Kampala, U-TOUCH & Dinner w/ Turkish Airlines

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Today was focused on getting my camera fixed before our safari and working on some U-TOUCH issues with our main strategic partner, AMREF. As for the camera, when we were in Mbale I used a tripod to conduct some interviews. When I went to take the camera off the tripod I unclipped the camera but was not holding it securely. Well, the camera fell to the floor and the lens separated from the camera. It was not my telephoto lens, but either way I would like to have both lenses for our safari.

So, upon our arrival in Kampala I asked Amin, our driver, to find a local place to fix the lens. We arrived at a store and walked to the back to meet Meh and Robert. May and Robert moved here from San Francisco in 1989. They started a photo company and have been working hard ever since. They said that Kampala was a small little city when they arrived and now it has gotten way too crowded. In any event, Meh was able to get my lens fixed and I was on my way.

We went straight from the camera shop to the AMREF offices where we spent the next 5 hours. Deb introduced me to a number of wonderful people that have worked with U-TOUCH for numerous years. We have some issues to work out as our main contact, Joshua Kyallo, has moved on to a new organization. With the absence of Joshua we need to build some new relationships to move the project forward effectively. I am sure that we will do that tomorrow as we have a morning meeting scheduled before our flight to Nairobi. We have a 4:25 PM flight from Entebbe to Nairobi and will get to see my brother when we arrive at the hotel in Nairobi.

After we met with AMREF we headed to the Serena Hotel for dinner with Erbil Ekgun, the country director of Turkish Airlines in Uganda. Erbil handled our lost bag situation and was very nice through the whole process. I thought that there was a reason we were meant to meet so when he offered to treat us to dinner tonight I said we would accept only if he joined us. He accepted and we had a great dinner. The kids and Ilise ate really well and the conversation centered on what we are doing with U-TOUCH and how Turkish Airlines could help.

Erbil told us about some great programs that Turkish Airlines offers, like a free day and night in Istanbul if you have a layover for a full day. In the future we might want to organize trips over where we purposefully spend a day in Istanbul on our way to Uganda. Erbil also offered to provide some upgrades and possibly some free flights to U-TOUCH for our travels to Uganda. I am very glad that we invited him to dinner. Finally, he brought us a beautiful Turkish plate for us as a gift. In the end losing our bags was a pretty good experience all around. You never know why things happen and turning lemons into lemonade is how I am wired.

Looking forward to our last day in Kampala tomorrow and our trip to Kenya.

‘Til next time ……

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