By now I have become accustomed to dusty capitals of the developing world. Dirty, people swamps where time no longer exists in the languid lazy haze of village life but exists in a funk where everyone is chasing more of it. One foot out of the bus from Gulu and a hundred hungry faces greet us ushering us this way and that, to this cab or the other – each swearing blind that the hostel we are to stay at is in a part of town they know like the back of their grabby hands. A world away in the remote areas we spent the last few weeks, we grew to hate roosters and their clucking – jarring shrieks among a calm quietude of the dewy forests. Now the chickens and hens run around our feet but their clucks are lost among the clatter of people, money and incessant urgency. A million mutato taxi vans converge into chaos on the busiest roads, motorbikes seem to squeeze pedestrians into huddled moving masses.
We were greeted by a friendly little Ugandana man who had biro-scrawled a Heidi Lindvall meeting card at the bus station. We piled our bags into a beat up Datsun but after repeated efforts to push the jalopy into ignition we were reduced to lugging our suitcases into a second car which sped away to our ‘destination’. Now our hostel is peculiar, signs on our bathroom doors indicate where we can deposit our used condoms. Hmm. Might our hostel be some sort of upmarket destination of ill-repute? The warm showers and the locality to fast internet access begs us stay put. I will not use the soap.
We only have two nights in Kampala, I am relieved to report. We have made contact with our interviewee at Unicef so we should get around to meeting him tomorrow afternoon. Beyond that we will sample the food and head to Cairo on Wednesday where we are bound to run into more grabby hands – but a much needed break awaits, our bones are weary and our shoulders are rippled with stress.
London this time next week.