Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cassava, lemons and meat!

Well, I've made it to Gulu, just starting to get settled in. After a few days in Kampala and a few brief briefings, I was picked up at 7:00 on Wednesday to begin the 5.5 hour journey north to Gulu. There was only two of us, the driver and myself, so conversation was little. Though the scenery was fantastic, rolling green hills dotted with farmers working their fields.

Midway through the trip, we stopped in a bustling town, and were soon swarmed with people selling freshly grilled corn, cassava, skewers of meat, cold Fanta - all were the same, you just had to pick which cassava seller you were going to buy from.

I changed drivers - a "kiss" operation for long drives - and continued north. After sharing his cassava with me (which is like a dry potato, shaped much like a sweet potato, only longer and white), we stopped in another town where we were again surrounded by sellers; this time my driver bought fresh corn on the cob, which was much drier - but equally delicious - than sweet white (juicy) corn I was familiar with.

After a bit, we came across a large, raging river, so wide and complicated, it took me a while to figure out which direction the river was flowing (west).

Shortly thereafter, past the river, my driver was telling me about the baboons he had seen hanging around the road when he had come by earlier on the way to meet with me. No sooner had he mentioned the large monkeys that we found ourselves swerving in the road to avoid missing them as they went on their afternoon stroll down the pavement. One was literally 5 feet away from my window as we pulled over to take a pictures. As we continued north, I was told that the land to my left was a national park, where one could find elephants, giraffes and hippos. It was amazing the contrast between the two sides of the road - to the west, a deep, thick jungle dense with sounds and forrest; to the east, flat, uninspiring farmlands. To see the contrast only provided one's imagination with an inkling of what the land must have been like before the heavy deforestation in the form of farms.

I look forward to what other adventures (and animals!) I will find throughout Uganda!

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