Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ride Home from Karamoja

Henry and Gabriel predicted a 10 hour ride home rather than 14 hours. Wrong. A young woman was seated in the aisle next to us with three teenage girls and a toddler who was her son. I thought how sweet these sisters are traveling together. Henry informed me instead that this woman was taking these girls from Karamoja to sell as house girls and that she would be paid well. One chicken breast was all these girls had to eat in the 14 hour I watched them on this bus. No drinks. I suppose the idea was that the girls would have a better life outside Karamoja, but I struggle with the idea that a different culture means a better life.

Once upon a time Lauren warned that many roadside vendors refill water bottles and are quite good at making the bottles look sealed. In other words, don’t drink the water from roadside vendors. I doubted the skill of these vendors to render the water bottles looking new until I saw a woman with a pile of bottles in soapy water. Well, at least they’re getting washed. The question is whether or not the water is boiled before being served. We had chicken on a stick and roasted maize, but I was so thirsty Henry assured me that the water would be drinkable. Still…not so confident.

Around 3:00 I started feeling miserable. Who wouldn’t be after 14 hours on a bus in seats small enough for children alone and in unbearable temperatures with the sun on my side of the bus? I attributed the discomfort to the long, harsh ride. I was sure that if I could just get a shower and a good night sleep I would feel so much better in the morning.