Our Saturday continued with a slog through heavy pre-Easter traffic in the outskirts of Kampala for the Sisters to get basic groceries to take back to Buseesa and for us to find a Forex to change currency. We were amazed to squeeze through a few 2-1/2 ish lane intersections without the benefit of stop lights or stop signs. Four streams of motorcycles (boda bodas), bicycles, minivans, transport trucks, and pedestrians crossed in a delicate choreography punctuated by a cacaphony of mostly courteous "beep beeps" and disregarded with mostly stoic, jaded looks on drivers' faces.
After one quick pitstop at a beautiful convent in Mityana, and a slightly awkward purchase of chipati bread and roasted matoke through the car windows from a gaggle of roadside vendors in Mubende, we all arrived unceremoniously in Buseesa. Some staff had gone home for the Easter weekend, but the school was still full of excited kids who took barefoot to the soccer field to make the most of the late afternoon.
The team strolled from their accommodations at teacher housing past elephant grass, termite mounds, a matoke grove, the convent, and the Parish church to the office of the Buseesa Community Development Center (BCDC) to meet with the gregarious Michael Garabuzzi. The water engineers discussed updates on the drinking water project and learned of how eager the locals were to see progress. Michael expected many to show up for the community meeting on Wednesday whether it was pouring rain or not.
Michael described everyone as getting "meat crazy" for Easter feasting - the local vendors were selling the beef from 5 cows to villagers ready to stuff themselves on good food... not unlike American Thanksgiving! Michael, an employee of a community bank that makes microloans to poor but motivated villagers, agonized that most spent too much money on this short term binge. He felt that many literally spend all of their money on feasting and then can't pay for things like medical help when they need it later.
BCDC is a community bank project that makes microloans starting at $90 to peer groups of eight members. At least 5 of the 8 must be women, and each member has to prepare a plan of how the money will be used. This provides much needed capital for ideas like growing cash crops, buying equipment or inventory for a business, or for building a brick house with a metal roof.
The blue sky day gave way briefly to a sunshower right at dinner time with the Sisters. We all filed outside to look for the rainbow and sure enough found a double rainbow arcing over the glistening hills behind the school - a lovely sight.
For the evening vigil, the school kids put on a thundering choral and drumming performance in the dining hall. Beautiful, vibrant music resonated off the hillsides under a starlit African sky for an hour and a half. Eventually, the music unravelled a bit into the shrieking and frenetic drumming of kids having fun before bedtime.
Four EWB engineers who had been fighting off jet lag all day finally fell asleep, dreaming of their lost luggage they couldn't reunite with until Thursday.