Forge: One Second Every Day

Watch a lighthearted insight into Forge 2017 from a student’s perspective- ‘One Second Every Day’ of community living, training, and cross-border outreach to Uganda. 

‘Two flights and 5000 miles later, I arrived at Forge, with little idea of what to expect, a bit apprehensive of what was ahead of me and not knowing a single person! You’ll see that I was soon put at my ease; within the first few days I was cajoled into dancing on the streets of Cape Town with my team mates and running around on Noordhoek beach. There’s many occasions captured here, from training and exploring the local communities, to eating a lot of food, and cross-border outreach in Uganda! One of my favourite memories to look out for is a one second of me carrying water on my head…

Although this might just sound like a fun thing to try (if you’re from a western culture), it encapsulated a lot of what we faced staying in Uganda. Frequently the water for our village would be diverted to the neighbouring village and we would have to resort to going to the well to fetch water. This was a fifteen minute walk down the side of a hill behind our house, and then waiting in the heat for an hour or two in the queue before filling up your jerry can.

My first attempt involved an overambitious exertion to carry two twenty-litre jerry cans. I just about made it back to the house, sweating in the Ugandan heat and collapsing on the floor! I then realised I had to go back for more water, this time taking one of my team mates with me. My energy levels were pretty low, so the Ugandans encouraged us to try putting it on our head. Sure, we thought, we’ll give it a try. One of my neighbours helpfully lifted it up for me and positioned it on my head. First few steps – so far so good. I made it around the first corner until I could see no-one was watching and quickly stopped to try and catch my breath!  After a few more minutes, my head started to spin. I realised I needed to get the can off my head. But how? I had no idea how to lower it off my head without throwing it off and watching our precious water spill away or bounce in the can back down the hill. Fortunately, one of the boys who lived close to us appeared and immediately seeing my predicament, helped me get the can off, have a breather, and then continue.

Soon my head started to hurt again. As I paused on the path, one lady called me over me in Lugandan. She motioned to me to wait, went to the side of the path, came back with some banana leaves and proceeded to create a head rest, an Enkata, to put on my head to help position the can. This made a huge difference! By the time I went around the next corner, word seemed to have spread that the mzungu were carrying water on their heads. Several people were laughing – with us (or so we decided to assume!) – and shouted words of encouragement or motioned different ways to carry the water. Buoyed on by the community, we made the last few steps, and the kids living next door to us helped us lower the water off our heads.

Mission complete – and we were so grateful for the community helping us out, and for what ended up being a turning point in our relationships with our neighbours!’


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