Time flies and it’s almost time for me to wrap up my work for this visit so the last couple of days I’ve been doing things I just had to get sorted before leaving.

Thursday I went with Pearson to a village a bit away from Muhanga. You can only get there by walking, biking or boda boda (motorbike), the view is beautiful and you can’t here the traffic on the mainroad.

We came here to visit 8 of the women taking part in the mushroom project we started a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, I was a bit early the first round won’t be ready until one more week but by then I will be back home. But the women where happy about the project and they had many bags hanging on different structures in their homes.

Yesterday we went to a bigger city about 150 km northeast of Muhanga to buy printers to the project. We want to improve the book keeping and documentation in the local organization so it was a necessary investment. Of course everything fit on the boda boda that then took us to the minibus that drove us home. Tiring day, but worth it!

Today we’ve been at school with the children again, since it’s Saturday. And this time we brought lots of paper and pens so that they could draw their dream school buildings! Everyone was very focused. I’ve never seen them so calm and they had probably never seen me as happy as when I was looking at their drawings. I even got to bring them with me back home!

Uganda is wonderful in the way that you come just as you are but you are also expected to do the best you can. That’s how things go around here. Nothing comes for free or automatic and that’s why everyone have to help each other out! The last couple of days for example I’ve been architecting, sewing, teaching computer skills, digging and making scientific research.

Saturday afternoon I left Muhanga to visit wonderful Lake Bunyonyi and get some days of shower, electricity and Wifi from a hotel out there, of course constructed by our “own” architect Medard. I needed some time to adjust somethings on the drawings from the building permit before I could hand them over to Medard. After a day by the computer with a wonderful view over the lake in the background I finished!

If you ever feel like going on a relaxed vacation in a “lagom” temperature and with nature nearby affording both opportunities to mountainbike and go canoeing I strongly recommend Lake Bunyonyi! Visit Uganda!

My last night in Bunyonyi I spent in my bed working on trying to sew a Bib or “Dregglis” as we call it in Swedish. I finally got the hang of how it should be done and in the morning I went to Kabale to meet Grace in the sewing workshop. And together we accomplished this one! Together we found the design for this new product that the girls in the sewing shop can practice their skills on.

Last night Anne had invited District Engineer James and District Counsellor Hebert. We looked at the drawings and had some good discussion concerning the local context and the constructions. Very rewarding!

Today James returned to meet me on site where we continued the discussions from last night. The slope and how to design the retaining wall is one of the big challenges. We are also discussing around using the rammed earth walls. Since it’s a building technic that is not existing in this area today although many other types of earth walls are used. We’re sharing our different knowledge and concluded that we both learn a lot from meeting.

I also met with Allen this morning to practice some computer skills. We got a computer donated by Bertil before I left and this one is going to be used by here to write reports and emails and also to do accounting. It was lot of fun but challenging both for her to learn and for me to teach. Some skills we just take for granted, double-clicking the mousepad for example.

The rest of the day I’ve been doing soil test on site. We want to know if it’s suitable to use for the rammed earth walls or if we will need to put some additives to make it the right mix. I’ve been digging on 3 different places on site and then mixed the soil with water to shape it as balls and rolls to see how it holds together. If I got any strange looks from the kids and teachers at school? You bet!

 

But they were of course also very supportive, helping me the best they could with taking photos, mixing the soil, and of course some kids were entertaining with singing and dancing! I had a hard time handling the camera with all the mud on my hands but I think you can imagine the look of it!

 

 

Tonight I will sleep very tight on my sore muscles!

Since I arrived to Muhanga the days have been full of impressions and experiences. Even though I remember many things from last time I was here each day brings me so many overwhelming moments, often happy but sometimes very challenging. One thing is sure, after each day I fall asleep faster than the night before. These are some of the things I’ve been doing during day time:

I started off visiting site, to see what has happened since last time and of course to introduce myself to the children and their teachers in school. After that I could snoop around site on my own and found both new trees and growing fields. A lot of them had potatoes, Irish potatoes which was not the regular food last time I visited but I’ve had a lot of this far. There were also new trenches made to make more of the land in proper shape for growing food on. Since our plot is in the bottom of a valley a lot of the ground would otherwise be too wet.

Then I met with our local architect, Matuna Medard and we looked at the drawings I brought for the Resource center we’re working on in the building project. He was happy with what he saw and after some small adjustments they will be ready to send! Good news for me and the rest of the Design team from Architects without borders.

Yesterday was Saturday which means the library at our site is open for all children in St Catherine to come visit and read books. This time Anne had also planned lunch for the kids. Since it’s dry season and hard to get enough crops many of the kids don’t get enough food at home. A proper lunch with potatoes and vegetables from site and some pieces of meat is very welcome. Learning about this and meeting these children are one of those overwhelming moments that are very challengning. When you here from people living on what they grow that they experience longer dry seasons and warmer mornings it really makes you worry about climate change and what it causes in this context.

Then there are the kids! At first so shy but also curious about me, the mzungo (white person). But then, when they start singing and dancing the songs they’ve rehearsed you can see all their strong characters they’ve been trying to hide shining through. And that is overwhelming in a very positive way!

  

Hi there! This is Katrin reporting from Kigali, Rwanda. I’m on my way to our project site in Muhanga, Uganda. I’ve been staying one night at this really nice hostel in Kigali since I arrived by plane late last night. 

Since Muhanga is close to the Rwandan border it’s usually more convenient flying to Kigali than Entebbe, Uganda’s international airport. So here I am, waiting peacefully in this beautiful garden with a view over Kigali. And there’s WiFi!

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Internet and electricity so that I can continue sending updates during my 2 weeks on site. I’ll use both this blog and our Instagram, @stcatherinesweden. 

 

The local organisation needs more laptops to do their administrative work more effectively. Do you have a computer laying around at home? Katrin is going to Muhanga July 11th and wants to brings as many as possible. Let her know what you’ve got!

katrin@stcatherinesweden.org

Katrin in action on the picture above! This morning she was talking to Lunds Internationella Rotary Club about the St Catherine project. It’s always interesting to present what we do to new people because it usually leads us forward. We’re looking forward to see where this goes!

Let us know if you or someone you know would be interested in being inspired from hearing about our work!

This weekend we’ve been working on the design of the resource centre. In the end of last year our Ugandan sister organisation got the land title on their plot which means we can send in the application for a building permit. A great step forward!

This weekend we’ve been working on the design of the resource centre. In the end of last year our Ugandan sister organisation got the land title on their plot which means we can send in the application for a building permit. A great step forward! 

Happy kids

Working in developing countries is up and down. Right now St Catherine Sweden is really on our way up!

Thank you to all of you who have been supporting us this far! It gives us lots and lots of energy, and the hope you get from the kids in this picture!

If you also want to get that feeling, click Support us!/ Stöd oss! in the menu above to choose your way to contribute. Or just let us know on email: board@stcatherinesweden.org

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PS. Our chair woman Elisabeth Källén ir registered on our number until our bank opens Swish for companies and organisations, so don’t get worried when you push send!