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Reaching the hills of Ishaka

Funding: 6 USD John Thorsson (Because you do som many good things!! /John T); 10 USD Peter Niklasson (Happy new year!); 102 USD Emma Norén; 51 USD Camilla Rockström; 51 USD Lykke Johansson (for the kids); 23 USD David Sjölund; 17 USD Therese Löf; 102 USD Per-Henrik Branzell (Keep it up RT-Brother!)

The landscape has been getting more hilly these last two days before some well deserved days of rest in Ishaka.

It is more cloudy and in the evening it rains a good deal. We cycle all day and put around 60 km behind us. This leaves us with about 90 km to reach Ishaka the next day. Very misfortunate Christian hits a deceiving bump with his bike, and his phone falls out from the bicycle basket and brakes. So now we only have one smartphone again. At sunset we have a terribly bad tasting meal of the usual beans, matoke(banana mash), rice and thankfully we get some tomatoes on the side. We are fine and well but decide to stay for the night even if we feel eager to continue a bit further. So two of us camp in the yard of the police station while one of us sleeps in a very spartan guesthouse, next to a bar. Also this room has unused condoms laying around. We have a couple of cozy hours together of blogging and facebook before going to bed. We can hear the cheers of an ongoing football game in the bar. It would be difficult to squeeze in more people in the place. People are standing packed outside the bar, 10 m away from the normal sized tv, trying to follow the game.

We are now pretty high up in the hills of western Uganda. We climb even higher with the bikes the next day and the views are beautiful.

We walk up the steep slopes and roll down the valley on the other sides. Sadly, sometimes the road is a bit rough for our bicycles. So even more spokes brake, two in one wheel this time, before we notice.

We have to walk to the next village since we are out of spare spokes. It is late afternoon still we have about 30 km left before we reach Ishaka. We try to get new spokes but they don’t have the right size. We can’t find a ride either. It looks like we are going to have to look for accommodation for the night and travel the last bit to Ishaka in the morning instead. But, Fredrik gets a chapati with a melted twix chocolate bar and finds new energy. The goal for the day is already set. The administrator of Luise at the hospital is already preparing food for us. So no time to lose. Fredrik starts running next to the uncycleable (yep it’s a word. I just made it up /Christian) bicycle and it is fun because the locals cheer even more when they see a crazy mzungu running like this. Soon a motorbike passes with two big smiles. So Fredrik asks if he can get some help. Soon he only runs up the hills but on the flat and down he sits on the motorbike and just holds his hands out to have the bicycle rolling by his side.

It is all fun and even speeds up Christian and Luise’s pace. All is good until the motor runs out of gas. But then we are just nearby the main tarmac road which is flat and very good. So we decide to ride anyway carefully and leaning forward to make the load less for the back wheel. There is 20 km left and 30 min to sunset.

We speed up the hills. Dark Clouds are rolling in and a drizzle comes as the sun is setting. We prepare the packing a little in the rain to prevent from water getting to the electronics, and we put on reflective vests, lights and raincoats. We only have two raincoats, so Fredrik goes without one. The map, which is in the smartphone, is already tucked away in the pocket of the raincoat. It can’t be far left now. And in comes the rain, thunder and lightning.

Now it is pouring down. Fredrik is soaked and all of the gear that is not protected is wet. The inside of bags, our shorts and our shoes are wet. It feels like wearing filled water balloons. A flash and we count 1, 2, 3, thunder. It wont hit us yet. Thankfully we have lights on the bicycles. It is equator night dark and with the heavy rain you don’t see much. Cars pass us slowly but most of them have stopped in the villages.

1,2, thunder. Getting closer. We continue and finally Luise shouts that she recognises the area. We go up the last hills of the village. Fredrik is getting cold. Luise gets the brilliant Idea to go shopping for some necessary breakfast (and cookies) in the supermarket. So Fredrik has to do some 60 push ups to keep the heat up while Christian happily cheers him on. Then finally we do the last short bit and push the bikes up a long, steep dirt road within to the hospital grounds. The rain stops. We soon come inside, get some doctors gowns on and goes for an excellent supper at Lydia’s (the administrator of the hospital) house. She is happily greeting us.

We each get our own room in the guest house and it is great. This is clean and we also have one of the staff shopping for us every morning and she is also supposed to cook and do dishes, but that we do that ourselves. It feels too odd for us all to have too much help. We also love to make some more food of our own.

We take the first day of. Just installing ourselves and resting, using the washing machine, shower in hot water, cooking. The location is great. On top of the hill and it is so beautiful with all distant hills around.

Tomorrow we go to work in the hospital with Luise, also known as a midwife abroad.

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