Sunday, July 10, 2011

East Africa Day 54 (Wed July 6): Back To Kampala

I was up at 5:45am, took a cold shower (this hardly phases me anymore) at Nikki’s house, and then we headed out with our bags to meet our boda drivers. We went into town to the post office, where we caught the Post Bus back to Kampala. Arrivaderci, Gulu! The bus ride was uneventful, minus our bus driver’s prayer before we started off, and the large, large dose of songs about Jesus on the TV screen hanging from the ceiling in the front of the bus. Given that we saw the same programs on the way up to Gulu, I still have these songs vibrating in my head. I made some progress on “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” though the volume of the music was slightly overpowering. Charlie, Annette and Nikki went one way when we got back to Kampala, and I went the other. They are headed directly to Jinja, to relax. I’m sticking around Kampala for a few days to meet up with Michele from Kiva and hopefully Sophia from AFRIpads, before heading back to Jinja to go white water rafting one more time, and then back to Nairobi.

I caught a boda to Backpackers hostel, which Charlie and Annette had recommended. It was lunch time when I arrived. I asked about local restaurants, and was introduced to a group of three guests who were about to head out to lunch. We walked up the street to a local joint, Maggie’s Bar, where I had the best beans and rice that I’ve had in Uganda thus far. Lousia is from Denmark, but has been working here one and off since 2005. Her background is in psychology, and she works with youth programming – sort of peer mentoring. Rich is a student in England, and is here doing research on LRA ex-soldier rehabilitation. He’s planning a trip to Gulu. He’s traveling with Mary, who is here for fun. Rich and Mary met while volunteering in Uganda at an orphanage, I think, a few years ago. She said that their group of volunteers from that summer occasionally get together in the UK.

After a leisurely lunch, and some advice about sights to see in Kampala, we headed back to the hostel. I was able to use the wireless until 7pm, to make some plans. I heard from Sophia, one of the co-founders of AFRIpads! She invited me to meet up for lunch on Saturday, in Kampala! I was going to go white wate rafting on Saturday – will have to push that back. So excited that I get to meet her! I’ve been an AFRIpads fan since I discovered them in Nov 2009. At 7pm, the hostel’s power went out. The hostel employees took out candles and set them up around the hostel. Apparently the power has been going out regularly in this part of town. Fortunately my cell phone has a built-in flashlight. At first that seemed odd, but now it’s THE ESSENTIAL item on the phone. That, and the calculator, which I often use to convert money from UGX to Dollars. I don’t trust my math skills:)

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