Sep 15, 2009
Nov 21, 2009
We packed up early and headed out on the road for an 8-hour ride. We were driving to Kampala which is the capital of Uganda. Luckily I secured a spot which has 4 seats and a table in the middle which is nice to play cards on and pass the time. I learned how to play the game "500" which is kind of fun and we passed a few hours that way. I read about what happened to Kampala in the paper and apparently there were 24 dead amongst the protests and some looting and riots because the government wouldn't let in a tribal king. That was a week ago and everything seemed normal to me. Not that I really know what normal looked like here but I really didn’t see guys in riot gear or guys carrying guns except for the security guards. On our way into Uganda, we had to stop at the border and pay $50 for a visa which is a horrible purple stamp that you can’t even read and then you are in. There was an incredibly long line of trucks delivering goods either way in or out and apparently it can take as long as a week to get across. I guess both countries don’t trust each other and they are only hurting each other by slowing the process. Pretty much as soon as you cross the border, the terrain and climate change. It becomes more rocky and greener. A lot more palm trees everywhere and lush trees. I also notice a lot poorer people along the way too. A lot of the houses are made more of wood and mud with small babies running out of the house waving and smiling at you. I don’t know what it is about these little kids, but they sure are cute! I find it amazing how these little kids just basically run over to you barefoot with the dirtiest clothes on and have the biggest smile on their face and are so eager to wave at you. There isn’t a time I haven’t waved back and returned a big smile. It’s a pretty neat experience to see. These kids who don’t know anything about poverty or life in general, run over to you with all the joy in the world and you can just see in their face. It is really amazing! As the kids get older in age, they are more reluctant to smile at you. It’s that teenager thing. One very outgoing girl on the trip is from Australia and she always tries to make the kids who aren’t smiling smile. She gets most of them but some are hard to crack. Everybody on the bus is always waving back as well to the kids! For me, I also find it kind of strange. These little kids who have all the potential in the world to do great things are pretty much doomed for nothingness. They are destined for a life of hard work, poverty, little education, possible disease, and early death. It’s kind of like knowing a friend who has terminal cancer. All you can do is just be with them at their bedside and try to provide comfort to them in anyway that you can. It’s kind of like that for the kids. If I can only provide a few moments of joy to some little boy or girl, then at least I’ve done something to help I think. Also driving around the countryside lets you see a lot more than if you were to fly. This has been my most extensive trip through the countryside with a 3rd world country and you see a lot more of the culture than just the big cities which I like. As we drive our big orange truck around the country, we get a lot of stares. It’s a combination of many things. Like the fact that it has 22 white people inside including two white guys driving the truck, most of the houses are located right near the street for easy access to and from, and since most don’t have electricity, they are outside in the front yard. I think at first it is kind of strange but it’s not really that bad. After driving for awhile, we reached Kampala and it looked similar to Nairobi minus the large buildings. We pulled into our hostel/campsite and set up shop as usual. A boring night for me as I went to bed early.