cost about $60 and the modem about $40.

Going to go see Macmillan Africa about posters, etc. for our libraries and then I think I'll go to work on a serious sleep deficit. Best, Mark Cotham

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