A Travellerspoint blog

A Chance Meeting

Peacebuilding Skills Put to the Test

sunny 23 °C
View CONTACT Uganda 2016 on Peliroja's travel map.

Monday I woke but my body was still fighting me from getting up. I didn't make it to join the 9am meeting Chrissie had asked me to come  to but I got there by 10.

I recognized the Agha Khan mosque and all the buildings...
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but when I got to the building that seemed clearly what KRC would be, I couldn't find one sign and Chrissie had been clear that a sign was there so I continued. However, I never remembered the road curving so much and I was almost full circle before I went back. This time I saw the sign but the tree branches were covering it from the other direction. The building was the one I thought it was.
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Not seeing the very small sign that said "Entrance-->" I chose the nearest door.  I came up to reception from behind and the nice man, John offered to take me to Chrissie's office. Since he wasn't there we asked another John where we could find him. The new John had been at KRC when I was there last but he didn't recognize me entirely. He said I had changed so much. 😁

John introduced me to the two men at the conference table as important leaders from Kasese. It was explained that the men were there to really discuss Peacebuilding pathways. I was asked  to join them and I explained that I had been to Kasese 10 years before to help Chrissie with the peace clubs he had started. The one man said he'd been one who worked with them and we had a brief conversation about the clubs' sustainability, or seemingly lack there of...then the third man joined the table.

Chrissie was writing me about a very important meeting he was in just then but he would arrive shortly. What I didn't realize was that John had been anxiously trying to get Chrissie on the phone...apparently, he didn't feel he could hold this meeting without him. Neither he nor myself understood the magnitude of the meeting, which I'd learned later was impromptu and requested in earnest by the three men sitting at the table. I realize now that one reason John had me sit at the table was so that he could get Chrissie in that room as soon as he would arrive.

During the time we waited for Chrissie's arrival, John began the meeting by creating a safe space. I could see how stressed the men were...lots of nervous laughter over how serious things were in the region. John stated  that the first thing that they wanted to do was keep them alive.  Now, on my Emirates flight back to Dubai as I'm writing this, tears well up in my eyes as the severity of their fear washes over me...although, I'm also watching the movie Spotlight so it could be a variety of emotions...

When Chrissie finally got there, he was excited to reintroduce me to the staff the same way Aludi did at Caritas. I told him how John hadbeen desperate to get him there but he was still unaware of what was happening except that one of the men had not been around in years and was so happy to see him. When John caught him, he begged him into the meeting and Chrissie promised to come but he was able to get away with saying he needed to get his tea first.

While we walked around, some faces were vaguely familiar while many were new and, as I pointed out about one, so very young. Chrissie, as Aludi had, introduced me as his OG (Old Girl...meaning someone you went to school with, no matter when or where it was.) He told them that I had been there many years ago to work on Peacebuilding in the region and that I was back  to see how things were going. He joked about how, when were doing the work before, it had just been theory but that now...and it never really had an end and I started to chime in that he would be able to demonstrate his excellent skills...which, of course, he was still truly nervous about. Many of his colleagues thanked me for keeping either Fort Portal or KRC in my heart and some even said they'd hope I'd stay to help...which prompted me to say that I was just a teacher...but it just flew from my mouth before I realized how stupid it truly sounded...

I can't even imagine what it's like to watch your home become so polarized that you couldn't know what might happen next...

I got to the bottom of why people didn't recognize me right away when we entered the kitchen and the lady in charge of making tea and coffee for everyone and meetings said, "you're fatter!" 😂 (One has to understand that the fatter you are, the richer you are because you have the luxury of eating more than just what sustains you...so it was a compliment.) We asked her to bring tea to the conference room and I returned to the seat at the end if the table away from the conversation as I had felt I was intruding enough already and John moved over to give Chrissie the head of the table and the meeting.

The severity of the situation finally washed over Chrissie...these three men came to KRC looking for his help. Te murders with the machetes happened in their district...They were there to talk about the experiences they'd all had in recent years in their positions of power and, according to a chat with Chrissie later, had never felt comfortable recounting these stories to him before due to a historical rift in the region going back to the 60s (i.e. Before our time) which prevented them from doing so. This, alone, made it a situation deserving undivided attention.  Chrissie was able to get some of those questions answered from the night before as to why a "simple" political disagreement had begun to drive people to take machetes to people with whole they disagreed. It ran deep and it seemed to have connections to some of what I had studied during my last visit but, since I hadn't paid close enough attention to the area during the past 10 years, I just sat and took it all in.

Throughout the conversation, the men received phone calls so they took turns telling their stories. Chrissie admitted later that he had been advised by our professor, Olivia Drier (the same one from the earlier post with Aludi) that they should have everyone turn off their phones but, as this was an imminent threat and new territory in his honed skill set (honestly, I don't even feel I'm in his league despite having been classmates in the same course and working together on an independent study.)

At the end of the meeting, Chrissie and John, again, told them that their first priority was  to keep them alive. That, alone, was enough to understand the intensity of the situation.  Chrissie had other work to get to before lunch. Once a month, KRC provided lunch for the entire staff so that they would be sure to all be in one place for the monthly staff meeting. I posted the articles and asked my home church, Church of the Holy Spirit to keep these people in their prayers...for the second time, I was praised for "the work I do" in one week from different people back home...

The first time I was thanked on my Facebook page was when I posted about my visit to St. Jude's Children's Home and delivering all the kids clothes that had been donated to me which sidx something like, "thank you for all that you do!" but  I honestly didn't feel like I had do anything...I responded with something like, "I didn't do anything except book a flight and offer to take things with me if people were willing to give." Honestly, I felt that the people who gave me the clothes and toys did more than I was doing...I felt more like I had been keeping my friend, Aludi from the important work he does by occupying his time showing me around...so, when my own church thanked me...all I could do was keep them updated...I really felt like I was more in the way than anything else.

Before the serious meeting was adjourned, I made sure to ask permission to take a photo of everyone since John had requested a photo be taken by another staff member. I told them that I was worried and didn't want to jeopardize their safety but they agreed. Even so, I've decided not to post the picture...but rather this one which I felt was safer.
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After I had lunch with the staff, I headed back to my hotel room so I could work on the blog...
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Apparently I needed a nap cuz I'd forgotten to take my allergy meds but I also had time to charge the technology with me.  Chrissie came by sometime near 5 and I had already taken part in a Smirnoff Ice which I had found at the hotel in Kampala too.
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I handed him a bag of clothes to share with his various family members, perfume for Vicky and one for his aunt with the disabled son...when he found out I hadn't been to the Tooro Palace at the top of the hill in Fort Portal, he insisted that we needed to stop by before I were to leave again. Somehow, during the 30 days I had been there last, we never found time to get up there.

The first stop we made was at his personal office in town where he did work to get some alone time for processing then we headed to the palace.  The views going up the hill were gorgeous. When we got to the top of the hill, the Tooro king's military guard told me I couldn't even take pictures of the mountains facing AWAY from the palace because it was after 6pm.

Chrissie was able to get the attention of one of the members of the council to try talking to them and allow us to wander. Apparently, they pushed it up the ladder and we ended up chatting with his OB (Old Boy) who now works as the assistant to the king.  We wandered and chatted but, finally he helped us get some photos.
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From there, we went to the other side of Fort Portal to a hotel where the other great view of the town was, past the house Chrissie used to live in and I shared a room with Agnes to catch a drink.
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It was here that he admitted to me that the man who had just wandered the palace grounds with and gave us his direct number was the one who he'd been trying to get hold of for a long time. There is a conference on the 20th of this month to discuss food issues in  Fort Portal going forward in the coming years as the town becomes a city. As Chrissie told me this story, as well as more about the significance of what happened in the morning meeting, he was thanking me for being here. As Ngoya had given me the nickname "the bringer of rain", he felt that I brought this positive fortune. (Oh yeah, as an aside, his son gave me the Lutoro name of Akiki which, as I was told, doesn't really have any particular translation but is like a mythical heroine.) He asked me to come with him to the meeting he had to shorten, the one with the bishop the next day to discuss how they could get other prominent leaders involved in de-escalating the violence, not just because I might find it interesting but also because he felt I was bringing some hope...or good luck to the process.

To this, I laughed internally...a family joke we have is that we aren't very lucky...however, I never told him...it was nice to see him look hopeful after seeing him look so desperate the night before.

While we chatted, the news was playing in the background...the man who was part of the problem was speaking to his followers...he was demonstrating his influence in the region.

When we finished there, I went back to say goodbye and goodnight to the kids. Chrissie looked at the shirts my colleague had donated from her husband and he told me he wouldn't have to buy new ones for another 5 years. The kids were in awe of our pictures around the palace but they went to bed eventually. Vicky was in Kampala for a meeting with the little one. So, once they were in bed with their aunt, we set off for the guesthouse.

As we approached, Chrissie translated the news to me...the three men who were at the table in the morning were announced as troublemakers. What I hadn't understood at the time that he told me was that it was the man from the news who said it. Going to bed that night, I worried about the safety of the men, the peace process and even Chrissie and his family, thinking it had been the ruling party who made the statement (which, in the morning, was corrected for me.)

Additionally, when I had been doing research on articles about what wss going on  in the region to post on  my Facebook page, I had found an article about a bishop who had a machete taken to him on the Eastern border (the other side of Uganda) so  I started to wonder if going to the meeting in the AM was really a good idea...a message attached to one of the articles I'd posted on Facebook from my former Irish colleague, basically saying "get out of there!" was also starting to get my anxiety up...

I updated photos online and I posted a blog before trying to sleep. The internet was super slow so, I had been up late...the anxiety didn't start until I was falling asleep, but not even as bad as the next morning.

Posted by Peliroja 13:30 Archived in Uganda Comments (0)

Return to Rwenzori

Another Long Journey, To Fort Portal I Go

overcast 23 °C
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I got up early because Joseph, Chrissie's brother, was picking me up at 8:15 so we could attend mass at his church.  In the car was his youngest, Briella, whom he said loved to go to church with him. She was adorable...and was so very good during mass.

We went to St. Augustine's at Makerere University
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and the mass was in English, Acholi and, I'm guessing, a variety of other Ugandan languages.  The mass went from 9:10-11am and it was not a special Sunday! ☺ However, the priest took a moment during his homily to share how he had been harrassed with text messages for speaking of peace after the elections. His entire homily was taking apart the importance of Shalom and Peace be with you being more than just something one says-that one must act. He read one message to us and gave the congregation the phone number of the person...it was definitely an interesting experience. 😀

From mass, I changed money and was on my way to the bus station. I arrived at 11:30 but, as per usual in countries like this, it wouldn't take off until it was mostly full so we weren't on our way until after 1pm. During that time I had to endure vendor after vendor stick their wares in my face with things I would never buy: weird styles of shoes, sandals and flipflops; battery banks OR SIM cards; belts scarves and handkerchiefs; hair clips, bobbles and bracelets; matoke, nuts, chips and soda; newspapers and books that clearly had been reproduced locally and illegally. If  I didn't respond they would call out "muzungu," make a hissing sound or tell me over and over what it was as if I didn't understand.

All of this was on my right wide, on the other side was the pungent smell of the mud/garbage/etc that had built up over time mixed with the caustic exhaust coming out the side of the bus under my window. Additionally there were people selling sunglasses and one guy had a huge array of bizarre items on what resembled a ladder with every possible plastic or fluffy desire that could be thought of.

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As per usual, the bus doesn't just leave, it revs over and over and inches slowly towards the gate so that people come running to fill the remaining seats and think they're going to  miss it.  I wasn't convinced we were actually on  our waybut I sent messages to Chrissie and his brother to say I thought I might just be on the way.

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I lucked out on this trip and didn't have anyone sit next to me the whole way to Fort Portal...but they were kind enough to turn on horrible music videos at decibels God never intended our eardrums to endure so I began watching more mindless TV. Fortunately, since it was mindless, I was able to stare at the countryside as it went by...especially when the winding roads started to make me queasy and I still didn't want to take my headphones out.

Eventually I had to put the tablet down to charge for a bit and I finally realized what all the shouting was about. The 80s Van Damm movie was being voiced over in the local language, but not in a normal way. Instead, there was a man with a horrible microphone that would often feedback who voiced over-not just Van Damm...but the ENTIRE cast. Additionally, he seemed to be giving background to what was happening because he would takk over entire scenes that didn't have anyone speak at all. In  the middle of the screen was a constant advertisement for more dvds like this one.

With all of that,  I couldn't help be mesmerized by it all. Seeing Van Damm's horrible B movie style along with the ridiculous 80s hair and outfits just hypnotized me.

I was so happy to arrive before night time and, looking around, I couldn't believe how much I recognized! At first I didn't notice much because I had been dropped off in front of a new shopping mall that never existed before but as I looked around, I recognized the bridge to my left, the Garden Restaurant across the street where I ate the first night I'd arrived in Fort Portal the last time and the road to where I shared a room with one of Chrissie's roommates 10 years before. I felt quite at ease as I waited for Chrissie to msince I recognized so much right away.

Chrissie appeared above me and I ran to give him a hug without looking at the ground so I instantly stepped my sandal into some deep mud.  His son was by his side and the minivan behind them had Vicky and the littlest. As we rounded the back of the minivan to load my bag, his daughter joined his son's side.

We stopped at Daj Guesthouse near the KRC office and I dropped my things before we headed to their home for dinner. Upon arrival, I met Chrissie's sister and brother and then sat down to African Tea and cookies. While the ladies made dinner, Chrissie had his kids ask me questions...and we caught up.

The hardest part was listening to Chrissie talk between the kids running in and out of the room about what had been happening recently in the areas of Kasese and Bundibugyo-where we both had worked with peace clubs 10 years before. He talked about the many murders which had been taking place in the region since the election. However, they weren't just any murders...they used machetes to hack dozens. He was upset, frightened and appeared disheartened as he told me how they couldn't find the root cause of how it was starting.

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Tabling any further discussion of the sort for the next day, we dug into dinner, which was excellent. ☺ After eating, the kids got ready for bed and a short chat with Vicky,

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Chrissie went to take me back to the guesthouse but we had to make a stop at his grandmother's house first. While we chatted, Chrissie's uncle came by to tell him his grandmother was ill.  I met his grandmother, his aunt and his disabled cousin while Chrissie chatted to his grandmother about what was wrong and trying to convince her to go to the doctor the next day. Once she agreed, he drove me back to the guesthouse.

He advised me to take as long as I needed the next morning before meeting him at KRC. I went straight to bed.

Posted by Peliroja 13:46 Archived in Uganda Comments (0)

A Day of Rest

It Is a Vacation After All...

semi-overcast 25 °C
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Since Friday was so intense and ended at 3am, I made no plans other than to rest on Saturday...especially since I had plans to go to Fort Portal by bus the next day-which I was really dreading...(the ride, not the arrival. ☺)

The people of the hotel began my morning at 7:30 as they greeted each other in the happy Ugandan way...but exhaustion made me grouchy and after a half an hour of this, I finally begged them to please be quieter so I might rest since I didn't arrive until 3am. There was a bit of a hush for a few minutes but they quickly forgot again so I put my earplugs in and my eyecovers on...but this snooze only lasted about another half an hour.

Giving in, I simply stayed in bed and watched mindless shows I'd downloaded onto my tablet...I finally got out of bed for breakfast but returned to bed and TV for the remainder of the afternoon. I got dressed at around 3pm because Chrissie had informed me that his brother was coming to see me.  I ordered room service and waited...while still watching TV and relaxing.  When his brother arrived near 5pm, we went to the garden bar and chatted away while making arrangements for the next day.

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Lucky for me, the electricity went out so the bar music didn't keep me up all night. I went to bed early and prepared for the next part of my journey.

Posted by Peliroja 13:38 Archived in Uganda Comments (0)

Roads? Where We're Going There Are No Roads...

A Long Journey for a Short Visit

storm 22 °C
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If adventure is what I've been after, adventure is definitely what I got.  I got up at 5:30...actually I woke up before my alarm began. I was trying to be ready for pickup so Aludi could make it to work on time and I could use the internet before we left. He swore that we'd leave exactly at 10, the latest. Well, as they say, 'this is Africa' so we didn't manage to leave until 11...but as we were gassing up, he remembered he had to stop at the bank so we didn't officially get on the road until 11:30.  Having no concept of what type of journey would entail, I had no idea that this was going to mean a very late night.

Since Aludi didn't get proper sleep the night before, he asked his driver to take a shift and we would send him back on public transportation when he felt rested. Joseph had been working for Caritasfor many years and even drove for them while Aludi worked on the peace and reconciliation commission in South Sudan.

When we started out, I noticed the clouds and noticed that we might get rain. Aludi said it might come in the evening...since I had been wrong before, I believed that he could be right...however, as we reached outside of town, he revised his prediction. The rain began almost instantly and Aludi said that the dirt road we were on would not be paved the entire way there. The red dirt contrasted beautifully with the dark clouds.

It really started to storm down...and I began to worry about some of the rivers that the road had turned into, but it began to clear just outside the hills that started the Karamoja lands. I even got out took some pictures...it was beautiful. However, as we began to traverse the one car road (one car wide), the rains began to pour down with a vengeance. We had just started seeing cattle and goat herds passing through but not a one of the people we saw, even carrying water or heading home, changed their patterns even though they didn't have an sort of protection from the rain. One boy worked very hard to get his cattle out of our way and I waved in thanks. He didn't have a hat or the local wrap to shelter his head or face from the pelting rain that Aludi had now, rightfully ccalled 'violent.' He simply nodded and smiled as I passed as if nothing were abnormal.  Just after him down the road, we found 2 bulls battling it out head to head in the middle of our one car road...also seemingly unaware of the storm around them.

At one point, we came to a junction where both Aludi and his driver, Joseph, were unsure of which way to take. As we sat in the middle of the town trying to get Ngoya on the phone, I noticed people stood lined up against the wall under the awning of the market watching us. Besides the rain they hadnt seen in ages they were all getting something to talk about in yhe days to come. 😊

We moved on and after awhile down the road, Joseph stopped a boda-boda (a motorcycle taxi...name carried over from when taxis would carry people from the Ugandan border to the Kenyan border , border-border) carrying 2 passengers. In true Ugandan fashion, he said hello and how are you? Which was given the reply 'good!' even though they were all soaked and being pelted by the rain. He asked them if he wasm indeed, on the correct road to Matany and it was confirmed twice.

Later, the rain became so hard we could barely see and our road began to appear like a small patch of mud between 2 raging rivers...and we came  to yet another unknown fork in the road. This time, the town market was straight ahead and we could see people under the awning but it was past a raging river that had sprung up with the rains. After a few moments, Joseph decided to go ask the people for directions...but as we attempted to cross, the SUV ended up on a 40° angle face down. Joseph tried the 4-wheel drive to no avail and I was sure we were never going to get out of there!

Joseph jumped out of the SUV and submerged himself in the river as he felt under the vehicle a couple of young men came from their shelter to try to help. I imagined a dozen scenarios of what would happen next... Since it was wet out, Joseph had the A/C on freezing but I had prepared for hot weather since I was warned that this part of Uganda was very warm...I had shorts and a tank top on but had put a light jacket on...Freezing already, I feared also being soaking set.

Joseph continued to work in the water and another young man showed up. Two of them started to try to lift the vehicle but Joseph told them to hold on. He jumped back in the car and tried the 4-wheel drive again. To my amazement, we easily climbed out of the ditch and were on our way, with the correct direction of course. Apparently, there was a rock blocking the 4-wheel drive from working and, once it was removed, we could shift. If anyone's paying attention, a 2005 Toyota Land Cruiser is the best vehicle to buy if you plan to traverse rivers...

We seemed to be on the road forever when we stopped to ask a man if we were still on the road to Matany. Again, we had the pleasantries while he and his son sat in the rain. He advised us that we, indeed, were on the right road but, it would be another 72 kms. It was already near 4pm...and the rain wouldn't stop. We crosed rivers where roads had washed out and waded through water that had been creeping up to the center of our road.

After awhile, we turned towards the last 32 kms to Matany...but we were met with black mud and began to spin out. The 4-wheel drive was put back on and we inched our way to Matany. Every time Joseph got the speed near 40km/h, we'd begin to slide as the back tires started to become uncontrollable. Luckily, the closer to Matany we got the more the rain began to subside...and the roads became manageable. In fact, it began to look like the area didn't have any rain!

At about 4:30, I had written an email to Ngoya that he had better be there when we arrived because the roads were treacherous! As well, I said I needed to eat. He assured me he'd be there.

When we arrived by 5:30pm, I was actually a little woozy and nearly blue from the A/C. First thing I did was go change into my jeans. We sat down at a place and I devoured the matoke and meat, even the liver even though I prefer not to eat it. We chatted for about 25 minutes and were talking about leaving the  restaurant (a word I use in the most loose form as possible) when Ilearned we weren't planning to stay any longer than this! We had come all this way just to share a meal with Ngoya and be on our way to Kampala!  I was in shock.

We said our goodbyes and were on the road again by 6:30pm.  As we reached the 'main road' the rain picked up again but it didn't get as bad as in the hill country.

We got stuck behind a couple of trucks at one point because there was a heavy truck jn the ditch and someone thought it'd be a great idea to try to toe it with another truck. The muddy road was completely unforgiving...we turned on our 4-wheel drive and swiveled around on the side of the road bur still had to wait for the large truck to make a final decision before we could move. Once out of the waym I doubted that our Lnd Cruiser could get back into the middle because we were moving around so much but I was proven wrong once again, thank God.

I snoozed a bit but we went through Lira before reaching Kampdini where we finally said farewell to Joseph. I think it was between 9 & 10.  I tried to stay awake for my friend but I was knocking out. We didn't reach the Unik Hotel until 3am...I was happy to not have any plans for Saturday.

Posted by Peliroja 14:39 Archived in Uganda Comments (0)

Murchison Falls National Park

A Long Drive Before the Long Drive...but a Nice Break

sunny 29 °C
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Again, pictures ASAP...

I was ready to go this morning and waiting for Joseph's 9am pickup. He took me to change some money and we arrived at the office near 10. Aludi had to make sure everyone was paid before we left so we didn't get to take off after getting gas until around 11:30.

Beforewe left i received a confirmation of a meeting in Kampala...which I thought would be with Red Crescent. Unfortunately, when the woman wrote her confirmation, her email was signed with Red Cross Society. I was crushed. Chrissie had been under the impression that they worked side by side, and if you look online, there are many documents which discuss both together. What I hadn't realized that each country was assigned a different one. One country could only be Red Cross or Red Crescent. Knowing that there were Muslims in this country and not truly understanding the Red Cross/Red Crescent relationship, I was assumed I'd be able to find both offices here.

Much of the ride to the park, I was upset...wondering if my efforts to connect my students to Uganda were all for naught. The woman at Red Crescent gave me a contact in Al Rashidiya of all places. I laughed as it is so very close to where I live in Dubai but I saw a long road of work ahead for me...and still the possibility that it wouldn't work. I watched the villages and towns pass by where something as simple as closer access to water could provide safety to the many girls of all ages, some appearing to be 3 and 4, walking along this highway with jerry-cans on their heads...and thinking about how many structures we have in place to protect our students, even in Dubai. I knew there were people there who wanted to help but I know that I must be able to create a way to go through the Red Crescent or all this research would be for nothing...I must say that it put me in a grumpy mood for a good while.

It was beyond hot outside. I saw so much out there...we spent a good hour on a road that was under construction so we were often in a mass of red dust. We stopped in a town called Olwiyo where Aludi bought real snacks, including goat on a stick (shish kebab style)...we turned and were on the road to the park, still 7km to the gate. 

Entry for foreigners was 40USD. After filling the tank fo 192,500 (57USD) Ush, I was starting to question my budget to get me through to next Thursday. With the negativity built up in thinking about the future of trying to help, I almost wanted to say forget it...but I paid the 133,000 Ush and we were on our way. As soon as we were a couple of km inside, I was starting to feel the money was well spent. I saw antelope, baboons, and warthog right away. Later I saw elephants, giraffes and other animals which I can't be sure of the breed. I couldn't get the pictures of some of the gorgeous birds as they were too quick gut they had gorgeous blue and green in their wings.

Apparently we drove about 30km when we arrived at the Nile River. It was beautiful...it was still extremely hot, but we sat under a tree and snacked (real snacking.) There were 2 ways to Murchison Falls, by boat against the current for two hours then back in an hour and a half, or by car which required us to take the ferry across and drive an hour each way. Now in a more amenable mood, I wanted to go on the boat...but the guy said that they were all 30 USD/person-including locals! Since I still hadn't heard anything about my flight allowance, I figured that this was not the best way to go. I considered the ferry and decided we should go...then the wind picked up like crazy.

I watched as a whole SUV full of Chinese men climbed onto the Catamaran and one nearly lose his hat in the wind as it blew it 20 yards from him. I walked along the river from there and I was able to catch an elephant wandering along the Nile with his feet in the water and saw a family of hippos hanging out at the edge of the pier. As the clouds drew nearer and the wind stronger, I sat back down. Then the rain came...and hard!

While sitting in the car, I watched the water get rough and the men who played music for tourists huddle in their shelter as the rain whipped us all around.  I started to thank God I didn't get on the boat...and began imagining the Chinese men soaked with their technological gadgets...

After waiting for the ferry, I began to be conscious of time so I told Aludi we could go back to the resort we'd passed on the way to this pier where he wanted to have a drink. Inside, I entered a restaurant where a cappuccino cost 7500Ush...the same amount as my whole Ethiopian meal. The ambience of the place was nice and I chose a seat on the balcony closer to the railing-just far enough away as not to get wet. The view of the Nile was spectacular, the sound of the rain soothing and I sat back and thought how so many people could come to Uganda and think that this was what living here was like.

Since the buffet was more than the cost of my hotel, I passed and we went down to have that drink. I hadn't seen the bar Aludi had talked about when I entered because it was the poolside bar. The rain had just about stopped so I had a rum & Coke and we shared a "snack" plate of Fish N Chips.  It was plenty, really...and I was well aware that the Cuba Libre was probably going to cost me...I decided I no longer cared.

After a chat with the guys at the bar--all workers there, we began our journey back. We didn't need to use A/C anymore...it was beautiful. On our way back, we got pretty close to some rams and an elephant who wanted to come say hello but Aludi got us out of there quick.

I contemplated our long journey for the next day while I watched the gorgeous countryside and the laughing children making their way home down the highway from school...and later while they walked through the red dust storms created by passing cars...

Upon final arrival, my very merry and social friend begged off going out for snacks later as he was exhausted from driving all day...and was also worried about the full day of driving ahead.  Of course I was so worried about my friend as well...and, honestly happy to have the night to myself.

We agreed to meet before work at 8:15.

Posted by Peliroja 00:02 Archived in Uganda Tagged park falls national murchison Comments (0)

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