I left off just as I discovered that we will be traveling at night to a small town called Aduku which is about four hours to the northwest. We are going to travel in a small SUV, a Rave. The African version of a Rave is even smaller then the ones that we have in America. There are five of us stuck in this thing; two in the front seats and three in a SMALL back seat.
Well here we go, it’s about 5:30 pm and I think we are on our way but nothing goes like you are thinking that it’s going to. As we are getting ready to leave, I notice that our driver is playing musical tires. That’s where you start switching out tires from another vehicle trying to find a good spare tire for your trip. I did find comfort in knowing that we had the best tire that was available for our trip. Oops, forgot this is Africa.
We finally get on our way but at 6:00 pm in Kampala, you can walk faster than you can drive. Of course you would never try that, there is some small measure of safety by being in a car, at least that is what I keep telling myself. Kampala traffic during rush hour is a lot like a really large ant hill that someone has kicked over and then stirred up just to make sure the ants are really happy. We finally get clear of the Kampala traffic, kind of. You can no longer walk faster but I think that a good jog would still put you in the lead.
A couple of hours out of Kampala, we stop to get some petrol and the good feeling that I’ve had about the spare tire is dashed, all this time it’s been flat! It was the best looking tire but not a tire that had air in it, just the best looking, TIA.
We are finally on our way. I’m not sure where we are going but we are on our way. After about 30 minutes of travel we stop again to buy some minutes for Rev Medad’s phone. In Uganda you don’t do phone contracts, you buy time as you need it. Now to be honest with you, you’re not buying time but shillings, that’s their money. Now I’ve tried to find out how much time you get when you have, say, 10,000 shillings put on your phone but no one can tell me that. They keep telling me, “Until you run out.” TIA.
So now it’s getting dark and I notice that the windows in the back where I’m sitting have a very dark tint, which is nice during the day but at night not so much. Since driving in Uganda seems like one long game of chicken in which you can’t help but imagine that you might die at any moment as a big truck or bus or a taxi van runs into you head on, I choose to stare out through the front windows thinking I would rather see it coming. The problem with that is that when they miss you, God only knows how, and you look out your side window, it’s like you’ve changed worlds. Your vision is cut down to two thirds of what it was and the headlights on the cars go from bright yellow to a dark black green. It makes you feel like your living in a science fiction movie. All that’s missing is an alien monster that’s consuming everything.
After a while you begin to have a kind of split vision where you see one world out of one eye and another world out of your other eye. It’s all very confusing and my jet lag doesn’t seem to be helping me keep up.
After some time, I’m not sure how long because jet lag overcame any self preservation instinct and I’ve actually been napping… by the way when I wake up, it takes a few minutes for my eyes to stop bouncing around in my head and focus, and of course I have that where-am-I-and-what’s-happening feeling that takes a while to figure out. My I’ve-woken-up-on-another-planet feeling is quickly confirmed with one glance out the dark side windows.
About the time my eyes stop bouncing or twitching and I’m able start seeing again, we are stopping, not sure why. Oh, we are stopping for food. We grab some chapatis and some drinks and off we go. But after awhile Rev. Medad asks our guide, the bishop, “Where are we?” He says we are maybe here or there but it won’t be long now. It’s now 9:30 pm and at first I get excited that we will be where we are going soon, but ever so slowly the reality sinks in that TIA and there is a high probability that we are not going to be any where soon.
It’s 30 or 45 minutes since we stopped for food but now we are stopping for gas, not sure why we didn’t get gas while we stopped for food. We were at a gas station/food/restaurant. TIA. However by this time I’m very grateful for any chance to get of the car since everything aches, so I put it down as God’s love for me.
Off we go again. As we near the Nile river, lots of baboons are sitting on the side of the road looking for handouts, at night. That’s weird. You would think that they would be sleeping. Looking through the dark black green windows seeing baboons whizzing by just inches away you really begin to think maybe you have traveled to an alien planet.
After we cross the Nile and take a few turns, I begin to have a bad feeling. Shortly we come to the fact of the matter at hand; WE ARE LOST, WE DON’T KNOW WHERE WE ARE. We must have missed our turn so back to the Nile and we start over. Once again we find ourselves Lost, by now it’s really late, 1-1:30 am. Now we have been, or I should say they have been, on the phone trying get directions but for some reason we keep winding up lost. We go through the same routine several times, look for this sign, turn left, turn right, no you must have taken a wrong turn. Now we have to get gas again! No we haven’t driven that far and no the car doesn’t get that bad of gas mileage. In Africa they usually only put small amounts of gas in at a time. TIA. Yes, we tried to get directions from the guy at the gas station. Lost again.
We stopped two guys walking. I think that we scared them because they almost took off running, but after much reassurance they finally give us directions. You know the kind: go to there to somewhere, turn right, go till you get there, then turn left, go till there. Now I’m pretty sure that these guys have no idea where they are sending us and they just want to get rid of us. Our guide, the bishop, says that the reason they didn’t want to talk to us was that they where former rebels. Maybe they did know where they were sending us and it might not be good. At this point, I’m saying over and over, “I’m in Christ, this is His story. I’m in Christ, this His story. I’m in Christ, this his story.”
This will go on for about two hours. All this time we have been in contact with a gentleman that’s trying to help us get where we are going, where ever that is. As it’s getting later and later, we are getting more desperate with each new lost adventure. Our bishop guide sees some men sitting around drinking. It’s 2:00 in the morning and one of them is dancing to a tune that only he hears. Now I know that there are a lot of things that I don’t understand or know about Africans, but I’m pretty sure that this is a universal truth; Drunk guys at two in the morning are not a good source for directions. I don’t think that these guys could find their own way home let alone get us where we need to be. By the way I was right. Lost again.
Now about this time the guy on the phone taps out, he has no idea where we are at, we’ve been driving around northern UGANDA for a couple of hours pretty much lost. Me, I’m in Christ, this is His story, I’m in Christ, this is His story, over and over.
The gentleman that tapped out hands us off to another gentleman and after some more driving around he finally thinks he knows where we are and he sends us to find another turn that will will finally get there, where ever there is. Me, I’m in Christ. When we find the right turn we find a sign that says that it’s 35 km to the town we are trying to get to, that’s about 23 miles.
NOW we have a discussion about gas. We might not have enough Gas!! You’ve got to be kidding me! It’s 2:30 in the morning somewhere in northern Uganda and we might run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, actually we would need to get somewhere in order to be nowhere. We take a quick tour of the village that’s at this crossroad hoping to find something open where we might be able to get a little gas. Sometimes in the small villages you can buy gas from small shops. They sell gas by the bottle, small water bottles and 1 lite bottles mostly to motorcycles which they call Bodabodas. No such luck, back to the crossroad where we are to begin what will be the last leg of our journey. We will get to where we are going or we will be out of gas in the middle of nowhere in northern Uganda, but the journey will shortly be over for tonight.
As we pull up at our turn off, we look at the sign and check with our guide on the phone to be sure it’s the correct turn. We now have no room for error; the little yellow gas pump light comes on, you know the light that reminds you that you’re fixing to run out gas very shortly. At 2:30 am in the middle of nowhere that little light sure does get your attention. Now being a highly spiritual person, I’m hoping that His story does not include running out of gas on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere where there are former rebels still wandering around in the night.
It’s funny all the weird random thoughts you can have, I’ll leave that to your imagination but trust me, very weird, very random. Let your imagination run wild, mine sure did. I’m still saying to myself, “I’m in Christ, this is His story.” I’ve now add “His gas”, I mean “His grace is sufficient in all things.” And it is, there is always enough.
We finally reach our destination around 3:30 am and we need to be up around 7:00 am to get a shower and get ready to preach to a gathering of Anglican clergy. My room resembles a cell; very small, one small window and a cot. As I’m laying in bed trying to go to sleep, it’s hard to go to sleep while you are sweating, I’m thinking, “This should be interesting. I will have had about 10 or 11 hours of sleep in the last 3 days and I’m still a little jet lagged.” Oh, I almost forgot, I’m in Christ and Christ is in me living His story. I finally fall asleep with those words on auto repeat in my mind.