Thursday, 3 September 2009

Uganda - MOH Day 6

Forgive me if this is a little foggy in places. We had a bit of a BBQ party last night at the local Ogilvy office and although we were all perfectly well behaved, the introduction of alcoholic drinks after a week of healthy living has left me a little worse for wear, thankfully its not punishingly hot this morning in Kampala, as i sit on our tiny balcony overlooking the city.

Yesterday morning we left Buikwei, to head back to the city. Over the course of the 5 days that we had spent at the school, we had met a host of kind and generous people who we had bonded with very quickly. We all became very fond of the area and had quickly settled into a Ugandan-style routine, of hard work and simple pleasures. So it was inevitable that leaving was going to be a sad moment.

We said our goodbyes to the builders, who all came to say fairwell, and David the site manager and soon to be teacher, made a small impromptu speech which touched us all. He said "that even though you are not here in person, you will be here in spirit' which is a wonderful testament to the past few days work, and completely clarifies to me how much positive impact the project has already had.

During the drive back to Kampala, we stopped off at a roadside market so a few of us, could purchase some drums. Some of the group had been lucky enough to be taught some basic drumming skill by Joy, the music teacher at the school and suffice to say, they all now think of themselves as the next African Drum Keith Moon. Several drums were purchased, i think the lady who owned the shop had thought that christmas had come early. We now only have to figure out how to get them all back to the UK. I have suggested disguising ourselves as a touring band, but i fear that would be a lost cause.

In Kampala, we briefly stopped at a craft fair, to pick up some gifts and yes, more drums were bought. The craft stalls are all similar, but worth a nose about, though i was the victim of some rather creative maths when receiving my change after one particular purchase. Lunch was ate at the local Nandos and although everyone was ravenous, we all immediately regretted the culinary choice and began to miss Irenes cooking a lot.

We were driven to our new hotel/hostel, which is at the top of the town, near the catherdral, and before we headed out to the Ogilvy office, we were briefly introduced to Justice. Not i hasten to add in the old fashioned terminology, as in "i shall show you the true meaning of Justice", no, Justice is the big cheese behind the IN projects in Africa, and does a tremendous amount of work for the area. He has just returned from Australia the previous day, where he traveled for 3 weeks, giving presentations, meeting schools/business' etc. Time is short and i feel this is becoming a long rambling post so i shall talk about Justice and the projects separately.

Finally, we make it to the BBQ and met David Case and his team. Its a small operation as you can imagine and there clients and work vary hugely from any London or indeed Western offices. There's a few nuggets of interest to mull over regarding African advertising, but i might wait until a later blog to talk turkey. The BBQ and drinks were excellent and it was great to see that the vast majority of the office was populated by local talent, headed up by David and his Creative Director James. The evening went by rapidly, helped no doubt by the Wariga, or War Gin, we were drinking, dangerous on any night, but especially after our extended break.

We returned to the hotel in high spirits and i spent the next 20 minute trying to take night shots of Kampala (see above) with mixed results, but eventually crawled into my, slightly short bed, and tried to black out the intruding light from the corridor,, with an advanced, lycra short headband (don't ask). Sleep was hard to come by, but we have one more day in the city before we head home, so i must away, will ramble on later.


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