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The locusts have arrived!

  1. KUMI COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FEBRUARY 2020 DIARYThursday 13 February 2020The locusts have arrived! Reports of swarms not far from here (they say 50 miles) have been reported but the wind is thankfully blowing them westwards. A wayward one was found in our compound (photo) by the WFTW team who were searching for a chameleon. Surely, a day off was warranted and we set off to the nearby lake to paddle our own canoes to Tisia Island, a small island recently occupied by unfriendly folk (till about 2009). Two dugouts awaited their intrepid passengers and, gingerly, they stepped over the seats of one canoe to reach their intended craft. Once settled and with the boats well-balanced, paddling started in earnest. The water leaked in and constant baling with a scoop fashioned from an empty cooking oil can to reduce the water lapping over our feet was necessary. The passage would have been silent apart from the sound of the paddles but much chatter broke the peacefulness. Fourteen mzungus must have looked strange as they slid through the waterlilies and papyrus grass. The sun was relentless but the breeze was cool with no shade for shelter. Reaching the island, we disembarked, again gingerly to maintain our balance, and we were greeted by excited toddlers. No tourist place this, just the local people. Each year the island becomes more developed and there are even a few modern buildings to spoil the general atmosphere of remoteness. Walking past the mud huts, I wondered if this could become completely spoilt as tourists invade their privacy. We were greeted by the local officials and we continued walking to the new school which I hadn’t seen before and built by the Mustard Seed Project (Uganda). The children were attending class under the mango tree to avoid the direct sunlight and, to my surprise, each one had a small modern school chair, unlike poor Adesso School where the floor is their place to sit. The problem of plastic waste is evident in most of Africa, I think, but here plastic bottles litter the place. We even saw a couple floating on the waters as we paddled over. There is no water supply here and cooking and washing water is obtained from the middle of the lake. Many locals also drink this lake water so the alternative is to drink from plastic bottles. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for Governments to realise this pollution issue and take action. Back down the gentle hill to the ferry, we ate our lunch of rolleggs under a thatch where a young girl was sewing a dress with her sewing machine. She had attended a tailoring school on the mainland and had set up her workplace where it was relatively cool. One lady had huge keloid scarring on her back and arm so I wrote out a referral slip for her to come for injections when Interplast UK visit later in the year. The day had been good, in fact the last ten days had been more than good but good things always come to an end. At North East Villa, we sat outside and then said our farewells before I returned to the GH. So, all did not continue as smoothly as it had so watch this space!

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