Hot and dry


Well, we would never have thought of Kigali as a metropolis, but compared to kiwangala which has been home to us most recently, the Rwandan capital was positively busy.

We had only been away three months but Kigali centre has changed. They now have traffic lights, and the cars have even begun stopping at the pedestrian crossings. Two new multi-storey office blocks with shiny glass have been completed. There is even a third supermarket in one of them.

It would be nice if the same progress could be said of the suburbs. Our visits to the project found the same one and two room mud houses we had known before.

Eventually, after making arrangements for the children's uniforms and school fees, it was time to bid Rwanda farewell and head back to our work in Uganda. This time we treated ourselves to the luxury of the daytime 'executive' coach (newer, and cleaner but just as bumpy) and arrived shaken in Masaka, our local town, by late afternoon.

Succumbing to indulgence for a second time that day, we had decided to treat ourselves to a shower and a night in a hotel. Late afternoon isn't the best time of day to try and get back to Kiwangala from Masaka with two large bags, and in any case, this was a good opportunity to do some starvation prevention and get some shopping in before heading out to the sticks. An added bonus was a visit to the post office which yielded a late Christmas parcel from home (thank you M&G!)

The girl at the hotel reception promised hot water. Even the switch on the wall in the room seemed to promise hot water, but whoever's water it was heating, it wasn't ours. Still, the shower delivered lovely wet stuff which was able to reach the parts that have been embarrassingly neglected this past month.

The fact that the hotel had water at all was something to be thankful for. Uganda is palpably drier than Rwanda and the dust is hanging in the air. Dark brown cocoa powder coats the banana palms and maize stalks along the dirt road back to Kiwangala.

We have been back here a little over a week now. There was a brief shower of rain a couple of days after we arrived, but since then the small stock of water we were able to harvest has dwindled. The last bottle was used yesterday leaving us with a jerry-can of brackish swamp water to see us until the next rainfall. February, we are told, is wet. We hope so.