Uganda 2013 Day 11 – Problems bring opportunities, and some sad goodbyes

After the madness of Saturday we were expecting a quieter Sunday. I was certainly hoping for one as I was about three days behind with my blogs and I also wanted to upload the mass of photos I had taken using the Safari Lodge’s wifi. The idea was to have breakfast, stroll around Mweya with Yowasi, Ramathan and Linda (who had been looking after Larry the Leopard and helping him with his identity crisis) and then drop them home at around lunchtime. Stu and Steve had gone on boat patrol with some rangers for the morning. I would’ve like to do this, but wasn’t too disappointed as they would not be patrolling near the Congolese border where all the excitement was happening.

It was a beautiful morning and, after a very nice breakfast (Spanish omelette and sausages), we went for a bit of a stroll (I say a stroll, I went for a bit of a limp as the previous night’s dancing had played havoc with my knees) until Stu and Steve returned having had an excellent morning. Stu and I then jumped into the Sauna Wagon with Yowasi, Linda, Ramathan, Jane (a Ugandan penfriend of Amy’s who had attended the party the previous evening) and a couple of rangers who needed dropping off at various points. We got as far as Katunguru when the sauna wagon stalled for the first time. A bit of pushing got it going again. It stalled twice more on the main road into the hills; both times Stu used the momentum of the vehicle to restart it. However, about a quarter of a mile from Yowasi’s house it stalled again and no amount of pushing would restart it. Stu also noticed a gurgling and after lifting the seats in the van discovered the radiator was steaming hot. We left it for fifteen minutes before Stu decided to take the cap off. Big mistake! A jet of filthy boiling water covered the vehicle. Fortunately all of us were outside except for Stu and I’ve never seen him move as quickly as he did that moment.

Regular readers of the blog will know that over the last two years Stu and myself have normally dissolved into hysterical laughter at our transport misfortunes, but this was the first time that we were both really annoyed. Yowasi (bless him) offered to stay with us, but we made him go home as it was a) his wife’s birthday and b) it wasn’t fair to keep Linda by the side of the road for several hours. We rang the mechanic who informed us that he would be with us in a couple of hours. Stu and I therefore sat in the bus and waited.

Within ten minutes Yowasi had arrived back to keep us company and refused to go home again until he knew that we were on the move again (Sorry for ruining your birthday Ruth!). As it was so hot we decided to get some drinks, so Yowasi got hold of a boda boda (small motorbike) and took me up to the local shops to get some sodas. This was a fun experience. People in Uganda use boda bodas for all sorts of jobs; you wouldn’t believe some of the things we’ve seen the bikes carry.

Yowasi and I had plenty of time to chat about our expectations for the Kafuro/Liss blog over the next year and a couple of projects we’d like to pursue. Stu, meanwhile, was practising his Swahili on the locals; Yowasi had taught him how to say ‘hello’ (Agandi) and he was determined to say it to everyone he saw. Some reacted with utter bemusement, others were extremely friendly and courteous. Stu then saw a girl carrying a package on her head and asked Yowasi if we could have a go. Yowasi got the girl to stop and persuaded her to let us have a go. Stu had a go first and couldn’t get it to balance for more than a second. It was my go next. The package was full of charcoal and weighed a ton. I managed to balance it on my head, but as soon as I moved it began to slip off. Yowasi only fared slightly better. We thanked the girl and gave her back the package. She smiled, put it back on her head and strolled off without a care in the world. Amazing!

The mechanic eventually arrived and we said our goodbyes to Yowasi. After some fiddling and healthy additions of oil and water we were on our way again. The mechanic, Robert told Stu to drive and so he did. After twenty minutes I asked him why we were driving to the Congo. Stu said he didn’t know so we turned around and drove home. We got back at 8.00pm. Some might say it was an afternoon wasted, but we did experience some new things, so we will take the positives from it.

Our last meal at Tembo was a joyous and yet also a sad occasion. Patrick the owner, Clare and Jacqui the waitresses and Joshua the chef have become almost like family to us all. As a group we had some circle time where we shared our memories of the fortnight and Karen showed Joshua how to bake an English style sponge cake. We all sat down to share it; it was absolutely delicious.

We finally departed with lots of fond farewells and hugs, and went back to Hippo House to pack. Monday would be the long drive back to Entebbe.

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One Response to Uganda 2013 Day 11 – Problems bring opportunities, and some sad goodbyes

  1. Anton Lang says:

    Excellent blogs, just caught up on the ones I’d missed. Great trip, great country bag. Hope you arrived home safe and tanned. Probably best if you lost a stone or three.

    Stay lucky,

    Anton

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