Jinja Part Three

I am still here in Kinshasa and have the chance to make a post or two that didn’t make online yet due to the lack of computer.

After evacuating Goma over a month ago, a few of us were sitting in limbo in Entebbe not knowing what was going to happen next.  There were three of us at the house in Entebbe.  Paddy was on the way back from R&R at Victoria Falls and Josh was on the way back from Nairobi.  Amy and Big Dave had gone across the border into Rwanda instead of coming to Uganda.  That left me with Cos and Little Dave at the house.  I was ready to get out of the house and was glad that Josh and Paddy would be back in a day or so.  

When they got to Entebbe, we went out and ate some great Indian food at 4 points.  Paddy and I could hear the Class 5 rapids calling us so the next day, the three of us boarded a series of busses and made our way out to Jinja.  When we stopped in Kampala, we went to a store to buy a few things.  Paddy had promised to bring a soccer ball to a boy that lived near the rafting campsite so he found one at the store for the equivalent of a few dollars.  I bought some water and snacks to eat on bus ride that could take anywhere from an hour and a half to five hours.  

The bus dropped us off about five miles from the campsite.  It was a nice day so we decided to walk.  The soccer ball made us very popular with every kid that lived anywhere near the road.  The whole way we were entertained by a chorus of kids that all chanted some variation of , “Mzungu, give me the ball,” or  “Mzungu, that is my ball,” or “Mzungu, give me my ball.”  A few of the kids would greet us with the standard, “Hi, how are you,” which is then repeated by every kid in the group.  That greeting was still always followed by the, “give me the ball,” which we had started to loathe.  We were starting to regret that we had decided to walk instead of hiring a few boda-bodas.  

We made it to the campsite long before sunset and ate dinner on the deck  looking down on the Nile.  After sunset it was time to watch the day’s rafting video which they show on a makeshift screen.  They show the video every night to let people know what they are getting themselves into.  Paddy and I were getting excited for the next day but Josh seemed to be getting a bit quiet as rafts were flipping and people were indiscriminately flung into the angry river.  I know I didn’t really know what I was in for the first time I went rafting there until I saw the video.  

The next morning we piled in the back of the truck to go eat breakfast and meet up with the other rafters that would be braving the river that day.  It turned out that there were to be seven rafters which wasn’t a good thing.  It meant that we would all pile in one raft.  It’s too bad there wasn’t one more person, which would have required a second raft.  Oh well, it was still a lot of fun even if a few in the raft seemed to be doing little more than slapping at the water.  

Every afternoon we checked in to see if we were planning to leave any time soon and were told that there was no news.  The last night I get a call (I was the only one of us that had a phone) saying that Josh was to go back to Congo, that I was to take a Caravan to Nairobi when it was ready and to “standby on Paddy”.  Josh left for Entebbe that night and Paddy and I left the next morning.  

In the morning we went into Jinja town on a mission to find a t-shirt that we had seen around.  It had the sentence on it saying “My name is not Mzungu”.  We started walking towards town which we figured would be better than the way in as Paddy had managed to find the boy and give him the soccer ball.  Mzungus that choose to walk always seem to astonish the boda-boda drivers.  A mile or so down the road, we started to get hot.  I flagged down a Matatu (mini-bus taxi) that was heading our direction.  When it stopped, I could see that it was completely full.  We piled in with our packs filling the last two voids (not seats) remaining and headed into town.  We had to visit a dozen or so shops in town before we finally found the shirts.  The shop that we finally found sold almost nothing but those t-shirts.  I guess it was some sort of specialty boutique.

Armed with our new t-shirts, we set out to find the bus to Kampala.  When we made our way to the waiting bus, I saw that it was almost completely empty.  Ordinarily, this might have been seen as a good thing, but when rather than operating on some sort of schedule, the bus instead leaves only when it’s full, it’s not so desirable.  I tried to help convince more people to get on the bus so we could leave, but was only marginally successful.  Maybe I should have offered candy.  After about 45 minutes or so, all 40 seats were full and the bus headed for Kampala.  On the way to the main taxi-bus depot we saw that most of the street vendors were selling pictures of Obama.  

Back in Entebbe we go to eat at 4 Points where we have become regulars.  I would be in Entebbe for another couple of days since Kenya was still celebrating a national holiday commemorating the fact that a half-Kenyan had been elected president back in the States.

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2 Responses to “Jinja Part Three”

  1. Matthew Says:

    Don’t forget the dashiki!

  2. mormor Says:

    Hej, Patrick, just sent you an email…..now I see you on the net!!! Anyway, sounds like the waiting around is the thing there. Hope they still pay you!!!! mormor

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