Back to the city of Kampala

Sunday 9th August

 

My last entry was about a sleepy lion. They are not unique in having a daytime doze – here is a picture of some warthogs round the restaurant door at lunch time. I guess they feel safe from being eaten by tourists – local people might not be quite so fussy.IMGP4660

We have said our goodbyes to the team and our numbers are reduced from 15 to 3 again. Yesterday we drove down from the Murchison Falls National Park towards Kampala. For two and a half hours we were, in the words of one volunteer, “in a tumble dryer” bouncing along on rough roads, avoiding road wash-outs, fallen trees and baboons.

The baboons set up road blocks – this seems unlikely but it is true – they line up across the road and expect tourists to stop for them. They then launch an attack on the vehicle windows, hoping to grab some food.

Alex, our patient and highly experienced Ugandan driver just keeps on going. The road block then turns into a game of chicken when the last baboon to get out of the way wins.

We took the team to Kampala’s central craft market for some souvenir buying and then to Whitecrest Guest House. Supper visitors included a rat in the dining room which caused some amusement. (To some, but not all!)

On the way to the airport we stopped at a café on the shore of Lake Victoria. For all practical purposes, it is a sea. The second largest lake in the world and the biggest in Africa. As we ate our lunch, there seemed to be a dust storm on the horizon. We did not stop to ponder how dust storms form over water but watched it leisurely coming ashore a mile or so away. Then it changed course. Then we realised it was a vast swarm of midges; then we realised that dust storms do not form over water!IMGP4669

There must have been billions of them. We ran to the bus and shut the windows. My guess is that it was a mating swarm but we did not stop to find out. Needless to say, in an old bus some of them found their way inside. They made the air change colour – for a while the bus was in a brown mist.

One advantage of being back in the city is that there are many more entries in the funny signs competition. As today is Sunday here are few entries in the Christian business category:

“Sufficiency Scripture Enterprises; “Divine Vet – Blessed Assurance animal medication” “Our food is ordered by the blood of Jesus” but the winner today (which, I fear, is nothing but a misprint) is the one near the Fish market “Jesus is Cod”

I realise that these might seem offensive to some in the UK but it is quite OK here. Christianity is an integral part of society and it was the explorer David Livingstone who encouraged Christianity and commerce. Were he around today I think he would be pleased. The signs are never intentionally disrespectful and attaching a Christian label to your business gives it respectability. You may also expect to be dealt fairly by the proprietor, who hopes his business sign will encourage Christian customers to buy from him.

We went to church his morning. It was a large permanent marquee with about 500 people, a band with guitars, drums & keyboards line up, multimedia screen presentations and speakers / pastors who would have good second careers as stand-up comedians. The service was in English, the music was western and pounding and the atmosphere was exciting. They are very active in the community. Have a look at Watotochurch.com to get a flavour of what they do.

Afterwards, we discussed whether we had been to a performance or a church service – either way it was great.

Tomorrow we head south towards Rukingiri, Mission Direct’s second project town in Uganda. We are just going for a look – not to work – but it will take another day’s travelling to get there. In the process we will cross the Equator. I have done this many times by air but his will be my first land crossing. I gather there are certain traditional customs involved – oh dear !

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