We had planned on returning from Jinja on Sunday night, but due to timing of transportation and other things we ended up staying an extra night at the Nile River Explorer hostel. We left Jinja Monday morning and had a car take us to the Taxi Park (which is literally a parking lots filled with taxis and other small busses going all different places). Taxi Tom our driver to the Taxi Park had the cleanest car we have seen in Uganda and he was very nice. We told him we were staying with the Sisters. Somehow we ended up singing him a verse of Cross of Our Hope because he said we should be in a choir. He told us it would cost 150,000 shillings to take us to Fort Portal, but we thought that was a little pricey… if only we knew…
We boarded a mini bus for 5,000 shillings to Kampala and were dropped off at a gas station in Kampala just outside the Taxi Park. As soon as we got off the bus, it began to rain. When it rains in Uganda… it pours. We found ourselves soaked to the bone and ducking for cover under a tiny awning on one of the shops. The markets in Uganda are more like huts and don't offer a refuge from the rain. After awhile we decided that it probably wasn't going to let up anytime soon, so we began to "wander" the city trying to find the bus to Fort Portal. After getting directions from numerous people, one man was kind enough to walk us all the way to the bus to Fort Portal. We boarded the bus, with both our luggage and ourselves soaking wet, and paid 20,000 shillings each for our tickets. After waiting about half an hour we finally asked the driver what time the bus was going to depart. He said we had to wait for the rain to stop because more people would come. We all settled in for a very comfortable nap in our wet clothes. Two hours later when I woke up we still had yet to depart, although the rain had almost come to a halt. An hour later half of us got off to pay 200 shillings to use the public "squatty potty" which we flushed by dumping a bucket of water down the hole. Then we bought crackers from the street vendor because the only thing we had eaten all day was eggs. Finally, at 6:15pm the bus began to pull out of Kampala. By this point we were all desperately clawing through our bags attempting to find any dry piece of clothing to put on. Two hours later we had made it only four blocks.
The bus ride was very interesting.
When we first boarded some lady behind me kept asking me questions and peering over my shoulder. Her name was Karine and she made me put two of her telephone numbers in my phone for the next time I would be back in Uganda, so I could call her. Then she got off the bus ten minutes later.
We kept stopping so that the men and the driver could get out a go to the bathroom on the side of the road. We may have also gotten pulled over by the Ugandan police at some point because another passenger/ worker (?) came up to help find some papers the driver had to show. Although it was taking long enough to get home so I doubt it was for speeding. When people needed to get off they would start shouting at the driver until he finally heard them and stopped. Sometimes either new people wanted to board or we almost left them after a bathroom break because someone would start banging on the outside of the bus so we would stop to let them on. We sat at the front of the bus and there was man who always would mysteriously appear by my shoulder to peer out the front window. I'm not sure if he was looking for his stop or what. We were actually nervous about missing ours because it was so dark out, but many of the passengers had asked us where we were headed so when it came up they all started shouting Mizungu Mizungu and we knew to get off. We finally made it to Rugombe shortly after midnight where poor Ruboni (the Sister's driver) had been waiting for us since eight. Twenty more minutes in the car and we had at least arrived back in Kyarusozi. It was so good to be home!
Turns out 150,000 shillings split between the three of us isn't all that more than we paid for our bus tickets.
Turns out sitting in wet clothes on a bus for ten hours + a poor immune system = bad news for Sarah. I woke up on Tuesday with a fever, congestion, dizziness, and what felt like heartburn (although I'm not entirely sure where that came from considering all I ate on Monday was crackers and eggs.) Sister Pat diagnosed me with a bacterial infection and I was sent back to bed with a bowl of antibiotics to take over the next five days. After sleeping all day I am feeling much better. On the plus side it rained so I would not have been able to play with the neighborhood kids or go running even if I had wanted too.