Wednesday, 1 July 2009


After writing the last post, we went to board our plane. They do things differently in Amsterdam, so you go through security as you are boarding the plan. They don't line you up by your row number, everyone just crams together in one long line. The actual checks are just like in the US, although they use nice colorful trays instead of grey bins. Jeff got stopped because some of his electronic equipment appeared suspicious.

Our flight was less enjoyable as we were more tired and there was a very unhappy baby a few seats from us, who cried for the better part of eight hours. Food was still good, entertainment was better because the plane had those screens for every seat which allow individual program selection. KLM has a good library of movies, so we finally got to see Little Miss Sunshine. We both slept on and off throughout the flight.

Our plane after arrival at Entebbe

We were pretty beat when we got to Entebbe. Neither of us could really believe that we were finally in Uganda. We got off the plane and the side of the airport building says "Welcome to the Pearl of Africa." The airport is smaller, but very clean and nice. We didn't know anything about going through immigration, so that was a bit of an unpleasant surprise. We received forms to fill out while on the plane, then when we got off we were handed health forms. We (foolishly) filled ours out, thinking that was the right thing to do. We should have gotten in line. The line took quite some time because a group of nurses had to read and stamp every form to certify that we were healthy for entry. While standing in line we talked with a fellow passenger who was leading a group and asked if he knew which visa line we had to stand in. The signage wasn't great- just a line for residents and others. We had gotten visas while still in the US, so we didn't need to purchase them at the airport like almost everyone else on our plane did. However we were told that everyone has to stand in the same line, because you have to get your visa checked and stamped. So we waited in a very long line, rather irritated because we paid extra to get our visas in the US for apparently no reason. We get to the front of the line, and the woman behind the counter informs us that we shouldn't have waited in line at all! That should teach us not to rely on other tourists for information. We ended up being some of the last people through the line, we got our bags (did I mentioned we checked five bags, and carried on two small suitcases and a personal item each). We must have looked pretty odd with our luggage cart piled so high. In our defense, the biggest bag was stuffed full of clothes, shoes, candy, and a few toys to take to the Ibanda Babies Home. We may have also brought a rather large amount of food, including a Costco-sized bottle of ketchup, because I was worried I wouldn't be able to get real Ketchup here, and unwilling to go without for six weeks.

Our driver (Eddie), guide (David), and the coordinator of our guest house (Patrick) met us right outside. They had a little sign with our names on it and the name of our adoption agency. We were very relieved to see them. By that time it was probably 10:30 pm or so, as our flight was delayed about 40 minutes. We drove through the outskirts of Kampala, glimpsed Lake Victoria, saw a very cool Coke advertisement (hopefully I will be able to post a picture later), the backside of the US Embassy, and lots and lots of shops and homes.

The view from our front porch on our first morning in Uganda

Front view of the guest house

Our yard

The interior front common room

We are staying in the region of the Embassy, and we are told that this is where all the Mzungus (white people) like to stay. Our guest house is amazing. It has far surpassed our expectations. We have rented a bedroom and adjoining bathroom with hot water, and have use of a front room, dining room, kitchen, and yard/porch/lawn. It is decorated nicely and even has a TV. For now we are the only people staying here so we have the run of the place, some missionaries are expected for a week sometime this month, but we think it will be nice to share the common rooms with them. The house is in a compound, which means it has very thick walls topped with barbed wire and an armed guard. We feel very safe. We are on the top of Bbunga (sounds like boonga) hill, and have a very refreshing breeze. The air is a bit smoky because people burn their trash, but it being up higher really keeps the air clearer. My throat feels a bit scratchy from the smoke. The men who run it also run an organization coordinating missions in Uganda. Everyone has been wonderfully kind and so helpful.


jena said...

That is where we stayed! We love those guys! Tell them the Penner's miss them terribly!!!

And I just have to say, I hadn't read your blog in a couple weeks... and after logging on tonight, I had much to read!

Praying for your time in Uganda!

Amy said...

We will! They have been awesome. David was cooking just the other day, so his lessons must be progressing.