Monday, July 9, 2007

Getting to Jinja

We got up at 6:30am (11:30pm est, sorry, i cant help but keep telling myself what time it is in NY...anytime someone says it I tell them to STOP, but internally I cant!) to catch the "Postal Bus" from Kampala to Jinga...2 hr drive. It was really something. I didn't get coffee before I left Kampala...so I know I didn't get to appreciate all it was worth. WE hop on this bus, "Postal Bus"....there are other people on the bus....it drives 2 hrs...picks up mail at other post offices and people along the way. Hysterical.

At one point we stopped outside of this market...about the 2nd stop. Kids and old women swarmed the bus and shoved open our windows and started talking in a foreign language. THey were shoving things near my face....cold bottled water, bananas, and, get this, meat on a stick. Mystery meat. We asked an old woman for a banana...she said $1,000 shilling. We bartered for 500 schilling....she said okay and handed us a huge bunch of about 10 bananas. 1,000 shilling is less than a dollar. We ended up paying 1000 shillings. I didn't catch the price for the meat...I'll do that next time. Dont worry, I got pictures.
We made another stop, a man selling a a wooden round bowl with a hole in the bottom on a pedastal ran up. I was so confused, the man infront of me started batering in another language. They bought one, I couldn't understand why he was buying a bowl...with a hole in it...and 3 legs to prop it up. I was so confused...he looked like he was going to work. Why does this man need an eleveated holey bowl before work? I turned to Michelle, she told me it was a seat. :) THey got it for the older woman on the bus who had to stand for 2 hrs....she proped it in the tiny aisle and we were off! :)

Shortly after that, another post office stop. One package....and we're on our way. We start hearing all this shuffling.....Ann said "is that the seat that's squeaking?" I laughed, "no, the package we just picked up was a chicken!"
Soon after, we arrived in Jinga....town of 60,000 people. The bus was packed, we were all in back with our backpacks. The conductor shoved all of our 10 bags out the tiny window so as not to disrupt the larger woman sitting on a bowl-with-a-hole in the aisle. From there we were swarmed by "motorcycle men" who wanted us to hop on the back of their motorcycles for a ride to the guest house. Tempting, but no thanks....I'm weebles wobble with my 70 lb backpack....I dont need to have red-clay knee burns from skidding onto the street from the dirt bike.

Weather is more lovely here. 70 and sunny. It was a misty/foggy morning, just as on National Geographic....although I think in Kampala it's smog. :)

I love the small town atmosphere here in Jinga. A lot better than Kampala. I apreciate the fresh air today, and I'm from NYC.

We had an another amazing lunch today....small outside restaurant...fancy, white cloths, we ate under a cabanna hut. Just lovely, 3 hrs lunch. total cost: 8,000 shilings each.

We keep getting called Mizunga. It means white person. The little kids are facinated with us. I'm facinated that someone's facinated with me. I want to wave back at them waving at me. Then realize I'm feeding the spectical..."look at the white freak mommy! Whoa, look it will wave if you call it Mizunga!!"

Really, I want to run up to them....jump up and down and say "I know, I cant believe I''m here...I've waited years for this....Can you believe it?!" Instead I just smile.

I really cant believe I'm here, I'm so grateful.

We start work tomorrow, I hear we're going into the slums and it may be difficult to see.

With love,
Mizunga Alex

3 comments:

Justin said...

Great blog! I was laughing from the beginning. Keep up the incredible work!

Justin

Wesley Dumont said...

Thanks for the update.

Ann's mom said...

Love the blog/info--keep on keeping on!