The World Turned Upside Down
Location: second story of the Commercial Court in our workroom. Out the window, I see thick, black, billowing smoke rising to the sky not very far from here. We hear loud bangs in the distance. Marie insists that they are gunshots but I don't believe her. A short while later I am walking down the street. I hear the bangs again, this time closer, and I see a large group of people running away from that direction. I ask a passing woman what is going on. She tells me that there is a riot at Kisekka market. I decide to walk the other way rather than risk getting shot.
Location: rafting down the Nile River. We are closing in on a rapid. Jummah our guide gives us instructions before we head in. "This next one is a Grade 4 rapid called Silverback. It is shallow, so when we flip, keep your feet up so that they don't get smashed on the rocks." I ask him "when we flip? No if we flip?" Jummah laughs. We approach the rapid. Jummah yells "hard forward!" We begin paddling with all our strength. Jummah yells "hold on and get down!" We grab on to the rope and kneel inside the raft. The first wave hits and the raft is lifted so that it is perpendicular to the water. Luckily we don't flip and crash back onto the water. The second wave hits and this time I find myself submerged under water. There is utter confusion. I resurface a few seconds later, cough out the Nile water in my lungs and try to breath. The rapid carries me down the river at a great speed. I catch my breath and I see Mike in the water. He points to the direction of the boat, which is now lying upside down in the water. Jummah flips it and we pull ourselves back in. We continue our 20 mile trip down the river.
Location: small wooden boat on Lake Victoria. We are closing in on a small fishing village across the lake from Jinja. A child on the shore sees our boat approaching and runs towards us. Quickly, more children are gathered at the shore singing "Mzungu! Mzungu!" the local word for "white person". By the time we reach the shore, over 30 children are waiting there to greet us. They grab our hands and follow us as our guide tells us a bit about the village. We show the children our cameras and they can't get enough. They pose for pictures and mob you to see themselves on the screen after you take one. I showed them that my camera also takes video and they started pushing each other around trying to be on camera. We got back in the boat to leave and the children all gathered on the shore, waving at us and shouting goodbye.
Location: Luwum Street. Insanity. That is the only word to describe this place. The streets are packed with a ridiculous amount of people. Somehow cars and pedestrians coexist in these narrow streets. At the same time several buildings are under construction along the same street so that work trucks are parked alongside the road. There is a never ending flow of people. Entire buildings, 3 or 4 stories high are devoted to selling T-shirts. You walk inside and there are hundreds of smaller stores inside each of these buildings. The taxi park is also located here. It is a huge pit, several acres in size, full from wall to wall with taxi vans. The taxis are packed so tightly together that I don't even know how they can maneuver, but somehow they manage.