The long, winding road to Bududa

I am here in Bududa – safe, sound and happy to be back.  My journey was uneventful. I felt blessed to have two seats to myself on the first leg of the journey from Washington, D.C., then on to Kigale, Rwanda. Finally, Entebbe. I sat beside a British Mercy Corps worker, focused on agriculture, who was traveling North where the Karamajong people live.

I was met at the airport by the familiar, sweet chauffeur who always comes to the airport to meet me.  It is always a pleasure to see the same folks each time I come. I know many of the staff at the Boma from years of selecting this as my favorite hotel ever in Uganda.
Sleep seems to be elusive. Sometimes I think it is that life in Africa seems to be so stimulating in its contrast to home. It smacked me with a greater punch this time than in the past.  Two days previously, I had driven from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. on nothing but freeways, toll roads, beltways and airport corridors. The miles-per-hour we averaged was a minimum of 50 miles-per-hour. This was not so in Uganda.

Not once in Philadelphia or D.C. were we on a road where I ever saw a human being walking anywhere near the road. It is sort of de-humanizing and cold to realize this fact. As I journeyed on my nine-hour travel to Bududa from Entebbe by car with my favorite taxi driver, Rashid, and Robert, our headmaster, I was struck by this.

One journey is hardly recognizable from the other.  We set off from Entebbe and crawled on a two-lane road to Kampala with men, women, and children. Then, goats, cows and chickens made their way across. They were always lining the route on both sides of the road.

Our average speed may have been 20 miles-per-hour but probably even less!  I witnessed one middle-aged man hustling across our lane to the median where there was a barrier across the road. He was carrying two jerry cans of water to the median, resting before the attempted crossing to the other lane of traffic. Then there are the constant waves of hawkers, selling everything from airtime to newspapers, and all manner of gadgets.  There is so much going on, and everywhere you gaze there is a story to be told – a mother in a frilly apron takes her children to school while a man wheels new tires across the road.

Kampala is always on a whole other level of intensity and vibrancy, but we did not delay for too long. I wanted to get fabric and I knew exactly where to go. Robert walked with me and we left Rashid to park, then found our way into what I call the bowels of Kampala, down where the tourists never go, and where they sell things cheaply. What a huge selection we had! I also attempted to make my choices as quickly as I could and off we went to find Rashid. Into the car, and we were off again.

We started at 10:00 a.m. and arrived in Bududa after dark at about 7:00 p.m. It has been a long day and it sure is different from anything in North America.

Submitted by: BARBARA WYBAR
Executive Director, Bududa Learning Center