I land on Ugandan grounds at 2:55 PM. From my aeroplane window, I can see the heat coming off of the ground, the airport employees directing the plane, and I begin to register what’s happening; I just landed in Uganda and will stay here four weeks. Although one registers for volunteer trips, books flights, go to the airport and enters the plane, it takes time for one to completely understand what they are actually doing.
After exiting the plane, I follow the crowd and reach the border control section of the airport. The horror: lines of people upon people waiting to get their visa (usually applied for and approved online). Coming from Germany, the country of efficiency, I am slightly shocked at the time it is taking to get past customs. Nevertheless, it is an interesting experience. I arrive at the counter, get a visa printed in my passport, and soon enough am on my way to meet with the other volunteers beginning their programme.
Once outside, I meet and greet everyone, and am happily surprised to see many Canadians in the group. We are 16 new volunteers in total, quite a few! After meeting the others, all as jet lagged and tired as can be, we slowly make our way to the vans which will take us to the house.
We are all appalled at the way our luggage will be carried to the house: secured on top of the van with a rope. Keep in mind that the roads in Uganda are unlike those in the west: deep, gorgeous mountains and hills, curves and steep slopes to drive up and down with the car. We fit about 8 or 9 volunteers tightly in each of the two vans; needless to say, we got close pretty fast.
With Ugandan music blasting, volunteers exchanging their travel stories and huge bumps on the roads, we all arrive at the house in a great mood, motivated and happy to be there. We thank Daniel and Ssad, the van drivers, and slowly settle down in the volunteer house– getting ready for a completely new experience.