Kalangala, Ssese Islands to Masaka: The Perks and Disadvantages of Caucasian-ing

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    Coffee and cookies delivered to my guestroom in the morning.
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    Crime prevention training.
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    Crime prevention training.
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    The shacks in the village at the ferry dock from Kalangala to Masaka.
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    Inside of one of the shacks in the village.
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    Banana trucks. One guy asleep on the ground and the other crashed on the seat of the truck.
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    Shack housing on Buggala Island.
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    Our taxi mini-van of 19 people.
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    Coffee and cookies delivered to my guestroom in the morning.

Kalangala, Ssese Islands to Masaka: The Perks and Disadvantages of Caucasian-ing.
Jan 26
Shortly after I got moving this morning, there was a knock on the door of my guestroom and one of the girls from Bery’s Place brought me a tray with coffee and cookies on it.  So sweet.  I finished the temporary breakfast and walked outside of the door of my guest room to find that my shoes had been washed and re-laced.  By the time I returned to the room from saying good morning to the girls, the empty tray from my breakfast had been cleaned up and was gone.  Wow!  These girls are wonderful hosts.  Things get done here.

Coffee and cookies delivered to my guestroom in the morning.

Coffee and cookies delivered to my guestroom in the morning.

I found Bery and we sat at a table in the yard to chat while the girls prepared a proper breakfast for the household.  It was fantastic and I was treated so well.  These ladies make a guest feel welcomed.  The positive energy that exhumes from this house does not make sense considering this is the home of 24 girls who are here because they have been sexually assaulted and violated at some point in their young lives.  Perhaps it is the second chance at normalcy that they are sub-consciously grateful for which makes the vibration of the home so warm…

As Bery and I were chatting he pointed to the avocado trees in the yard and said, “Girls!  Monkeys!”  A half a dozen young ladies went running for the avocado tree to chase the monkeys away.  Bery told me, “We have to keep the monkeys away.  They come in hordes of 20 or 30 and they will empty a garden in one hour.”

Crime prevention training.

Crime prevention training.

I packed my bag and Bery drove me into Kalangala where a political rally was to take place on a lawn in front of the school.  There were military people on the grass training civilians for crime prevention.  The civilians were practicing military drills, marching in uniformity with sticks over their shoulders rather than rifles.  It was the same lawn we had passed yesterday where approximately 50 prisoners in yellow uniforms were out trimming the grass together while armed-guards watched.  It is nice to see the prisoners contributing here.  This is a practice that the western world needs to adopt again…

Bery sorted out a Ssese Islands to Masaka group taxi for me that would take me from Kalangala in the Ssese Islands, across Lake Victoria on the ferry, and then the rest of the way to Masaka for about $4.30 total.  When I went to put my luggage in the back door of the mini-van, there was a 60 cm fish laying on the floor and a box on top of that made duck quacking sounds when I bumped it…  Life in Africa…

Banana trucks. One guy asleep on the ground and the other crashed on the seat of the truck.

Banana trucks. One guy asleep on the ground and the other crashed on the seat of the truck.

Sometimes, it really has its perks to be a foreigner in Africa.  The Africans cannot imagine that a foreigner can handle their ways of life so sometimes they give you breaks.  There were six of us on one regular car bench seat in the back of the mini-van and there were six people on the seat just ahead of us.  Two more people wanted to get into the van, and there was no room to squeeze them in, but no one gets left behind in Africa when there is money to be made so the driver found room for them.  Instead of packing seven in our seat and seven on the seat ahead of us, they left our seat at six because I am a foreigner and the two extras went to the seat ahead of us so that there were eight people on that seat…Crazy.  Eight people on a seat designed for three…

The shacks in the village at the ferry dock from Kalangala to Masaka.

The shacks in the village at the ferry dock from Kalangala to Masaka.

When we arrived from Ssese Islands to Masaka.  I got my backpack from the mini-van and asked the driver and his friends how to get to the city.  He told me to get a motorcycle for 1000 shillings ($0.28).  He motioned for the motorcycle driver to come over and told him where I wanted to go.  I said to the motorcycle driver, “1000 shillings, yea?”  He told me, “2000.”  I said, “No, I know  it is 1000.”  The mini-van driver and his friends were looking as I was negotiating.  I was laughing as I was saying to them, “Is 1000,” then I pointed to the white skin on my arm and said, “No!  Is 2000!”  They were very entertained by that and were high-fiving me and laughing loudly.  The motorcycle guy said, “Okay.  1000.”  I got on and we took off.

The motorcycle drove me to Zebra Hotel, which I had previously heard of.  I negotiated the room down from $16.50 to $8.60, went into town for dinner had a couple of beers in the bar where the television was on and the local station was still running Christmas commercials on this day, five days into February…. Ah, Africa.

* There are a lot of wigs in Uganda and Tanzania.  If you were determined to get into wig business, this is your mecca…

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