Loes and I spent a relaxing three days in the beautiful town of Fort Portal, surrounded by rolling green hills and the towering Rwenzori Mountains. The days were filled with crater lake hikes, monkey spotting, and pizza, lots of pizza. Let’s just say the waiter was on a first name basis with us by the time we left. And yes, if you are wondering, we ordered a pizza for the car ride back to Kampala. Don’t judge us!
Our time wasn’t entirely spent gorging ourselves on sweet, sweet pizza, though:
A Dance – It was 11:00pm and after Loes gently woke me from my sleep (read: poking me in the arm until I woke up), Loes and I decided we would go out dancing. We spoke to the gate guard earlier that day, and he assured us that he would be there all night. To no ones surprise, when we rolled up to the gate, there wasn’t a guard in sight. No worries. Operation Escape from Y.E.S. Hostel was in effect. We hopped gates, had our cover blown by barking dogs and eventually got busted by the gate guard after we “borrowed” his keys when we came back home (he was surprisingly okay with it all, actually). All so we could go out dancing with locals in Fort Portal. Totally worth it though, just to see a drunk woman try to kiss Loes. Calm down boys, I said try.
A Slim Chance: Earlier on our trip, Loes and I had the opportunity to do a slum outreach tour with Hearts Visions, and we met some amazing kids. There was one child, Maurice, that really had an impact on us. As we left him that day, he was in tears. Both Loes and I had wished we had done more for him, as he was a well spoken child who had yet to delve into the darker side of living on the streets. He had hope and a desire to get back to school, but most importantly, to get back to his mother who lived in a village hours away.
Fast forward about ten days. On our drive back to Kampala from Fort Portal, Loes and I decide to grab some food for the road (we already ate all the pizza. Sad face) at a random village. Up comes Maurice, who recognizes us immediately. Once we realize who it is, our eyes light up. We couldn’t believe it. What are the odds? He had some how made his way back home, back to his family. He had clean clothes and a pair of shoes. He looked good; he looked happy. We shared stories, showed him pictures, and Loes gave him her favorite football jersey. Driving off, we just couldn’t believe what had unfolded. All we could do was smile and shake our heads in disbelief.
A Misunderstood Circumstance: So we had this fantastic idea (or so we thought) that we would offer people walking on the main roadways a ride to wherever they were going. Some people have to walk a long way, so we figured we could be some help. We decided to call our car the Mazunga Express (Mazunga is slang for us pale folks), or M.E. for short. Well the idea of M.E. was better than the reality. Oddly enough, most people don’t want to get in the car of some strangers. Weird, right? Maybe there was something wrong with my sales pitch:
Me: “Hey, kid. Want to get in my car? And here, I have some peanuts too. Get in.”
Yeah, no one was interested. Most responses were either silence or fear. I don’t think my original slogan idea would have done any better, though (Muzanga Express: Come inside M.E.).
Truth be told, we did find some kids to give clothes and shoes to and we did get one passenger who was VERY thankful for a ride. A woman at our hostel broke her arm when she fell off a chair. She was using the chair to clean something out of reach. Pro tip: If something is so high you have to use a chair to clean it, chances are no one can see how dirty it is anyways.