guest blogger: Yi Yi 'Day 2-3: Recovery Day-First Work Day'

Tuesday (day 2) was a recovery day which started with a brunch at Prunes, which according to Sarah, is the cafe that has the best wifi in Kampala as well as the nicest atmosphere. I was able to reassure my family and friends that I had arrived safely and settled in, and that it might be possible that they wouldn’t hear from me on an hourly basis.

"A healthy morning means a happy rest of the day..." - Yi Yi Yeap (2015)

"A healthy morning means a happy rest of the day..." - Yi Yi Yeap (2015)

We then went to the mall so that I could get a new SIM card for my phone and Internet for my laptop. While we were there, Sarah also took me to the store ‘Bold,’ which sells clothes made by local designers. There, we saw styles made by well-known Ugandan fashion designer, Claire Tendo, who is also an educator and teacher of the girls at AAD, teaching them how to sew and make shirts. The goal is to get the clothes made by the girls of AAD into stores like these. My wallet awaits!

The boda trip back to the house had me a little worried. This would be my first time getting back to the house by myself, as Sarah had to run errands, and it was only my second day! But I had Sarah’s faith (and instructions written down), so I persevered. There was a moment when the boda driver asked me where to go and I freaked out, and stammered whatever answer seemed appropriate according to the instructions. Luckily he was able to ask a fellow boda driver and we continued on our way. At a certain point, I became familiar with the roads and was able to point him in the right direction. Next time however, I might want to utilise the spare helmet sitting in the house. By the end of the boda ride, my eyes were still squinting from the force of the wind and my hair had seen much better days. I wish I could’ve taken a video of the ride, and the view of Kampala that I saw from it, but I’m afraid I’m still at that stage of fearing that I’ll fall off the boda if I don’t hold on with two hands, so that video will have to wait some time.

Before going to bed, Sarah offered to go for a run with her the next morning at 6:30am, and though my pulsating body wanted to, my head told me ‘no, maybe next time.’ So I started Wednesday (day 3) just like any other day: woke up, switched off my alarm, went back to sleep, woke up again (10 minutes later to my second alarm), switched it off, went back to sleep, woke up a third time and finally, finally kept my eyes open. It was 8:30am in the morning and I was not nearly awake yet.

Breakfast today consisted of a ‘Rolex.’ When I first heard it, I thought I was hearing things and that it was really ‘rolled eggs.’ However when we reached the street stall near the house that made them, the menu actually had Rolex written on it! Fun fact of the day: Rolex = rolled eggs with chapati. (Chapati = a type of flatbread with its roots from South Asia)

How to make a ‘Rolex’:

  1. Make an egg mixture with chopped tomatoes and onions
  2. Fry the mixture into an omelette
  3. Grab that chapati you have lying around (I actually have no idea how to make chapati…)
  4. Stick the omelette on top of the chapati, and roll them together (some stalls also add sliced tomatoes and avocado before they start rolling)
Maybe I’ll just leave it to the experts rather than failing at being Masterchef…

Maybe I’ll just leave it to the experts rather than failing at being Masterchef…

Anyways, we made a visit to the fabric factory today! David and Geoffrey, our boda drivers for the day, picked us up from the house and drove us to the factory where AAD get their fabrics from. We waited for around an hour before we were able to get the 10kg of black fabric that had been requested. A lot of time will be spent waiting in Uganda is what I’ve been told. Mr Rahul (the manager of Fine Spinners Uganda Ltd) was kind enough to give us a tour of the factory, explaining the whole process of shirt-making: from raw cotton to the sewing of fabrics. I can safely say that I still do not quite understand the shirt-making process, but I do know that there are some heavy machinery used (which looked exactly like the machines I saw in the Spiderman movies where Peter Parker is exploring the lab before he gets bitten by the radioactive spider?) and many complicated chemical phases to get through. Sorry Mr Rahul!

On our way to the AAD workshop to drop off the fabric, I experienced my first rainy day in Kampala…while on a boda…carrying my laptop and camera in my bag…You can see Sarah carrying the fabric that was just bought from the factory. I don’t know how, but she was able to carry that on a boda all the whole way to the AAD workshop.

#SuperwomanSarah

#SuperwomanSarah

Today was also not the best day to be wearing a white t-shirt on my part. We were about 5 minutes away from the workshop when the rain became too much and we had to stop at an awning on the side of the street to wait out the rain. (I hope that one day they invent windscreen wipers for glasses like the ones that they have for cars!) Sarah’s boda had gotten stuck in the mud, when they attempted to drive down a dirt road, and had to be pulled out by both David and Geoffrey.

Sorry David and Geoffrey!

Sorry David and Geoffrey!

After dropping off the fabric, we made a quick stop in Kyembe to stock up on some thread.

thread store

At 7:30pm, we had dinner with Claire, the fashion designer and teacher, at Ashiana (a North Indian, Gujarati and South Indian restaurant according to the menu). The restaurant is also where Claire’s store “Papple Trees” will have its grand opening this coming Sunday. The store will not only stock Claire’s clothing designs, but also work from other artists and the shirts from AAD! At dinner, we were able to not only discuss the grand opening and what would be happening in the lead up to it, but also to exchange stories about ourselves and how we got to where we were: three women from completely different backgrounds brought together by fashion and a desire for the empowerment of women. I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet such inspiring people in my life. 

Until tomorrow,

Yi Yi