14 July 2008

Journey home to Kampala

As mentioned in the last post, we were shuttled across the Nile in small boats to meet our buses which had crossed on the ferry the night before. I have always liked being on the water, and so though some were nervous, I quite enjoyed the ride.

I admit I was sad to be leaving the beauty and majesty of the wild animals behind. Happily there were still more friends to encounter as we traveled.
Now that's what we would call "big horn"cattle! It was the day of the big monthly market, and all along the road we saw people walking with their animals, produce, clothing and other wares to sell.

Our driver pulled over to let us take pictures of this vast expanse, simply saying "Now this is Africa!"

We saw baboons on the side of the road and they saw us too as we had crackers to feed them from the bus. Rick was able to get a photo of this mama and her baby.

We all nearly shouted for joy (and relief) when we approached a school yard with its accompanying outhouses! As the first of us left the bus, the children scattered, afraid. It was as if they had never seen mzungu (white people) before. The watched us with great curiousity, keeping their distance at first.
I usually do not spend much time thinking about or speaking about "toileting" but putting pride aside, I will share the following tale.

My delight at finding bathrooms was extinguished when I discovered they were "stand over a hole in the ground" stalls, what one of our Scottish team mates called "squatties". Earlier in the trip when I encountered these I had chosen to wait for the type of facility I was more used to. We used lots of toilets that had no seats because they had given up on replacing them when they were repeatedly stolen, but even with no seats, they were familiar. At this moment though, I realized I had best take advantage of the opportunity presented to me, and so, boldly taking new ground, I both relieved my aching bladder and conquered my fear. It truly was a moment of victory. There was time to walk around a bit and stretch our legs. I suddenly noticed children standing around me, squealing and pointing at my feet. My first thought was that there was a snake beside me. This was quickly followed by a second thought that they had noticed something that I may have picked up on my sandal during my bathroom adventure. The truth was that they had noticed the tattoo of a cat on my left ankle. Upon learning this, I began to make meowing noises, which brough more squeals, smiles, laughter and handshakes from them all! What a silly mzungu they must have thought I was. During this time, Rick was watching a girl who was busy watching every move I made. Here's a close up of her face. I am intrigued by the intensity in her eyes. We saw similar intensity in the faces of other children during our time in Uganda.

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