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On the roads of Uganda 1/2

December 30, 2016

We wake up at 5 am. 

 

We load the bicycles and have a great day of riding. It is beneficial to start early. Using the cool morning and also having some distance done early in the day. 

We go on the big tarmac road with smoking trucks. 

We take our time to visit Sina,

a place for Ugandan children and people to go for free education, payed and founded by a german organization. The education is in stages. Some kids here come from the streets or orphanages and the first stage is unlearning unbenefitial behavior. There are stages of self confidence and creating your own project according to your talents and develop it to your future source of income. 

 

One of the projects which has now formed to a small business is making houses from recycled plastic botles. 

We are slow, beeing three is more fun but also means more stops. So to be able to ride longer we look for room late and actually ride the last hour in the dark. It is exciting and beautiful with the taillights of cars and headlights lighting up silhouettes of trees like scenography in a theatrical stage. 

 

We have fun and it is also a bit of anxiousness mixed with good hope of where to sleep this night. So we take on a small trail to ask for shelter with some family. A guy on a motorcycle is very friendly and tell us there is no problem and we can definatly stay with the village chairman. So we follow him on the dark small dirt road in between houses. Still it is light enough for kids to recognise us as mzungus, so the they shout like always and run after us. So after about 10 minutes of riding in to the forest, we stop by the chairman’s house. We are invited in and take our shoes off, and walk in to the garage like living room with only one sparsely glowing white light (have we come to a mafia boss or the village chairman?). But we are greeted only to be informed that this is not where we should stay. We should go back to the main road and continue to the next village. Thanks for being helpful…but wrong timing.

 

So we make our way back in the dark. Now rumours have gone and we have about 20 kids running barefoot after us screaming, good this is not a zombie movie, then we would be really scared. Now we either accept or get annoyed.

So we finally reach the town. A striplike town, trucks parked on the side of the road and then one or two rows of houses by the road, mainly small shops with poor variation of what you can get.

So we find the ”lodge” we have been informed about from the chairman in the forest. This is not the usual hostel. It has loud music and colorful lights, a bar and some girls with makeup and tight pants, which is not common here in Uganda. We soon discover the cheap rooms with red lights to be more than a place to sleep. In all corners of the beds we find unused condoms, a deck of cards is spread out under the bed and there we also find a full box of latex gloves…feels great to lay down in these sheets…Anyway we pay 2 USD per room and sleep good even if the music continues until after midnight.

We are on the bicycles by 7 am. Today we decide to ride the smaller roads. This is so beautiful and since the map only has two sizes of roads to show, it takes us in these tiny tracks only for bicycles sometimes and other times it leads us on the more wide, bumpy and very dusty dirt roads. The scenery is great and for the coming days we go through low forests, 

 

more of savanna with trees every 50 m and just as many 2 m high piles of dirt made from hard working ants. Not so many animals, we expect to see lions, which would fit great into the picture, since it is really reminding of the discovery channel programs, but we only see cows. We go slow about 10 km/h and this gives us time to talk. Sadly our new bicycles give after and we lose one or two spokes in our back wheels daily, also slowing us down. 

 

So we can not expect to go more than about 50 km per day.

The second night after leaving Kampala we ask to stay with a family in their very traditional round clay huts. We are very excited about this. This is so cool. The family is one old man, two older daughters in their late 20’s and five young kids. There are two huts with a diameter of about 4 m. 

 

The one inner wall is decorated in a couple of big very tribal and african looking paintings in colors of black, white and African soil red against the beige clay wall. The ceiling structure is visible and above that, the straw roof. They have two of these huts and a smaller one for cooking. You take your shoes off before entering and it is a tramped smooth dirt floor with some blankets or straw mats covering most parts of it. We (Luise and Fredrik) get some food from the village while Christian is putting up the tent and entertaining the family and half of the village with harmonica and singing. Not many of them know any english, so there is a lot of improvising and body language going on, and it seems to be working, because everyone is happy with seeing the mzungu clown Christian putting up the tent.

Meanwhile, in town, there is little food to buy that doesn’t need preparation of cooking. So we buy the family some flour and some cake like sweet buns and tomatoes.

While we bought the food, Christian is being brought first to the village chairman (this is starting to look like a pattern) only to find out he isn’t at home. Therefore he is taken to the police station where it is decided, after speaking to the senior police officer, that it is not safe enough to sleep with the family just outside of the village, and much better that we stay inside the police station. To be frank, the police officer may have been a bit overprotective, but I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry. We are well taken care of and we get water and even mattresses to sleep on.

In the morning we change spokes on both bicycles - the back wheels on our old lady style bicycles are not doing great on the bumpy roads - Then we are off. 

 

It is a beautiful ride. We soon reach a road block consisting of 260 Ankole-Watusi cows, apparently belonging to the president of Uganda. These cows are beautiful creatures crowned with fantastic horns, this species can have up to 2,4 meters between the tips of the horns.

 

As the cows block the road, we have to pass right through the hoard. It is a bit exciting and scary wondering if one of them carelessly is gonna spike us on it’s horn, but they are very calm and seem used to vehicles passing (a Boda boda comes just after us, and honks it’s way through the cows without problems).

 

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