Don't Expect to Get Anywhere On Time. 😊
28.03.2016 - 28.03.2016 28 °C
My hotel, Unik Hotel, for 82,000 Ush/night (24.40 USD):
This morning I awoke to the sound of someone running water...but the sun shined bright and it was very out. I was the first one to the hotel breakfast and partook in a fried egg that was rolled up which is named Rolex. 😁
I learned this from the other western guy here, Tony from Bristol. He spent the next half hour telling me about his work and experiences here during the past five months...how he helped random people in the streets around the hotel. He has been so inspired to create businesses here so he can employ those he's encountered. At first I think he did it because he didn't realize my personal understanding of some of the situations people here must endure. They were nice anecdotes and it made me happy that someone could do this for people while stating that he truly didn't want anything in return.
I returned to prepare for the trip while waiting for Evalyne to come by. I am very grateful to have met her three children and lear ing about her work with Plan International. As a lawyer working for them, she has helped 300 women, from the Ugandan Program over the past five years, go to court and fight to get their land back from those who have taken it from them.
If my connection to the Red Crescent doesn't work out with Chrissie, she said she could help me.
Rose and Aludi showed up to pick me up and a small reunion occurred...apparently the two, although from very close to one another in Gulu, haven't seen each other since Aludi and Rose's wedding. Her littlest one took a strange liking to me so that he wouldn't let go...but we said our goodbyes and I hope to see her when I return to Kampala from Gulu.
We then went to Aludi and Rose's to meet the young twin toddlers while waiting for the work car to be fixed. Of course, it was supposed to take an hour...but that was three hours ago. We have had a beautiful rest on the couches with a gorgeous breeze dancing through the house. Eventually, an amazing rain storm came through but Rose and Aludi both missed most of it as they were both resting so soundly.
Now it's 3pm and we're getting ready to eat.
Dinner was delicious even though Madame (as Aludi calls his wife) felt she didn't make something good, the meal lasted me until late at night...I wasnt even hungry when we arrived at 8:30. More on that later.
Earlier in the day, Aludi realized that the car would need repair or it wouldn't make it to Gulu so they contacted a mechanic who picked up the car in the morning and was to have it done by "mid-day"...unfortunately somewhere around 2:30, the man stopped answering his phone...Aludi became distressed after some rest and we finally left to go retrieve it. When we arrived at the shop and, not only was the car not still "being aligned" (as he'd been saying since 2pm), but neither the car nor the mechanic was there...as we had begun to suspect for the past two hours.
Fortunately, he arrived shortly after we did and the work had been done, and well. We said our goodbyes to Madame Rose and headed on our way. We stopped at a shop and were officially on the road to Gulu by 5:30pm.
Along the way, I noticed that many of the trucks on the road were not only leaning dangerously to one side but some seemed miraculously to be headed in a straight path while looking like they were driving sideways! For the most part, nothing that I saw seemed completely shocking to me as most of it was very like many things one can find in Ecuador. I simply sat back and enjoyed the ride which felt comfortingly familiar. Four and a half hours to Gulu.
I was humored by one part of the ride...we were stuck behind a truck going slow and I noticed a hand waving from the top of the trailer door. I couldn't see anyone but then I noticed half of a pair of sunglasses in the crack of space between the two ill-closed trailer doors. I was laughing when fate laughed back...a bee had flown in and stung my underarm. Now my secret observer ended up with his own show. I said, "something is biting me" and i reached to shove it away. Apparently, what I thought was an unknown bug was actually the backend of a bee I had split in half. Aludi noticed that it was a bee and he agiley took the stinger out while I pulled out the triple-antibiotics I had considered not putting in such an easy to locate place and put it on. He worried about me, wondering if I would swell up and I assured him there'd be nothing to worry about...then I laughed at the insanity of having gotten all those vaccines and medications when, instead I got something incredibly common-a bee sting-which I'm usually good at avoiding in normal circumstances.
As sun set, I became aware that my roaming data I'd ordered finally became accessible. It blew my mind since I'd tried so hard to use the internet and data the whole time I was in Kampala to nearly no avail. I was able to get onto Facebook and leave some messages for family and friends. In the middle of nowhere in Uganda, I was communicating better than in the city.
We traveled at an average speed of 130km/h...apparently slower than Aludi is used to but, at night, there were so many people, bikes and motorcycles on the side of the road traveling from long distances that I was constantly was worried we'd hit someone.
On the road, my friend received a steady stream of phone calls. Work, friends in Gulu/Kampala, family and, later, those worried he was still on the road. I hadn't realized just how incredibly important this man was. Just as we got 2km outside of Gulu, we stopped at his friends' gathering. His arrival marked the opening of the "dance floor." I was given way more food than I could possibly eat after I was introduced to about 7 priests who had studied with him in seminary...before he chose to marry instead.
In the middle of a bit of land outside a small house, there was a "DJ booth" and large speakers. Everyone, as well as the priests, danced til late. Between observing this sight and being pulled to come dance, I sat inawe of the depth and breadth of the stars which revealed themselves in the sky and the energy with which this young Downs Syndrome man outdanced every person there.
Overwhelmed by exhaustion from the heat, fresh air from the drive up and taking it all in, I tried not to make Aludi feel he had to leave. However, by 11pm, I was checked into Nok International Hotel just inside the town from the party. I was out before midnight. Aludi said I'd be picked up by 9...it was extremely warm and I was on the 3rd floor without a fan or a way to bring the air inside. I got cool water on my head and had no problem sleeping. ☺