Uganda diary: Preface I

5 08 2010

Yes that’s right, I’m going to Uganda. Not yet, but relatively soon.

I’m going for two weeks in August (from the middle until the end), and will be staying in Kampala with my cousin Emma. If anyone reading this blog post can remember how useless I was at being away from home when I went to the Isle of Man, this news may come as a shock. But I was 10 when I went to the Isle of Man with school, and I’ve grown up a little since then.

But the point of this blog post is not so much to describe the forthcoming trip, but to write down what has happened so far.

How it all started

As is the case with so many financially crippling yet exciting ideas (at least in England), the notion of going to Uganda became comfortably rooted inside my brain after a couple of beers (although, I think the idea would’ve come about regardless of beer).

Cousin Emma went over to Uganda last year. In June this year (2010) she came back to the UK for a few weeks to see her family, her friends, go to a Bettys Cafe tea room and so on. More relevant to this story, during this time she also visited our house.

While she was at our house, we had a big barbecue, accompanied by beer and wine.

Emma told my brother James that he should go to Uganda. This was of interest to him as he now has the ‘travel bug’ – the lucky sod went travelling around South America from September 2009 until May 2010. But, his problem was money – specifically, the absence of any in his bank account.

I sat there, quietly taking in all the information. And then I started to think… “What if I go to Uganda? I have a good summer job. I have been saving. By August, I’ll have raised enough money to pay for the flights and so on.”

A couple of weeks later, my flights were booked.


To anyone that knows me – in particular those that know me from my schooldays – you will know that injections just do not get on well with me. Throughout my life, I have been known for being pathetic with vaccinations. At primary school, after one particular injection, my thoughtful and considerate peers informed me: “You’ve turned green”. This trend of becoming pale continued throughout all my schooldays.

Once, I was almost OK. I was 15 or 16, and everyone in the year had to have a booster. Just a small, quick injection. I was bricking it. But I decided I’d be OK. I had the injection. Nothing happened. I felt well! I was fine! But as I walked back to my English class, my body decided that, in the absence of any objection from my brain, it was time to react. So it did. Five minutes later, my head was in the toilet bowl in the gents’ in the English block.

So, how did my vaccinations for Uganda go? After the very friendly nurse told me about what injections I was going to have, and after I told her that I was historically useless with needles, I was ready to be vaccinated.

The famous words were delivered: “You’ll just feel a little scratch.” This used to be followed by me thinking: “OK I can feel the scra-OH MY WORD THAT’S A NEEDLE IN MY ARM”, before feeling light-headed.

But this time… I felt the little scratch. And that was it. Done. Then I had another injection. All over.

That’s right everyone, I had two injections (one in each arm) and I was fine.

And y’know what? I’ve had another one done. For swine flu. Today. It wasn’t compulsory, but it was highly recommended for Uganda on a medical website which the nurse used last week. That’s right, I’ve had an injection that I didn’t even need to have.

The next step

The next step involves me packing my bags, getting my hair cut, shaving off my facial hair (I think it’d be a bit optimistic to call it a beard), and organising my life.




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