So I’m writing this while hurtling down the highway heading back to Kampala. I will save it as a draft and then post it as a blog once I get back to the hotel assuming they have wifi.
We left at 9 am and got to our first destination at 11:40. The only slow down was when we stopped at a stall near Andrew’s old university to get a Rollex — which is an omelette wrapped in a chapati. There are literally thousands of Rollex stands (the name comes from the Ugandanized contraction of “Rolled Eggs”) but we are pretty careful about where we’ll get them and this guy has been safe before.
Erika and I shared one but Andrew and our new driver had one each. They were stupendous and, as I’ve often said, the Rollex is the most brilliant of street foods especially here in Uganda.
In the midst of all this has been the constant presence of police. It is near the end of the month, and this time for rent and school fees and internet bills, and so the traffic police have been out in full force to get bribes for all the traffic infractions they completely and utterly ignore the rest of the month. In fact it’s rare to even see a traffic cop except at the end of the month.
We got pulled over because our new driver passed a slow-moving truck on an uphill climb. Of course this happens literally ALL•THE•TIME but suddenly it was snapped up by the waiting cops. Initially they wanted him to pay a 100,000 Shilling fine ($30CAD basically)and run through a bunch of hoops but Andrew talked him down to a 20,000 Sh bribe — around $4/5. I asked Andrew if he had received a receipt for the transaction but he expressed doubt that he’d be able to get one.
We then bolted down the road to near Jinja to meet our first person who is Margaret Hasshasha. She is a former politician (on a village level I think) who now runs a woman’s cooperative. She makes sanitary kits based on the Days for Girls model and so we take her some PUL and stuff on occasion. She is a ball of fire and has a very powerful personality.
The other good news is that she has lots of animals so I petted her cats, some goats, a puppy, more goats, and a chicken (almost). Erika also got to pet a week-old calf but I wasn’t close enough. Cute little thing and the calf was too 😀.
In other animal news, I saw my third camel today. One of the other two was also in Uganda. Who the hell knew they had camels? Bizarre. Of course this wasn’t a wild camel, and was being led by a man who was presumably selling rides upon said camel, but still.
We then whipped over to React Now To Save Young Mothers. It’s a community org that provides free vocational classes to young single mothers and other vulnerable members of the community. They are very nice and quite earnest and do very good work in their community. We look forward to working with them in the future. They have lots of needs but not everything is in our purview. I took footage and I will assemble a small video to throw up on the website and see if any of our donors are interested, tho.
We decided to make the return trip immediately after we were done so we were actually on the road at 2:30precisely. If all is well we will be back in Kampala by 4:30. That doesn’t mean we’ll get to the hotel that quickly tho; that will of course depend on the amount of gridlock.
At 4:07 we finished a quick pit stop because we spotted a fruit stand with star fruit. We have never seen them here and they are one of Erika’s favs. We bought 12 for 3000/ which is like $0.95 or so. Hopefully they’ll be good.
Erika says she’s going to wash them and then eat them because she’s already eaten salads and roadside goat meat so nothing can kill her. I will possibly try one too I must confess but I am more cautious by nature than my beautiful bride.
At 5:23, just shy of three hours after we left Jinja, we arrived home at our hotel. We were actually in Kampala quickly enough but spent most of the last hour stuck in gridlock just 4-5 km away from the hotel. Yes, we could have walked it, probably, if we all had lower than average levels of the self-protection gene but instead just patiently waited it out. Now off to a well deserved G&T!