Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Journey to Oyam

I hadn't started this journey with the idea that it'd be difficult. The roads between Kampala and Lira are good and there are many bus carriers heading there throughout the day. Little did I know…

9:00 AM
I began my preparations with the most difficult question: To bring a fork or not to bring a fork. [As it turned out, I didn't need one.]

11:34 AM
After an hour and a half of waiting for the bus to fill, we're on our way. There's a lady saying a Christian prayer for our journey. Amen! [Um…after this journey, I can see how pre-Christians wonder about our God. The explanation is simple…stupid people.]

I would never EVER want the job of backing busses into this tiny park.

12:13 PM
Aaaaannnnd…bus problems. [In retrospect, I wonder if the guy who was working on the bus before we left should have been a clue.]

1:32 PM
Fast food Africa. Vendors crowd the bus windows hoping to sell boiled water, roasted meat, and more. Friend and former Uganda housemate, Lauren, says she could go for chicken on a stick. [She's right…no matter how long it's been sitting in the sun, it's yummy.]

3:52 PM
A little sightseeing. I don't know about you but the last place I'd want my hiney is just above a truck full of longhorns.

4:18 PM
Bus just quit in the middle of the road to nowhere. I'm on the sun side. I knew I'd regret not taking that last short call.

5:08 PM
Broken down…#3.

5:46 PM
Shall we try for #4. Almost made it to beautiful Karuma Falls.

6:09 PM
Out of the bus and into a car hopefully the rest of the way. [Guys hire our their cars and fill 8-seaters with 12 people. It's a little like hitchhiking but somehow we're pretty safe. Once the car is full, which takes a while because lots of folks just don’t' have the money to pay for the bus AND the car - don't be silly, we don't get refunds for the broken down bus.]

6:20 PM
Chickens anyone? [Sitting at a stage stop for cars and busses, vendors try to sell their goods. I was impressed that this one had her chickens in the basket. Usually they're just running all over.]

7:35 PM
Stabbed deep w a porcupine quill. Too hard to explain how. Gushing blood all over the seat. Worried drivers stopped at the clinic. Giant bump. Oowie!

[Let me take a moment to explain. First of all, I made it almost an hour without stopping. Yea. Second, we have a saying…TIA (this is Africa). Lots of weird things happen here and you just learn to deal with it. But a porcupine quill stabbing just doesn't fit into even that kind of weird.

Here's how this went. I was in the front and needed to scootch to the middle "seat" to make room for an old man to sit next to me. I put my arms down to lift my rear and as I did that and leaned back just a bit the quill went deep in. Why? The second row of seats had five people so one guy was scootched forward to make room. He was in a park that day and found his porcupine quill treasure and was holding it in his hand in just the right spot for me to get stuck. He did not do it on purpose and was incredibly apologetic.

Okay, stick, ouch, and blood gushing. "Does anyone have a handkerchief for me to stop the bleeding?" Everyone looks at me with non-comprehension. "Okay, I know someone in this car speaks English, will you ask for a handkerchief." Yes! Got a very moist, possibly snotty kerchief for my arm all the while thinking of Dale DeWitt who was sure to ask for a photo and deciding there was too much going on to try that at the same time.

Now it's dark and the driver feels bad so he's going here and there trying to find a clinic that's open to get me a plaster. Don’t even think of asking for a Band-Aid here. Task accomplished and we're on our way again.]

Post sticking bruise.

8:54 PM
Arrived and picked by Pr George. Enjoying dinner with his family. Whew! [I love Pr George and his wife. They spoil me but even better they love Jesus so much. Such a sweet couple.]

[It's worth noting that in the past I'd get a 5:00 am bus in an effort to reach Lira in time for the one and only taxi going to Pr Patrick's place in Oyam. Typically we'd miss that taxi because of bus issues. I decided to plan ahead to stay in a hotel so that the next day we'd not have the rush. For a while I regretted this decision thinking I should just get up earlier. Today, though, I was quite thankful given the long long journey.]

9:07 AM the next day
Ready. The only thing missing is me.

11:55 AM
Arrived without incident. Praising God! [Our journey was a 2-hour boda ride on red dirt roads.]

My journey home was uneventful, praise God!