Another Long Journey, To Fort Portal I Go
03.04.2016 - 03.04.2016 23 °C
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.