Yesterday afternoon I almost ‘gave up’ on Africa. In the morning I had quite an encouraging meeting with the head of primary at the National Curriculum Development Centre, however that story is too positive for the theme of this post. After the meeting in the NCDC office in Kampala we headed on bodas for tIMG_0222he shopping centre and then for the main bus park. Traffic in Kampala is, well let’s say it’s like imagining you have found yourself in the middle of an anthill and you are trying to get out. Peak time Oxford Street, London, with a combination of taxis, cars, motorbikes, people, chickens, oh – and no organisation whatsoever. And the boda rides, well: they are a combination of weaving in and out of cars, taxis, up and down pavements, dodging pot-holes and man-holes in a somewhat erratic fashion. After getting off the boda up from the bus park I said to Dan: ‘I am done with bodas today! I know of girls who after that experience would curl up in the corner over there and cry.’ Dan’s reply: ‘well you’re not one of them, so keep going!’ We then push our way through thick crowds to the bottom of the street to the bus park entrance. We are greeted with a somewhat ‘not serious’ security check where I take off my backpack (which has been jam-packed with clothes and learning aids) to find the front zipper open – my phone and glasses have gone! We then enter the bus park, greeted in a very ‘friendly’ manner by bus attendants trying to encourage us onto their particular bus. At 1.30pm we finally board a bus back to Gulu – by now I am more than ready to begin the 6-7 hour journey home! The bus isn’t very full. We ask the conductor when will it leave, not till about 3pm was his reply. ‘What?’ ‘Look, it’s not full yet,’ he said. So for two hours we sit and wait, interrupted by ‘hawkers’ shoving anything from phone chargers, tea leaves, handbags, water bottles and loaves of bread in our faces urging us to buy. No – I don’t want to buy a solar panel I just want to sit here and feel sorry for myself! At 3.30pm the bus finally roars up the engine to head off on the this time seven and a half hour journey back to Gulu. Not long in I was told by a ‘charming’ Catholic sister in front of me to move and swap seats with her because I had the window seat and she likes the ‘wind’. But I like the wind too I responded. I refused to move and stood my ground. ‘Well don’t you complain when you get too much wind because it is staying open!’ was her response. ‘You won’t hear me complaining!’ I said. Sure enough, when it grew dark the wind was sharp and cold. I put Dan’s hoody on and tied the hood close around my face but I never complained. You almost broke me today Africa! Almost… But in reflection, maybe I hold on to possessions too closely. What does it matter if my phone was stolen? Even if it is an iPhone.

4 responses »

  1. Jan says:

    Always look on the bright side of life……Your salvation is in tact…I’m assuming….and had you frozen to death on that very seat…….you would have gone to the most weather perfect place where no phones are needed and people are kind to one another…..Don’t let life beat you! Whilst me move amongst the human we will continue to have troubles no matter where in the world you are. One of the church members last Sunday shared a bit about their trip to the Antarctica. They marvelled at how it is the only place where animals are free and there is no site of humans. Yes what a wonderful place that must truly be! I can’t quite recall what happened the other day when Henry commented…I want to go where the penguins are!
    Keep calm and carry on!

    • Thanks Jan – you are exactly right! I needed some Jan words last night, lol; but glad I got them today! You assumed correctly, salvation is intact, an no I didn’t freeze to death. I wouldn’t mind going to where the penguins are also, but for now, let me be fixed on where I am and keep on carrying on! Much love! xxx

  2. Diane Parsons says:

    Everything I so dislike about Kampala. Do take care Boda rides in Kampala have got to be the worst accident risk! Were there no Post Buses going to Gulu the coaches up are a real challenge. Thinking of you lots- stay positive and I’m just so impressed with what you’re achieving. Love Di. X

    • Yes I know! Although I think I would go further to say that I hate Kampala rather than dislike it, well at the moment anyway… We know bodies are risky, been wearing our helmets and only get on them when we need. Post buses only leave early in the morning and we wanted to leave after the meeting that I had at 10am. Homeland is also a new very good bus company (we travelled with them on the way down, even got to book seats, etc), so lesson learnt indeed. We are now only travelling with Homeland or Post Bus. Thanks Di! Speak to you soon. Lots of love back. xxx

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