Sunday, December 5, 2010

Further up, Further in...

After a good night’s sleep (finally! wahoo!), we all enjoyed the delicious breakfast at RwenZori View and interesting conversation with fellow travelers. Once TLC was back from Atwoki’s for its morning rebelting and tune-up, we hit the road. And what a road it was!

Uganda is known for its speed bumps. At one point in our travels, we counted over 100 speedbumps (or humps as they say) and then stopped counting. Patton was in the far back in what Anna called his “man cave”, snuggled between a huge duffle and his backpack. Aidan caught a much needed morning nap. As we passed the Chinese construction group that is building a new road to Bundibugyo, we used our very little Chinese to thank them (which totally surprised them!). It always amazes me to be so close to the huge earth movers that are carving into the mountain. Patton loves it; it is any boy’s dream to be so close to such monstrous equipment!

All was going well, everyone cheerful, looking for monkeys, enjoying the fresh air from opened windows (now that the air conditioning is gone), when we met a fellow 4wd truck and Travis asked, “did you pass from Bundibugyo?” “Yes” was the reply, so we forged ahead. Pat had told us that the water is right up to the road and any day it should just wash it away. Fortunately, today was not the day. But we did have to take turns with the oncoming traffic as only one vehicle could splash through the water that came up to the top of our tires. As the water sprayed our windows, Lilli exclaimed that our car needed a snorkel!

Just as we were debating if the grader had leveled the road lately, we came to an area where the rain had washed away the packed dirt, leaving large exposed and sharp rocks. After we bumped over the second group of rocks, we heard a thud and a loud hiss. Immediately, we all knew: flat tire! And so close to home! So, Travis dug around in the overly-crowded back of the car and found the overly-used jack set. Sad that it was a new, tubleless tire, but happy that we had two good spares, he set to work changing the tire. When the jack broke, we wondered what next?! As we were blocking half of the road (no shoulder available), he had to periodically stop his work to allow for a truck to drive by. The boda bodas (motorcycles) just sped by with no concern for how close they were. Near misses are the norm for driving in Africa.

As Travis finished putting the last lug nut on, he remarked, “The enemy must really not want us to be back in Bundibugyo.” But for all of the trouble that we experienced along the way, we made it here safely. Our tummies are full from a delicious meal that Pat and Chrissy made. The kids are asleep on their own beds. Bhootu has had a bath and is on guard on the back porch. And we are about to crawl into our mosquito net for what I hope is a good night’s sleep. Finally, home.

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