The Road to Gulu
Saturday ended up blurring into Sunday as the Team arrived at the Entebbe airport shortly before midnight. High hopes of getting to our hotel in Kampala for a full six hours of sleep were quickly dashed when some key medical supplies were flagged at customs. Paperwork, and lots of it, is a component of any mission – imagine trying to enter another country with suitcases filled with medications. It’s not so easy even when you do everything the “right” way as we discovered last night. But as our fearless leader and optimist, Mark Shields, reminded us, “Whatever happens, it will be okay.” It’s our mantra on this mission and pretty much, any mission I’ve ever had the good fortune to go on. So even though we had to leave a some supplies behind in the good hands of customs, we are confident that it will get worked out and they will end up in Gulu in the next day.
The last leg of our travel odyssey began early with a hearty breakfast and some strong coffee. Blurry-eyed, but thankful to be on the ground together and excited for the sights ahead of us on the five-hour bus trip to Gulu.
Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! You’ll be on y our way up! You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
Dr. Seuss knew what he was talking about because man, did we see good sights on the road to Gulu. As a matter of fact one of the most unusual sight was on the outskirts of Kampala where we saw a man riding a camel into a gas station amidst a throng of men and boys on motorbikes – or as they are called here, “boda bodas”. Alas, like a few of the surprising sights we saw today, it was there and gone before anyone could snap a photo, but let me assure you, it was a sight to behold.
Uganda was colonized by the British in 1860 and one of the visible remnants of that rule is that Ugandans drive on the left side of the road. Oh and by the way, the roads are a little narrow. But that didn’t seem to bother our expert drivers today who navigated our two vans through towns and villages and rain and sun with the skill, and sometimes speed, of a NASCAR driver. I had heard many times how the African people love t6o wear color – reds, yellows and bright blues. It became apparent why as we zoomed through the lush countryside – everything here is green, various shades of green. That vast blanket of green was rarely broken up unless we passed by a home or through a village. It was there that colorful plastic wash buckets adorned the entryways to humble homes; brightly color-washed . storefronts popped out of the foliage; little girls in bright pink dresses laughed and played; little boys, knee-deep in muddy water worked to fill brightly colored plastic bottles and mothers in vibrant red or even crips-white, Sunday dresses walked to church carrying infants on their backs like precious, swaddled cargo.
In all honestly there was so much to see that when we made our refreshment and relief stop at road-side restaurant, I was kinda bummed that we were already more than halfway to Gulu. But even the stop offered opportunity – opportunity to visit and learn more about our fellow members of Team Uganda.
Then it was back on the road to Gulu where we saw monkeys…and more monkeys and finally, our first view of The Nile!
By 2pm we were at our hotel in Gulu, the Churchill Courts, back at work, unpacking trucks and by 3 pm everyone was off to set up shop for the week. Oh what a day, I’m pretty sure all the doctors – including Dr. Seuss – were pleased.