Monday evening Justine and I went to have dinner with one of his son
Emmanuel's doctors in Kampala. The doctor and his brother and wife also
came. I had a couple of beers, broke my pledge, but I thought the
occasion required. They treated me to matoke which is Ugandan for ndizi
na nyama or bananas and beef stew. We went out on the street afterwards
for a few snacks for our respective trips home. i got some popcorn made
in an old movie theater popper on the street and a bottle of water. That
kept me going till the next evening. The sidewalks fill up with small
vendors at night selling everything you can buy in stores during the day.
They set cardboard down on the sidewalks, spread out their wares and sit
amongst them and stay there til after midnight.. i bought a couple of
those plants that look like sponges that we see in health stores for
scrubbing tired old skin. They will serve as packing material on the way
home. Came back to the hotel and finished packing. The doorman rang me at
5:15 am and came up and carried my bag (1 or 2) a half block to the taxi.
Got to the bus by 6:00am for the 7:00am departure. They frisked us going
into the station, so I stashed my knife in a bag before being checked,
then put it back in my pocket. I boarded one bus got the bags stowed and
they decided to use another bus because there weren't enough passengers.
Debarked and reboarded and the second bus left at 6:15, 45 minutes early.
I love that. I guess they still had one go at 7:00 as scheduled. The city
was already alive at 6:15 as we left Kampala. Public markets were packed.
I got a seat behind the driver next to an old moslem lady who resembled
Interesting logos on buses, trucks and stores and roadsigns
Rapid Kate Glory to God, Jesus if you let
Him, Al Mandulila Blessing, God is Good,Nipples, isaiah 41:10 Fahrai
pharmacy Human and Veterinary Medicines, Super Have , i take things
personally (store), Dr. Balibibaiwo Othapaedist, Russian made Tyres, No
Admission Staffs Only, God's case, no appeal, DAX pomade for longer
stronger hair, a moslem wearing a
Messiah College T-shirt, a huge national stadium with a slum across the
My taxi driver has 11 children including two sets of twins, two kids in
university. His wife works in a nursing home in Boston and helps support
the family that way and i suppose is also a good means of birth control.
Big Casino in Kampala. Our bus passes a slow brick truck forcing oncoming
traffic off the road. he does give way to a petrol lorry. Road from
Kampala to the Kenya border is equivalent to a 2 lane county road. This
is the main artery across East Africa. it is an abomination of potholes
and the driver spends as much time on the right side as the left avoiding
bumps. The biggest safety feature now is speed bumps at place where
people would be inclined to go too fast.
pass the Santa maria Restaurant and Take
Away, Pool Table,50 Acres Shumuk
We cross the Nile River at Jinja
Road is better on the Kenya side. i get to Kisumu the major port city on
Lake Victoria about 1pm and take a taxi across town to the buses that go
up to Kakamega about 50 miles into the hills. As we pass the hospital I
notice a thriving busines of coffin makers at the entrance. Very
Sign African Christians in Development (ACiD0)
When i arrived in Kakamega after switching buses halfway and
travelling up beautiful hills with rain swollen rivers, I wasn't sure
where to get out as the town is rather
long and narrow. Saw a Friends primary and secondary school south of town
but decided not to go there. I had a couple of phone numbers and got
through to Janet who asked me to come to Nala hospital which is not where
she was but it was the biggest landmark near to her. Then a young woman
came to take me next door to an old string of shops and we sat outside on
the veranda and I learned that they were not expecting me for two weeks.
No problem, they started making calls on their cell phones and we have a
course starting day after tomorrow (Thursday and it will be two days
instead of the projected three so that I can make the nairobi course on
time.) The rains started and we just waited for them to end. Everyone
knew they would stop in an hour or two. Then we'd go back to town for my
room. They told me that when a visitor comes and it rains that is a
blessing. I told her that i'm alway happy when it rains on Africa. Peter
and Maesi and I carry the bags to a bicycle taxi station a block away.
There i get my first boda boda ride on the back of a bike with my big
rucksack still on my back. The bike never wiggled with that load. All
these guys use cell phones as well. We went to two hotels til we got a
room at the Jioni (night ) guest house in town. The street is out of the
old west , we went through a restaurant to get to the rooms. The room was
great with a bathroom and heated shower. About 12 dollars for the night.
Very african, lots of noise and music and smell of cookiing fires. This
is what you can expect if you come on the trip next year.
First I need to correct a name in last notes. It is Getry, not Malesi who
helped me get situated yesterday along with Peter. They are absolutely
the most congenial people you would like to meet a long way from home. For
some reason I've been saying something like this about everyone I've met
on this safari.
think I was describing the town of Kakamega as being something from an
old west Hollywood set. Except for cyber cafes. Plenty of hardware and
drygoods stores and saloons. The music is African in the streets, the
smells are fruit, incense, rotting trash, smoke, the occasional
unpleasant sewage all breathed in as you stroll down dusty streets. My
room at the Jioni Guest House was nice. Steaming hot milk with instant coffee
poured in is a nice relaxer. Add the rice and grilled meat and I'm a
happy camper with my first food of the day other than the popcorn. Getry
invited Anna, an intern from the Peace Center to come for coffee with us.
She is from Vermont and doing an internship with a university in Kansas
City. She had spent a year in Paris, before coming to Kakamega, a slight
contrast I'm sure. The Friends Peace Center is about 20 minutes north of
town by Matatu, minibus, subject to sitting on chickens, watching two Matatu
conductors punch it out over passengers, and other interesting events.
They have governors on the throttles to keep them at 50mph, but a blown
tire can kill a lot of chickens and passengers. Seat belts are required.
I moved up there today to the Peace Center, which is still under
construction. Getry is the manager of the Center and runs a tight ship.
Peter picked me up at 9am and we went up there.
to last night, I went out for a stroll up and down the two main blocks in
my end of town and found an internet cafe and got info on my next stop in
Nairobi. I'll stay with Donald Thomas and his wife Ruth. Donald has been
living in Nairobi since 1958, attends an unprogrammed Quaker church. It
will necessitate a cab ride in and back to the training site, but will be
a lot cheaper than the hotel. It's in an area called Westlands if you are
familiar with Nairobi.
is a very friendly atmosphere. In the evening I never heard the word
mzungu said about me. It is the common, sometimes derogatory term , for
white person, that seems to come out of everyone's mouth when a muzungu
is spotted. The bus up from Kisumu was wild, with several fights on the
way, similar to the one I just mentioned. Then at one stop because I
spoke a few words of Swahili to someone, a guy tried to tell me to repeat
some words while his buddies listened. I think it was an obsenity so I
pretended not to understand and he walked away. The dumb, thousand mile
stare can sometimes end commo when needed.
was about 7PM when I got back to the hotel last night and I passed out
and woke up at 2am and wrote much of what you are now reading, then fell
into a light doze the rest of the night. Five am the call to prayer,
beautifully sung in arabic could be heard through town, cook stoves began
to be fired up as the smell of charcoal was evident, and then a sound of
a cow bellowing as if being slaughtered.
The shower head has an electric water heater which is turned on by a wall
switch. The power cord runs right out to the shower head an gives you a
lukewarm shower which in this temperature makes life bearable. It is much
cooler here at altitude and with rains. It must be quite efficient to
heat water only when needed rather than trying to store it in an
insulated water heater which will eventually corrode and spill all over
your basement. Things we need to consider in our future. Also I did not
met David Zarembka at the Peace Center. He came down from about 40 miles
away where he lives. This will be our only meeting as he is going over to
Kigali on Saturday and he needed some time to do a few errands before
leaving. He once lived in Yellow Springs and knew Bruce Heckman and some
of my AVP colleagues, Bill Houston and Hazel Tulecke. David is the
coordinator of African Great Lakes Initiative. He was with the Peace
Corps in Tanzania coming in a few months after our group. He knew Paul
Sack and was recently in contact.
managed to get my cell phone converted to work in Kenya to aid in
communication. The agent at the store did all the set up for me. A young
Indian lad named Raj. I told him it sounds like my name George.
won't be sending anything the next few days as I probably will stay out
at the center where there is no power, no running water, just peace and
quiet. I plan to head into Nairobi on Saturday AM. David informed me that
the road from Kisumu to Nairobi is much worse than coming from Kampala, I
believe that to be impossible but will prepare myself for another long
day on the road. Best to all,