We travelled to Lyantonde on Monday after our stay in Kampala. The bus was similar, but, I think slightly smaller.

It was an uneventful journey with the highlight seeing the signs that we were crossing the equator.

Once in Lyantonde we made our way to my accommodation. I had requested the opportunity to stay with a local family, and live like most other Ugandans.

The request was made to Rose Kawere, Country Director of Salama SHIELD Foundation. And Rose organised my stay with Hajati Sarah, one of the staff members. She has two roles within the charity as Field Officer for the ‘Micro Credit Programme’ and Project Coordinator for the ‘DREAMS Project’. More about these amazing features of the charity and the charity itself later.

Hajati Sarah’s house, built traditionally of mud bricks, sand and cement. The walls are rendered and the pitched roof is of corrugated iron sheets. A concrete ring beam adds strength to the whole structure. The floors are screeded cement.

Typically there is no running water in the house, therefore no hot water system. Bathing is quite simple, the bedrooms have a bathing area with drainage. Hot water is provided in a ‘gerry can’ actually a five litre plastic bottle. A large tub of cold water for mixing with the hot water and hand washing is available. One way to approach bathing is to wet the body and soap over. Then to rinse the hot water adjusted to your preference is poured from the gerry can. You stand in an over sized ‘washing up bowl’ to control the splashing. The bowl is then emptied down the drain in the bathing area.

It’s surprisingly effective once you get used to it.

Water is available from a metred stand pipe close to the house. There is also a massive water storage tank fed with rain water from the roof.

The toilet is in a block of three closets each owned by one house. The system used is squat long drop variety. This does take some getting used to, but is surprisingly effective.

On the whole it’s not so dissimilar to European houses apart from the differences described.

Hajati Sarah is a widow of some nine years but has six grand children living with her plus a housekeeper and her young child. The children’s ages range from fifteen to two years. This is so typical of the African extended family system. A daily visitor is Hajati Sarah’s cousin, referred to as a sister using the extended family system. She lives next door and works as a teacher in a distant school. Teachers here work very long hours with an early start. A lengthy walk to and from work is involved. The housekeeper does the bulk of the cooking which saves the ladies that chore. Working hours tend to be much longer than European norms and few people do not have Saturday off, many work every day. It’s a brutally hard routine, but it is a routine they are used to and seem to take in their stride.

There’s much more to say in future posts.

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