For the next week Bills linebacker Kawika Mitchell is teaming up with New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka in a charity effort to help villages in Kiwanuka's native Uganda. Mitchell will be providing updates on his encounters and experiences during his week in Africa right here on Buffalobills.com. In today's entry, Mitchell shares the sights, sounds and tastes of his first day on the African continent.
Well we made it to Uganda. Reaching the city of Entebbe was admittedly somewhat of a pain. I had a 7 am flightout ofLondon, but we had to get there coming from Gatwick (another airport in England). From Gatwick I had to catch a bus to Heathrow airport which took 45 minutes. I had to go back through customs and make it to my gate.
Fortunately we made the flight. Once I landed in Entebbe Kiwanuka's mother and cousin were there to greet us. Then we drove about an hour to our hotel. Hotel Africana.
Day 1 was amazing. After sleeping in we started our trip to the village where members of Mathias' family live. It was about a two-hour trip to the village. Half of the travel was done on regular roads and the other half on muddy unpaved roads. It was a great trip with plenty to see.
There are a lot of people in Uganda. They are all over the streets, basically, trying to make a living selling anything from candy to cell phones.There are a lot of markets that sell meat, vegetables, shoes, everything. There are a bunch of cabs, some are vans and some are motorcycles. Kampala is a very busy city. I also saw a lot of dance clubs. The culture is awesome. People have been very friendly.
Mathias was not treated quite like royalty as I thought, but his family has taken great care of us. His family in the village treated us like royalty.
We met his grandfather, who is in his 80's and walks everywhere every day. We met his uncle, auntie and several cousins. We also met a lot people at the school he is trying to help.
The climate is humid and around 80 degrees. Not too hot, not too cold, and very green.
Among some the local cuisine we've had at meal time are goat, mashed bananas, fish, a lot of rice and purple yams.At his grandfather's house we were given tea with bread and hard boiled eggs (a nice snack). The people in the village live off of their own livestock and crops.
We visited the school St. Josephs where we met some of the 150 students there. They had pigs, chickens, goats and cows running around. There was a group of about 50 boys playing soccer. We saw their classrooms and their dorms.
Mathias and his family were able to more closely examine the water issue and they are figuring out a way to get running water routed to the school. As of right now the kids have to walk to the spring, fill their buckets and walk back to the school.
There are a lot of things that can be done to help these children get a good education, which the Kiwanuka family is committed to doing. I also learned today that it is the same school that his mother attended.
Next up on our itinerary is a safari. We're being picked up at 5 am and we'll be driving six hours to get there. The specific destination is unknown for now, but I'll try to fill you in later. We will spend two days there.
Catch up with you soon Bills fans!