Saturday, August 6, 2005

Quite an Adventure Today!

We had some more errands to do, so Debby and I headed back out to Kampala today. I also hoped to maybe get some better pictures because I was unhappy with the final showing from yesterday. 

I didn't feel like the pictures I'd taken were at all indicative of Kampala. Also, an antiquities shop in town had new primate prints in it, and Debby and I were eager to go peep at them. 

So, among other things, another trip to Kampala was in order. 

We headed off later today, because it was Saturday and it's only right to loll around during the morning on Saturday. 

We took the landcruiser this time, seeing as one of our tasks was to pick up a new freezer for all of our various freezables and it was large and needed the big back. Previously, we'd had 3 mini fridges, but considering that we buy dogfood frozen, and have lots of medical supplies (drugs, etc) that need to be frozen as well, it was really appropriate to have a dedicated freezer because those mini fridge freezers are teeny tiny.

We'd had no room to put our own freezables!

Anyway, so the landcruiser was having issues with changing gears, and we'd driven about 25 miles (we were about 10 miles from Kampala) when smoke started emitting from the front hood. The temperature gauge hadn't actually raised, but it did indeed seem to have overheated. So, the car stopped working on the MAIN road into Kampala. Cars were honking at us, and whizzing by at breakneck speed.

I finally found an opening to get the door ajar, and asked some guys to help us push the car to the side of the road. Debby was convinced that they'd ask for money or something, but you know me -- I can sell snow to eskimos :P

So, the car was by the side of the road! Little children of course thought it was very funny to see two wuzungu stranded like that... of course they stood around, giggling and pointing.

We called Richard and asked him to come and bring some jerry cans full of water to cool down the car, but Debby thought that maybe the engine was seized or somehow damaged from overheating. 

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Richard came and we exchanged cars. He stayed with the Land Cruiser, and we headed off.

So many errands! So little time! Always behind!

We managed to get most everything done, except popping in to see the Primate Prints. Cry, cry.

Richard had called a tow truck at noon to bring the car back to Entebbe, and had taken a matatu back.

By the time we'd gotten everything done, we'd been out for hours.

Imagine our surprise, when, on the road back to Entebbe, but closer to Kampala than we'd broken down, we drive past our CAR. Being towed, and in the entirely wrong area that it shouldbe.

Well, actually, by this point, it should be at home. 

I think it's quite funny, but Debby is finding it quite suspect. That the car was towed into Kampala...i.e. in the opposite direction of Entebbe, before they started bringing it home. She figured they probably stripped parts from it or something. She pulled over and waited for the tow truck to pass us, but after 20 minutes, it still hadn't.

Concerned, we turned around to look for it. Finally, we saw them pulling it, slowly, along the highway.

We turned around again, and drove to catch up to them (they were driving pretty slowly). But by the time we reached them, they were pulled over to the side of the road.

Totally suspicious by this point, we pulled over. It looked like they were unhitching the car from the tow truck. As the tow truck pulled off, Debby got out and tried to figure out what the heck was going on!

It seemed that they were going to Entebbe, but "running other errands" first. If one of them included siphoning off our newly full tank of gas, I guess I won't know. But whatever it was, it was sketch.

We, however, continued on our way. Finally getting home, and bringing Annie the donuts and pizza that she so desperately needed to finish analyzing the sample slides for her thesis-y type paper, I realized what an exhausting day it had been!

Between driving everywhere to finish our errands, getting in and out of the car, sitting and waiting in the hot hot sun... 


Tonight we'd been thinking of heading into Kampala - Gerald, the Assistant Sanctuary Manager, Isaac, the Education Director, Terry, Ben (the guy who was here last week) and um, Joanna, our longstay visitor. We were gonna start at the Lake Vic, which I'll probably still do, but woooo, I dunno about partying in Kampala.

Maybe if I take a NAP first! 

Speaking of which, I'm gonna go do that!

If people would be so kind to go and look at the new pictures I uploaded :P (heh) ... I'm hoping they'll give people a better sense of Kampala, and, maybe, Africa! Again, I've written lots of comments too! Enjoy! 

Friday, August 5, 2005

Far Far Away

This song made me think of this particular person, who I haven't heard back from recently (okay, fine, two days. I'm impatient.)

And I was like "Wow. I wonder if I'm ever going to hear from ____ again.

The thought of losing someone in my life, who clearly, to me, matters, is really, really sad.

I realized suddenly the things I might be giving up to come here, and do all this. The sacrifices you make.

Of course, the argument stands to be made as well that I'm being entirely premature. And spazmatic. Like usual. 

And also, that if they don't write back, that they're not much of a friend anyway. 

Or, conversely, hate email.

In the span of a year, though, it's bound to happen. And that just is making me a little melancholy.


I just came back from walking to the post office with Terry.

Now, even though I opened my box about 2 weeks ago, my key still isn't ready. Wanna know why?

Because they had to order it from Nairobi(Kenya)

Now, aren't there key makers in Uganda? In any of Uganda? Eek!

Plus, I had no mail. Boo hiss. Cry, even.

But, sitting here in my room, I have really the most perfect crossbreeze. And sun.

Am so happy. Are people enjoying the pictures/video?


I've finally got some fun stuff for people to peek at on the site right now:

Some photos still haven't quite uploaded, especially ones of me and Leo (the smallest puppy who just found a home yesterday).

But, surprisingly, the .movs are nearly done.

So, without further ado: 

Chronicles of my Second Week in Africa



Wash With Caution

I'm relaying this story knowing that, after telling it, no one is ever going to visit me here ;)

Annie was in DRC with Debby last week, in Bukavu. They did a little bit of wash while they were there, and Annie hung up her pants outside on the deck for a few hours to dry.

About 3 days ago, she had a horrible mosquito bite on her abdomen. It was super itchy, and pretty big. She thought she'd over-itched it in her sleep, because a day went by and it was getting bigger, and redder and it hurt a little. She thought it might be infected.

Yesterday, it continued to grow. I offered some antibacterial stuff to put on it, but she thought it was probably healing.

Last night, she thought it looked a little pussy, so she squeezed it an a big tube of pus came out. 

She looked at it by candlelight on her finger, and realized...

... it was wriggling.

She ran into Debby, who nonchalantly said "Oh, it's a mango fly maggot."


Apparently, mango flies are prevalent in the DRC, but not so at all here (thank god)

They love wet clothes, and they lay their eggs. The eggs come alive when they come in contact with warmth (i.e. human flesh) and they burrow into the warmth and gestate. 

Once they're ready, they emerge from your skin. Annie was lucky to have squeezed one out prematurely.

I personally thought it was sort of cool. But I can only imagine the comments I'll get after my first bug post!

Will it ever grow old?

Will I ever get tired of the lush greenness, contrasted by the rich, orange soil? I'm still trying to process everything I saw today. It's all just a jumble in my head, but I sat in the front seat on the way back, my eyes open despite the dust of the road, just amazed with everything I was seeing.

I can't imagine how I lived my life for so long without experiencing other cultures that are so diverse from our own. Or the things we take for granted.

For example, in Garden City, we were intercepted by an enormous group of schoolchildren who were... get this... riding an escalator for their very first time. They were teaching them proper escalator technique, and safety procedures. They all queued up at the entrance of the escalator, while it was turned off. A security guard lectured them while they waited, giddy in their tiny red and white uniforms and knee socks.

Finally, they turned on the escalator, and they rode up. They were exuberant. But, of course, very safe.

It was amazing to watch.

We had an enormous list of things to do in Kampala, and we had to be back by around one, so we left the house around 7 am this morning. I'm still not used to riding on the left or driving on the lefthand side of the road, but it's the least of anyone's problems because people drive like lunatics.

Kampala's traffic is probably some of the worst in the world as well. So many traffic circles, and bodabodas weaving between cars, and people crossing the streets willy nilly.

The drive to Kampala was absolutely beautiful, because the sun was just coming up and it was shining over the green hills. There was a moment where we came over the crest of a hill, and all I could see for miles was rolling greenness, and I think I probably had my mouth open, gasping, because Debby looked over and was like "it's really something, isn't it?"

We had breakfast at this place pretty early, and watched some news. I also finally got some money from the ATM. Thank goodness.

I thankfully found a grocery store that sold feminine products that weren't made by o.b., which, otherwise, is all you're going to find in Africa.

Oh! There was a man on a bicycle that was a payphone! It was quite funny!

I took lots of pictures to try to give people a sense of what Kampala looks like. Or East African cities, for that matter.

Overall, it was just an exquisite morning. I sort of hoped that I'd be able to illustrate it verbally better.

The big feeling was like you are part of this living, breathing, community. This enormous mass of life. Everything busy. Everything alive. The area around the people is alive too. It grows past their borders, and isn't contained or controlled. Everyone is moving and working.


Maybe I'll have further illuminations once it's processed in my brain a little better.


    The power came back on last night around 8:30, minus the internet, but I had to wake up early (as its now 6:30 am) to get to Kampala before the traffic hit with Annie and Debby.

    So, I wish I could write about yesterday and last night, but it'll just have to wait until later!