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A lost phone and a dead brother

Lesson learned; losing a phone is a very trivial thing.

As mentioned earlier, my phone took a bath in the Nile, and wasn’t the same after that. So after some days of searching for a new phone, we found one. We also got around to fixing the bicycle back wheel that was broken. We enjoy staying at a backpackers hostel in the capital of Uganda, Kampala. It is nice to meet some other people for more than one day. Fredrik has tried to fix his phone but it was a terrible experience. We went river rafting and Fredrik brought the phone in a ”waterproof pocket”. Bad idea…but then again, most ideas are good until proved differently. So the phone got wet. We put it in a bag of rice for two days before reaching the bigger city Kampala. There he went to an Indian shop. The guy screwed open the phone and maybe he just did not understand better but he got really brutal when removing the battery. He accidently poked a hole in the battery so smoke and some small sparks came out… So he did not want to continue.

I later saw that he did some permanent marks on the phone. This was not the guy I wanted help from. So I get another tip of another guy. This guy cleans the rest, not as brutally but manage to remove a part of some golden things, which is not the way the gadget is supposed to be. He tells me everything but the screen works and wants to sell me a chinese screen for 120 USD. I say no and go to another place for a apple screen.

This guy uses two hours on his own and says it’s not the screen it is something else. He wants 50 USD to change the used chip. I am tired of this and I have a bad feeling about this last guy, the actual phone is not working after his job… So I give up and then, out of the blue, I find an authorised apple shop by chance. This place says the phone may work but he recommends that I get a new phone. Finally the phone is not working and since I had an old backup I lost about 3000 pictures. :(

But I buy a new phone, after all I am a rich mzungu and for me it is only money… I also almost got pick pocketed while waiting for the second smart-phone guy. I stand and watch my phone getting cleaned and suddenly I feel a stroke on my left pant pocket. I react fast and see a shadow move to my left. I look at the guy and loudly ask, what did you do?! He stands stills and looks blankly in another direction. He is frozen for a couple of seconds and then turns to me, holds his empty hands up and smile. Luckily he didn’t get anything. Leaving the last place, I got some perspective on my frustrating day. The Boda Boda (motorcycle) driver was unusually quiet when we left. Pretty soon he says; “can we talk”. I immediately wonder if we forgot to agree on the price or what was going on? No, that’s ok, he says.

He moves on to say that his brother is dead. He too was a Boda Boda driver. He died this morning. A car hit him and now he was dead.

My driver said that now he needs money to be able to travel home for Christmas and the funeral. It was an inconsistent story that took me some time to figure out, but he was crying when we stopped and I bought him a soda. We sat there talking for a while. He mostly hid his head in his hands and I could see the tears running.

What else could I do but give him a loan so that he could attend his brother’s funeral? I gave him the 30 USD he needed for the bus ride home, and he promised to pay me back via our fund. I believe him. We see traces of accidents and hear about people getting killed in traffic almost every day.

From now on, we will be even more careful on the road. In addition we also bought rear view mirrors for our bikes, to up the safety.

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