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Rheana's Travels

Adventure to Uganda

USA | Sunday, 8 August 2010 | Views [377] | Comments [1]

We made it!!! I wish I could say it was a fun trip… but we’ll go with an interesting 33 hours, but we both made it safe and sound. Dad and I left our house at 4am to go pick up Jamie and head off to the Medford airport. We then flew to Denever (I slept most of that flight) and then on to Newark. There was some drama with the Newark connection because our Denver flight was delayed, but we made it ok. We then left for Brussels, on our first of two 8 hour flights. Being in the Brussels airport was my first time on European soil, though I wish I could say it was more exciting than it was. I did try to buy a Belgium waffle from a vending machine, but decided that it wasn't worth the effort to exchange my US$ for 1.50 in euros. We have 6 hours in Brussels on our way back so I'll probably get something then. 

We had to check in again in Brussels because we changed airlines, where the guy asked us for our baggage slips. We handed him the one that we were given, which was two pieces of paper stapled together. However, to our surprise and dismay, it was only the baggage slip for one of our bags. We had no idea where the other one was, because to our knowledge we were only given the one we gave him… so we just continued on because there was nothing we could do. The flight from Brussels to Entebbe was not particularly enjoyable; by then we were so exhausted and tired of being in airplane/airports nothing seemed to be worth doing but sleeping. So that’s what we did… until my body decided it had enough and I threw up lol. Not my proudest moment, but I really did feel better after.

When we landed in Entebbe (Kampala doesn’t have an airport, it’s only about an hour north though, including traffic) both Jamie and I could hardly believe it. We were in AFRICA! We were both pretty excited, to say the least. Our excitement didn’t even diminish too much when we realized that neither of our bags seemed to have made it with us. So I spent some time talking to the baggage claim guy (who was WAY confused) while Jamie went to go find our ride (Steven, a very friendly guy who works for eMi) to make sure they didn’t leave. After about two hours we finally were able to leave and head home, with nothing much figured out. As of right now we’re waiting for our baggage and not exactly sure how to go about finding it. We’re not too concerned though, because we’re in Africa and it’s pretty freakin cool.

Last night we passed out pretty easily, and then slept a full 10 hours (If people are ever worried about jet lag I would recommend getting into the country right before bedtime, then make yourself sleep- though there was no “making” in our case. I could hardly keep my eyes open). This morning we woke up when Maggie (our “handler”) came over to give us our tour. She took us to the bank to exchange our money, and then to the store for some food, and to get money on our cell phones. Maggie is letting us borrow her grandkids’ phones (they moved back to the states a little bit ago) so mine is decorated with rainbow and dog stickers. We took a bus down there (VERY similar to the combis I got so used to in Mexico) but on the way back she introduced us to Nasser, a boda-boda driver. Boda-boda’s are small motorcycles that are extremely popular in Uganda. As Maggie says “Uganda runs on the backs of boda-bodas.” They are able to weave in and out of traffic, and so are much quicker than buses or taxis. The weaving adds a little danger to the situation though, and over 50% of all accidents are boda-boda related. Maggie has four boda-boda drivers on retainer that she recommends as safe and reliable, and Nasser is one of them. He drove us back home (Jamie and I fit on the back of his bike), then we called him later in the afternoon to drive us downtown (then came and picked us back up). It’s really really nice to have someone we can trust (Maggie’s known him for years, and he became a father yesterday… and those two facts are not related in anyway, haha). Almost as nice, in fact, as the rides themselves. It took Jamie and me all of about 2.4 seconds to fall in love with riding on a boda-boda. We’re going to have to limit our rides because they’re more expensive than the buses, but we’re going to splurge every little bit because they’re so much fun.

While we were out we bought some veggies and fruit (which won’t come as a surprise to those who have ever seen us eat) for SUPER cheap. A pineapple, four egg plants, big bag of string beans, and four little onions for a little over $2. Craziness. J

Although we are (obviously) going to stay super careful, and observe the recommendation that we don’t go out after dark (7pm), it was great for both of us to realize that we are safe to roam around downtown by ourselves during the day. We had read that Kampala is one of the safer cities in Africa, it was great to hear that first hand from Maggie and the other interns we’re staying with.

Speaking of interns… there are currently two interns living in this compound with us (Megan and Brittney, though Brittney’s mom came to visit and is going to be here for another week), and our house is pretty big. Living room, dining room, kitchen, and three bedrooms. Jamie and I are sharing one of the bedrooms, and it is set with two twin beds, and a pretty big closet. Not that we have anything to put in it right now lol. The beds also come with mosquito netting, which makes me feel like a princess. Both Brittney and Megan are really nice, and both have been really helpful about getting us settled. Megan is moving to another town in Uganda sometime in the next couple weeks, and is going to be replaced by two other interns. There is an apartment about 5 minutes away where the males interns stay, but the eMi offices themselves are right next door within the compound.

So to sum it all up, things are great here… regardless of the fact that we have two sets of clothing (we had one set in our carryon bags) to last us for the foreseeable future. We are both pretty tired, but are determined to stay up till 9 tonight (7am west coast time). Tomorrow we are headed to church where we will meet Phillip who runs the clinic we’re working at. Then we’ll get more of an idea about what we’re actually going to be doing here.

Anyways, hope everybody’s doing great.

Love you!





Great blog, Rheana! (and Jamie)! Keep those details coming. We are eager for all the sights and sounds and smells and surprises!

  Janis Bryan Aug 8, 2010 5:20 AM

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