I’ve arrived

Enjoying breakfast at Banana Village but I am not alone!!

My home for just one night. Now moving on. Be in touch when I can. Sponsorship for nets is rolling in so fingers crossed we will meet the 1000! Thank you! Keep donating please!

Day 1

First day in Uganda and I’ve driven along a section of the new Entebbe to Kampala ‘express way’. It reminded me of home, though there were few cars and every-day life seemed to be carrying on regardless of this massive concrete structure looming above their homes often cutting homesteads in two! Pedestrians and cyclists are banned but I saw cyclists riding along the drainage ditches that run along the edge and even a man with a young child waiting to cross! There were children peeping through and washing drying on the perimeter fence plus a couple of dead goats splattered in the road! It will be interesting when they open the toll booths!!

Sorry for lack of communication. Been travelling and network not so good.

Day 1 continued-

I’ve also had another experience to add to my list of ‘unforgettables’!! I had no Ugandan currency plus my wifi box and phone were playing up so Godfrey took me into Kampala city centre. We caught a local bus 🚌 (I call them suicide buses!)but it took us the wrong side of the city and we ended up walking miles uphill in the boiling afternoon, because I didn’t fancy the alternative, using a boda boda, a motorbike taxi!

Walking through the Saturday crowds was a challenge in itself, with Godfrey taking up the rear to make sure no one attempted to rob me!

As I was walking along I was wishing I could record the atmosphere for you, amazing, a feast for all senses! It was buzzing, tens if thousands of people moving every which way and so many traders everywhere you looked, many with their goods spilling out over the pavement.

Very sad to see so many disabled people begging though, some lying right across the path, even a mother begging for help for her severely disabled son.

I stayed glued to Godfrey’s side while we navigated across the many busy crazy crazy roads! Buses, cars, boda boda and mobile traders all vying to take any space that appeared regardless of the mere mortals trying to cross the road! You have to be proactive in your approach otherwise you wouldn’t make it, which means some very close encounters with vehicles big and small!! How more people are not mowed down I do not know! But you just have to go with the flow if you choose to visit a 3rd World country! I was exhausted mentally as much as physically by the time we reached the centre!

As you might have already guessed we were successful in sorting my communication problems and at no expense which was a miracle in itself! Then it was time to head home, but how??? Riding a motorbike taxi through Kampala city centre was not on my agenda especially as my helmet is in Jinja. But, needs must and I did feel more than a bit frazzled! Godfrey found two licensed bodas (I thought they didn’t exist in Uganda!) which covered the demands of my travel insurance as long as I was the only passenger and the bike was under 125cc. The boda drivers wore individually numbered orange helmets and high vis jackets and we were provided with helmets too! Even more impressive were the ‘hairnets’ we were given to wear under the helmets for hygiene purposes!

No, I’m not setting a new trend with orange hair! It’s the luxurious, actually very sensible, hair net that keeps all those using the helmet after me from ending up with any of my grey Mzungu hair! Ha ha! Actually, a great idea!

So, having satisfied all requirements of my travel insurance I hopped, well more like heaved my arthritic knee over the bike and sat myself down, asking the driver if he was a good driver and could I hold onto him. He answered both questions with a cheesy smile and nod then asked ‘Ready’? This time Godfrey led the way as his home was 7 km out of the city, not territory that the boda men knew. As soon as Godfrey’s boda plunged into the foray my driver put his foot down to follow! I knew I had to relax and ‘go with’ the driver and be prepared for many many sudden stops! In fact the whole journey was continuous sudden breaking so concentration was very important! I kept my knees gripped to the seat and my elbows tucked in tight, one hand holding the driver and the other the back of the bike. Shortly after setting off I carefully slipped my rucksack off my back and round to the front after remembering advice given to me by a complete stranger several years ago. At the time I was taking a short boda ride when a man suddenly stepped out and stopped us! He pointed to my backpack to take it off! I honestly thought I was being robbed but in fact he was indicating that I must carry it on my front for safety! A scary moment but advice I’ve always remembered!

Godfrey paying for our fares. Note the orange helmet and high vis jacket denoting the company with qualified drivers!!

The ride back to Godfrey’s home except when nearing the end had no long stretches of straight road, it was all stop start with endless twists and turns. It was quite a relief to get off the boda, stiff back, sore bum, painful hands from holding on and I felt shattered! But, I have to admit to enjoying the ‘adventure ‘ in a sadistical sort of way! There’s a bit of life in the ol’ girl yet!!

Still smiling, or are my teeth just still gritted in tension after the ‘exciting ‘ ride!!!

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