This was no time for play.
This was no time for fun.
This was no time for games.
There was work to be done.
Right now, it seems that we are to hold lightly all the calibrated and organized plans that we made to perfectly time our arrival to Bundibugyo before the presidential elections tomorrow. Because here we sit in Fort Portal, with four frozen whole chickens in the freezer for a party that we are not going to attend, a car that is not moving, and a child that just threw up again.
Maybe it all started when we decided to meet up in Nairobi with our friends and future teammates Michael and Lesley and their oh-so-adorable baby Finch. As we were leaving the airport for our 3 hour layover, we noted that the traffic going the opposite direction was quite heavier than the traffic in our outbound lanes. No problem, our drive was only 15 minutes and we could plan accordingly. With that in mind, we ate quickly and dreamed about our shared futures and joined in their celebration of Auburn’s great victory this year. As we 8 packed into their small four door car with an hour until check in, we remembered something…we were in Nairobi traffic. I am not sure there is worse traffic anywhere in the world. In fact, cars started commandeering the other side of the median’s lanes and turned those 4 lanes (which Kenyans use as 6 lanes as lanes are really merely suggestions in Africa) into two lanes of traffic each way. It reminded me of what US governments do during hurricane evacuations to quickly move fleeing people. So now, there were 7 or 8 lanes going inbound and 2ish going outbound from the airport. And then we sat. And then we crawled. And then we sucked diesel exhaust from the monstrous trucks in front, beside, and behind us. Travis, who was taking his turn to suffer from the stomach bug that we brought with us from our vacation, started sighing loudly and I knew he was wondering just what we would do if we missed our flight from Nairobi to Entebbe, Uganda. Lesley’s voice of hope pipes up “I just feel that we will make it” though she called a friend to look up online the small airline we would be flying with. This small airline reminded me of Southwest airlines but with even more of an African attitude of Hakuna Matata. On our past 3 flights with them, the pilot was going down the runway before the fasten-seatbelt light was even on, much less seat belts on! The average lapsed time between the door closing and air under the tires was about 4 minutes, so I knew that this airline was not messing around with delays. Michael’s expert nascar-ish driving pulled us into the airport at 7:17pm and we gathered kids and bags and pushed our way through security as we saw that the “final call” light was next to our flight number on the screen. Since it was an international flight, Travis checked through customs with his passport and ticket and ran to hold our flight while I waited at customs to clear the kids and myself. And then we RAN. Up stairs, through the hall, around the corner, and down a hall, all the way to, of course, the last gate. I looked at the clock on the wall and thought, “does that really say 7:27 and I am still trying to get to my 7:30 flight, running with 3 kids, bags, and in flip flops?”
And the presidential elections start tomorrow. That means that all businesses (including car parts dealers) are closed, petrol is not going to be shipped out here, and public transportation is halted. And while the outcome can probably be predicted pretty accurately, the newspaper is reporting that there could be unrest if people do not feel that elections are handled fairly.