Monday, 11/12/18: The trip from Hoima to Masindi was another typical road trip in Africa. The vehicle for this trip was an old, 15-20 yrs, mini station wagon, not even sure what make, and let’s just say I thought that I had been in some wore out, bad vehicles but now I know better. This thing is so old and wore out that even the windshield is hard to see out of and, with just our three suitcases, the rear end was sitting on the axle, no shocks left at all. Since there was still some room in the back, we load a few more things in, a couple of bags of stuff; some matoke, a type of banana. That’s how I know we were sitting on the axle; the car never moves lower as we put more stuff in the back.
We start off and get just outside of Hoima when we get a phone call from Bishop Iraka’s wife to tell him that he left his suit case at home. We turn around and head back to Hoima to meet up with her and get Bishop’s suitcase. Now at first this was aggravating but God causes all things to work for the good of those He has called. As we get into Hoima, we go over one of the speed breakers and the car stops running and won’t start. Something came loose, so now we are broken down in the middle of Hoima. Yep, this trip is off to a great start.
Today is one of those really hot days so I pile out of the car that has become an oven and find a little shade in front of one of the shops. There an angel, the lady running the shop, saves my life by giving me a plastic chair to sit in so I wouldn’t have to stand up. Bishop takes off. Now, my hosts never seem to tell me what’s going on. If I ask them I usually get vague answer and am left knowing less than when I asked. So like Job, I start looking for a pot shad to scrape my sores. By this time, I’ve got and old song in my head with the line, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all”. I’m contemplating the sorry state that I find myself in; I’m hot, really hot, broken down on the side of the road, I’ve just reached a new level of dirty, I’m covered in red dust, I haven’t had a real bath in a week, didn’t even get rinsed off last night or this morning, I stink, all I have to drink is hot water, and I have no idea what the plan is now or what’s going on.
Bishop Iraka shows up 30 minutes later with a guy who has a pair of pliers and some wire. I’m thinking. “This should be interesting. This old car needs everything redone and he has a piece of wire, about a foot long, and a pair of pliers.” 20-30 minutes of fiddling with stuff and he finds the problem. It’s a worn out car, everything is a problem, so oops there’s another problem. Finally, the car is back running. Bishop’s wife shows up with his suitcase and we’re ready to get this show back on the road. All the while I’m wondering where we might breakdown next. There are a lot worse places in Africa to be broken down than in a town.
As we leave Hoima, we get back to dirt roads with the ruts, pot holes, and random piles of dirt acting as speed breaks. Then the teaser, one of the best roads I’ve been on in Africa, but all good things have to come to an end. It rained yesterday so now this road was just mud holes and deep ruts from the big trucks and large buses. TIA.
Everything can become a new adventure, and this does. This old car was built low to the ground when it was new and now, with no rear shocks, we are dragging the ground as we go through mud holes, over humps, and through ruts. I’m thinking that we are going to lose the gas tank or the whole rear end sooner or later. There’s an old saying that God takes care of fools, well he took care of us. We only got stuck once but God provide us with some help and we made it through. A little advice, never do long trips in worn out vehicles in Africa; it may seem like a better idea than taking a bus but it’s not. If the vehicle has good shocks go for it but otherwise do a bus or taxi van.
Just one more long drive left before I fly home, Masindi to Kampala. The road is all paved just a million speed bumps. No problem,