Today was another split day, MFP visiting Anyara sub-county district and the water team working more on gutters.

MFP: We first dropped by the Pilgrim office to pick up Julius; while we were waiting we tried to learn some more Ateso. Rohan asked how to say “good night,” and when I (Allison) tried to repeat the phrase they returned, I accidentally said “good mating” instead of “good night.” It was extremely amusing to the Pilgrim folks and to Rebecca and Rohan. Anyways, the drive to Anyara was relatively short and smooth! Once we got there, we were greeted by the chairman of the community, as well as the engine operator and the village board members. We also met their dog named Obama. Unfortunately the MFP in Anyara is also down — the fuel tank is leaking and parts broke down in January and haven’t yet been fixed. The villagers were very gracious and welcomed us even as they expressed some disappointment in the MFP, saying that they expected the village to benefit very much from the MFP but have not yet seen such a growth. We’re trying to figure out where in the communication chain that objectives are getting tangled up; hopefully it will be resolved soon!

Water: The water team started at around 10 AM hanging gutters on the opposite side of the laboratory building, again led by Julius, the school handyman. There are two classrooms in the laboratory building, housing S5 (doing organic chemistry today) and S6 students. We annoyed their classes for about 1 hour each.

Today’s clever idea was to slope the gutters towards the center of the building, rather than towards the end closest to the tank. We figure that it will be easier to slope a PVC pipe to the tank than 2 m sections of gutters. For some of the longer buildings, the distance the gutters would have to travel beneath the fascia board would be impractical for water collection. Hopefully a new clever idea comes our way tomorrow to solve the rest of our problems!

Another major accomplishment for the water team was the ordering of the 3 10,000 L tanks. The headmaster of Beacon of Hope  College and Julius paid a visit to the Pilgrim Office so that they could “release” the money for the tanks purchase. The tanks should be arriving on Friday, and then we can begin connecting everything that next Monday.

After working on the gutters, Bethany/David/Harrison decided to stay for a bit talking to fellow students and just playing with them. Harrison, as usual, taught breakdancing to the kids, and Bethany/David just talked to other kids. David talked to this one kid called Baker who came from this village that faced a lot of problems due to the insurgency in early 2000’s and he wanted some ideas and help in rebuilding his community. While this may not turn out to anything, if all goes well this could be the site of our next MFP site or another project! When he asked me specifically to help me rebuild his village I was kind of reminded of that scene from Three Cups of Tea when Greg Mortenson gets asked by the village chief to build the village a school. Obviously I’m still in college and I’m nowhere as crazy/adventurous/bold as that guy, who knows what the future will bring. Afterwards, we saw this huge thunderstorm fast approaching over the hills and the Soroti rock, and with the coming of fast, vicious winds with huge, ominous gray clouds stretching over the horizon, and we knew it was time to go. Partially from fun and partially from being scared of this oncoming grey monster, we started running out of the school. While it was partly motivated by fear, when running out there was also that childish joy of being silly. As we walked back to the hotel in “New York speed” (since Ugandan walking is quite slow/relaxed), we kept saying “2012!” as the grey monster now with these electric thunderbolts approached us fast, consuming us in this powerful wind and engulfing us in darkness. While we had our perils and surprises, we finally got to our hotel, where we had an emergency meeting with the team to come to a very important decision: do we face this monster, or do we bail and just wait until the monster goes away. Since it hasn’t started raining that hard yet, we decided to adopt the maxim of “no time like the present” and just gear up and bravely dash towards our haven, Landmark hotel. When we first got out, the wind was so strong that the massive pink gates started to falter and almost fell apart (not really). But once we got out to the street, the wind subsided and the rain wasn’t all that bad, and the restaurant actually served our food early. So all in all, our adventure of 6 hungry college kids in a Ugandan thunderstorm ended up alright and we’re all safe and sound.

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