“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Day 13 – Thursday 23rd August

The post bus which we were booked onto, was expected to arrive before 9am, so we got up with enough time to finish packing, nip across to the school to say goodbye to the children and make a quick computer check with Amon to see if Sylivia had already been sponsored (sadly she is, so I chose another girl called Agnes that I had played netball with before). At just £42 for the entire school year, it was the least I could do as a leaving present and let’s be honest, I can drink that amount in a night at the Bells!
After 9:30 had passed and no bus had appeared, Amon called the driver, who was stuck in the traffic queue behind an accident that was blocking the road. He would be at least another 30mins, so a few of us got another brew and Alex moved chairs out onto the main road to continue waiting. I took one last tour with the camera.
Surprisingly, many of the volunteers had turned out to say goodbye and wave us all off, even Becky, who was also still quite ill, had managed to wander out in her PJs! There were 5 of us leaving (Me and Caroline, the two Irish friends, Ciara and Karen, and Kate the American girl). Amon assured us he had booked seats on the bus, but even so we were all a little apprehensive about the journey. Caroline and I had travelled here on a normal Kibale bus which was bad enough, but the post bus was the cheaper option at just £7 to travel 200kms. It was a large old red bus, owned by the Ugandan postal service, and therefore stopped at every mail depot on the way – there was a good chance it would take 6 or 7 hours to reach Kampala which didn’t fill us with much excitement.
An hour later, the driver told Amon he was in Ntungamo and so we dragged our cases to the other side of the road again, took the obligatory group photo, nearly got stampeded by cattle and said our goodbyes to everyone, before the bus appeared around the corner. Cheers went up as by now the group had been sitting in hot African sun for far too long. Inside I really didn’t feel like cheering. I was still needing to be fairly close to sanitation and 6 hours crammed in a hot sweaty bus didn’t thrill me at all.
But as it turned out there were not enough seats for everyone and so Caroline and I spent the first hour on the staff seats right at the front with the best view on the bus, whilst poor Ciara was standing. After an hour or so and following our second police stop, the postal service worker at the front moved us to some now empty seats further back, next to a guy who was feeling the cold, and so started the battle of the window being open or shut.
The journey passed without incident, but as we arrived at the post office in Kampala, the heavens opened and torrential rain, thunder and lightening filled the skies. Caroline very smugly put on her waterproof, whilst I cursed the fact that I had packed mine in my rucksack which was now outside under the bus. Grrrrr.
No-one was there to meet us, so Karen and Ciara disappeared into the drenched Kampala streets, whilst Kate headed over to the security guard to try and arrange a taxi to her hostel.
Caroline and I dragged our luggage through the rain to the post office internet café and I called the number we had for Godfrey – which turned out to be the number for Denis who was also in Kampala and told us to stay put, assuring us he would send Godfrey the driver over to meet us. Sure enough after 20 minutes or so, Kate was still waiting for her taxi when Godfrey wandered in and took us and our soggy luggage back to the jeep. Traffic was going nowhere and the rain seemed to be getting worse – if that was possible.
Eventually Godfrey decided he could not leave Kate all alone at the post office and despite her hostel being in a completely different direction to our hotel, decided to drop her off first. So over an hour later we were bidding her farewell and good luck as we dropped her off at the “Red Chilli Hostel” in the outskirts of Kampala. Another hour later and Godfrey delivered us safely to the New Madagascar Hotel across town. It was now dark, we hadn’t eaten or used a loo since getting on the bus at breakfast time. We were tired, wet, and starving. So when the German-Swiss owner, Benedict, showed us to our room and offered us red wine with chicken and rice we almost hugged her. A quick hot shower and repack of our clothes and we were sat at a balcony table sipping, eating and congratulating ourselves on a very successful fortnight. Sad to be leaving, but pleased to have made it back to the capital. Only one more night in Africa to go.

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