Friday, December 23, 2011

The long road home...

My (Amber's) parents came to visit a few weeks ago. And as usual, my mom took loads of pictures (1160 in two weeks). What was interesting is that when we looked back over what my mom found fascinating, we discovered that they were pictures of our life in Uganda that have become 'the norm' to us. While spending time with others, we're reminded of how different this life might look through their eyes. In this particular blog, I wanted to take you along on our trip north from Kampala to Timu. The people change, different languages are spoken, and the pace of life slows as we travel north.

Below, we are starting our journey from our favorite guest house in Kampala. The vehicle is usually packed and Terrill can rarely see out the rearview mirror...although, he usually doesn't need to see through it after we exit Kampala.
The streets of Kampala. They are tight, a bit dirty and always busy.
Kampala boasts big stores like this one named Game. It's like a Walmart but more expensive with a lower quality of goods. This is where the rich and middle class will shop.
Kampala transportation includes motorcycles that carry goods and people for a small fee...
...minivans that they call 'taxis' that carry goods and people for a small fee (some of them also have funny advertisements, like this one, "I beat my wife, and my life changed for the worse.")...
...big trucks that they call 'lorries' which carry and are usually overloaded with goods and people...
and bicycles which can be hired for goods or people. Being able to hire a bicycle taxi is actually really helpful. Not only can you get other people to help you do errands, but they will have a job in this poor economy. Everyone is happy in the end.
Another common sight in the Kampala streets are food vendors. Dad & I had stopped to pick up a papaya and a pineapple. One thing I love about Uganda is being able to get fresh fruit along any road that we're traveling. There is always someone selling it. The man to the far left is also selling fried grasshoppers. They're actually not bad, tasting a bit like bacon.
These fruit vendors are selling green bananas called matooke. They are not a sweet banana but must be steamed in banana leaves to soften them and make them edible. I find the taste to be bland, but they are filling. For southern Ugandans, matooke is a staple food in their diet.
And now we are leaving Kampala. Someone is always walking alongside the road and carrying something on their head. I was quite impressed to see this man carrying goods as well. It's not a common sight as it's usually the work of women.
These children are relaxing in an animal trough.
And this is what a town looks like as we leave the populated southern area and enter Karamoja in the north-east.
People will move out of the way as you honk at them. Few vehicles travel this way, but you will see the occasional overloaded lorry.
The farther north you travel, the less developed it gets. But I personally think it also gets more beautiful. Red dirt roads, brilliant blue skies, mountains rising in the distance.
The houses go from being square to circular. They are made of mud and sticks with a grass roof.
The Karamojong men start wearing skirts...I mean...wraps. They are really just pieces of a heavy cloth that are cut to fit around the waist. This man is rewrapping; luckily he's not facing the road. :)
And Karamoja is not Karamoja without cows grazing in the vast landscape. A shepherd boy is probably napping under a near-by tree. Ah, the landscape of Kaabong district. Jagged hills and Euphorbia (candelabra) trees. They don't cut these trees down because they can't use the wood.
After a 12-14 hour trip, we arrive in Timu. The road here is long with many twists and turns.


Travis said...

Thanks for giving a little view into the routine of life. God's blessing in the coming New Year.

The Reeds said...

I LOVE the description of GAME. Perfect. We just got home and I saw a lot of e-mails. I'm so excited and can't wait to go read them! Merry Christmas from our house to yours. Enjoy the silence...

Mary said...

Amber, I loved reading and looking at this post this evening. I've been thinking a lot about you. I owe you a letter! Will write soon.

Notinthewild said...

Some great lines!

"It's like a Walmart but more expensive with a lower quality of goods."

"These children are relaxing in an animal trough."