It’s 2am at Dubai airport and this place resembles Oxford St at rush hour. I never knew there were so many people racing around in the middle of the night. I’m in no hurry – I have a good 8 hours to kill before my next flight and, having dreamed of Africa for so long now, there’s no rush.
So this marks the start of the greatest adventure yet. I will be spending the next 6 months volunteering at a school for orphans in Uganda. Along with my friend Cherie and her friend Kirsty (who I’m yet to meet), I will be living in the village of Kabira in the Rakai District of Uganda, just south of the equator near the shores of Lake Victoria – a good 5 hour drive from the capital, Kampala. There are over 500 children at the school; the area was one of the worst hit by the AIDS epidemic which continues to rage through Africa. I don’t expect to be able to change the world, but perhaps over the next 6 months I will be able to make a difference to the lives of the children I am living with – and no doubt learn more from them than I am currently able to comprehend.
This is it – stepping off into the unknown in a way more dramatic than I have ever done before but I feel as ready as I can possibly be and hope that by keeping an open heart, open mind and living with open eyes, I will allow the experience that is Africa to become a part of me. I don’t want to look back on life wishing I had done something I never did and it’s all too easy to just talk about things without backing up words with action. So here I go.
The next time I step outside the airport will be in Entebbe, where the three of us will be picked up by Dominic, the director of the school, and taken to Kampala for the night. The following day we will begin our long trip south to Kabira. There is no internet in the village and the nearest internet cafe, a half hour boda boda(motorcycle taxi) ride away, burnt down a few weeks ago. However, I will endeavour to keep in touch as best I can, to share stories, observations, experiences and no doubt heartbreaks and inspirations too.