Installment 1 – Transport
Travel in Uganda was an experience, that is for sure! We used a range of transport modes. Footing was a commonly used option and I was alternatively amused and frustrated by the frequently expressed amazement of Ugandans to we Muzungus (whites) walking. In Kampala we would ask for directions and were met with the exertion that we could not walk there, it was too far!, only to find ourselves at the destination not 20 minutes later.
The second most common option chosen was to hop on to a boda. In Australia I blankly refuse to get on a motorcycle due to the videos and case studies I saw in my Occupational Therapy studies. Images of the rehabilitation process required post accident, assuming the driver survived, has always made me wonder how people could chose to get on one. But as is often the case, once I leave Australian shores my reservations leave me too.
Although I did not have reservations against getting on to one, I often found myself praying fervently as we drove between two trucks, went up on to foot paths, or scooted in to oncoming traffic to skip a few cars up in the line. I think I found Kampala the most daunting place to be on a boda due to the city traffic.
It was also interesting to observe what people will chose to carry and can get to fit on to a boda. We saw 4 adults plus a child on one boda, you might see stacked suitcases on the back or perhaps a couple of office chairs roped on. In Jinja we even discovered Ice cream Bodas – fitted with speakers to play the Ice cream truck tune and with a large sports drink cooler on the back that contained the sherbet ice cream. The most we fitted on was 4 adults (Jenny, Maggie and I plus the driver) and two backpacks. That was an interesting ride!
The short distances in Gulu between destinations made bodas an easy option. However, once arriving in Jinja it cost about 4 times more to take a boda to town and so we also began to take public taxis. These are small vans that carry up to 14 passengers. They were far cheaper but you found yourself squished in, often partly sitting on your neighbour’s lap, nursing luggage or beside a wiggling child.