Reflections From My First 20 Days in Africa: Boda Bodas and Java Divine

If you would like to read the history of these blog posts please see blog 1 of this series. 

I mentioned in my first blog that…
This blog’s length became so long that I decided to share it in several installments.  It is written in the way that I have lived life in Africa thus far:  Free falling, blown by the breeze.  Moving in and out of each experience touched by an incredible moment laced with extreme joy or intense pain.  Sometimes hit by something comical when all one can do is laugh.  But at the end of the day, there is little time for process and there is no way to wrap your mind around Africa, or tie it all up in a pretty pink bow…  

The travel here is super nutty and I estimate that 90% (maybe more) of all people of Fort Portal are without personal transportation.  So EVERYONE is walking…everywhere.  Including cows–unattended–down the middle of the road.   We walked 3 kilometers on Wednesday to the market but Roland told me that many people walk all the way from Fort Portal (in town) to the market–which is about 8-10 miles each way!  

One of the main forms of transportation is special bike called a “boda” which is a motorcycle with a long seat on the back for passengers.  They are lined up in the streets and people hail them just like a taxi.  Some people walk to the market and then take a boda home with all of their goods.  Kylee freaked out yesterday at the market when she saw two men on a boda holding a LIVE goat.  The young girl who works here at the guest house had a sick baby in the night and so she hailed a boda to take she and her baby to the clinic this morning.  This is NOT strange but completely the way of life.  
Before we arrived in Africa Chris has been mentioning wanting to take a boda ride.  I have never been particularly keen on this idea as there can be limited English spoken by the driver so the concept of, “slow down, or stop” could be lost in translation.  But on the 2nd night of our stay in Uganda on the way home from the orphanage it was dark and there are no street lights on the majority of roads in Fort Portal.  In the distance we saw a small crowd of people and then as we approached we could see on the pavement there was a dropped boda and an unconscious driver with a severe head wound.  It was a sobering moment as we asked if we should stop but were told by our driver that it is illegal to touch or help anyone until the police arrive.  I could not imagine that this man would make it–if he had not already lost his life.  There is an entire wing of the hospital in Kampala that is dedicated to triage for boda drivers and riders. 

Coffee is NOT the same here.  I have yet to see a coffee maker with the exception of one coffee shop where they sell legit expresso and cappuccino.  The main type of coffee that I have seen is a Nestle instant coffee that has spoonfuls that you scoop in to your cup.  Coffeemakers are not only a novelty they are a rarity.  They are not sold in Fort Portal.  Our driver who is quite educated about life of westerners was genuinely curious how a coffeemaker works–and wondered what was so “special” about this type of coffee compared to the instant spoonfuls found everywhere in the supermarkets.  There is obviously true coffee found here as well and it is made “the old fashioned” way and I am assuming this coffee is quite delicious, but I do not have any ability nor knowledge as to how make this type of coffee.  For some of my coffee friend fanatics you might be going a bit crazy with the limited coffee options and do what a family did here:  they paid for a purchase of a coffee maker and the transport of it 5 hours from Kampala.  (Though you also would likely be misunderstood as a “crazy mzungu” in the process–you would get your cup a joe without spooning out of a glass jar each morning.)   I am okay with the coffee from a jar but am counting the days until I am able to have a soy pumpkin spice latte and am crossing my fingers that this happens before they are “gone” for the season! 

Blessings from Africa,



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