Thursday, 13 October 2016

Fish, Babies, and Long Drives in Small Spaces

It’s hard to believe three weeks have passed since I arrive in Uganda (again). To be honest, for the most part it’s been pretty boring. I mean, there isn’t a whole lot of excitement involved in writing business plans and finalizing budgets, so it was unsurprising that this has been the overall feel. This isn’t to suggest, however, that I’m consumed in all work and no play, as I’ve had several dates with friends, which have helped to break up the mundaneness of business start-up paperwork. But, it’s all starting to come together, which is good!

This past Friday I made my way into Kampala for the day to see a few more friends, but also to tackle a bit of business. I was surprised that it only took a little over 2 and a half hours to make the journey, as Friday travels are usually sllllooooooooooooooowwwwwww*.

My first stop was to catch up with my friend and business partner, Chuck. We ended up where I spent the week of the conference – Ggaba. Ggaba is known for having some pretty fresh fish, so we decided to indulge while we caught up, talked shop, and took in a bit of the scenery. The beauty of this fresh fish, is that you can purchase a sizable tilapia to feed 3 adult humans, with sides for UGX25000 (or about CAD$9!) – and it’s good. My favourite part, of course, if the use of hands in order to eat it. There’s just something magical about eating with your fingers!

Above: Chuck and Adolf digging in; Below: The aftermath/Chuck

After we polished off our meal (and partial apologies for not taking a before picture of lunch, for comparative purposes), we took a quick stroll to the edge of the pier where we snapped a few photos, and then parted ways.

Lake Victoria, from Ggaba
I really need to learn to selfie better!
L-R: Your Orange Canadian, Chuck, Adolf
The next stop was to New Emily’s for a surprise baby shower for one of the FRA crew. I, as usual, arrived early. But slowly others began to arrive, which gave time to catch up with those I hadn’t yet seen since returning. Here’s the thing, though, when planning a surprise party for an individual who is dedicated to her work, and refuses to leave the office without finishing what she had set out to do for the day… it’s extremely difficult to get her to leave the office and come to said surprise party. Fortunately, she eventually was swayed and made an appearance. Unfortunately, it was just as I was needing to head back to Jinja in order to avoid some of the Friday jam**.

That wasn’t the only unfortunate part, at least for this Orange Canadian. You see, usually exciting the city on a Friday night is nothing short of a nightmare. So many people, all trying to leave, with very little organization. So, you can understand how thrilled I was that at leaving just before 6:30PM, we somehow managed to get out of the city by 8:30PM! I thought this was a bonus, because it meant there was a possibility that I could arrive back in Jinja around 9:30PM or a little after. But just before entering my favourite part of the drive***, we came to a standstill. Not for a few minutes… for almost an hour. To make matters worse, the leg room in these modes of transport is not equivalent of the luxury found in air travel – it’s much, much smaller. So, little miss arthritic knees was starting to feel it by the time we stopped, and even more so when we pulled into Jinja at the ripe ‘ol hour of 10:57PM!

Here’s my take away from all of this. There is nothing like spending nearly 8 hours in a cramped public transport to make a girl feel old the next day. For essentially doing nothing, actually, just literally sitting, it is quite amazing how much of a toll that physically takes on your body. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve felt that sore since I ran a half marathon 5 years ago! So… there’s that.

Anyway, despite the lengthy and unexpected travel time, it was great to see a bit of the old neighbourhood and catch up with friends in the big city. But next time city folk – you’re coming to me!

-the Orange Canadian

*That’s the word slow drawn out over several seconds if said aloud, in case you were wondering…
**And now, I don’t mean tasty jams, as in good tunes. I mean excessive and nothing short of chaotic traffic jams!

***Which you should all know by now is Mabiera Forest

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