Big Brother’s African Brother #21: Kampala, Uganda

Kampala, Uganda

Day 19: 16 August 2002 7:00 pm

The group are in mutinous mood due to the food budget set for tomorrow – it just doesn’t add up to US$3 per person. Where is the money going?

(US $1 = 75 Ksh)

After a breakfast of banana pancakes (Tom’s favourite), it was a visit to
Kampala to do the food shopping for tomorrow, when Tom is on cook duty.

I thought I would tag along as it would be interesting to browse round the
local markets. First stop was to the supermarket to buy meat and
ingredients for the curry sauce. However, our tour leader told us that we
only had a budget of Ush 65000 to buy all the food for tomorrow’s meals.
Considering there are currently 17 people on the truck to cook for, it works
out at approx. US $2 per person. That sent Tom’s mind into overdrive,
especially as he used to be an auditor. Amy was so concerned at how little
food we had in the supermarket trolley, that she talked about smuggling food
into napkins off the barbecue that had been arranged this evening, and
saving it for tomorrow.

I now applaud Rose for asking for lunch money today, otherwise we would have
missed out on yet another meal and not been compensated for it.

The fruit and veg market was good fun as Tom enjoyed haggling them down
to Ush 1000 per kilo of vegetables. At least the vegetarians have got a
good deal for their meal tomorrow.

Back on the truck, people began to question the food budget. How did our
tour leader come to that figure? At least other people now believe that
there may be a food conspiracy – it’s not the Lariam after all.

At the craft market, we bought a wooden gorilla and baby as a reminder of
our mountain gorilla experience.

Postives: My souvenir gorilla will always remind me of the magical time I
had on the foothills of the volcano, observing the gorillas in their natural

Negatives: Mutinous truck members, but no one is willing to speak up.
Everyone is afraid that if they do, they might be thrown off the truck. Now
there’s a thought!

Kampala, Uganda to Nakuru, Kenya

Day 20: 17 August 2002 10:00 pm

All the group are sleeping as the truck bumps its way to the border after another early start of 5:00am.

10:30am – We had to cover 600km today and cross the border back into Kenya.
We are all hoping that we will not have to pay another US $20 for a Kenyan
transit visa and have strategically folded our passports to open at our
Kenyan single visas.

12:30pm – Success. We crossed the border without having to pay for another
visa. I now relaxed back and hope my numb backside would regain feeling at
some point. My observations on East African people so far are:

Extremely laid back – hardly anyone hassles you.

African time – everyone works slowly and not necessarily in a logical order,
so never expect anything to be done on time.

Vehicle suspension – if they can squeeze an extra twenty people into a
vehicle they will, even if it means breaking the suspension.

Road kill – cows, goats and sheep are a problem on the roads, but no matter
how much the horn is tooted, cows never budge when the truck is bearing down
on them. Steak sandwiches all round then.

9:30pm – We finally arrived at Kembu campsite as the light was fading. We
have been told that in Nairobi only a couple of people will be leaving and
we will gain three new truck mates. After 12 hours on the truck, all I
could think about was sleep.

Positives: We saved US $40 between us in the great Kenyan visa scam!

Negatives: 12 hours of mind numbing, hard travel.

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