Muireann taking photos in Uganda


Mac Cool's Uganda Letter

Photographs and Stories by Muireann Mac Cool


B l o g

When it rains it pours

30 Aug 2006

Roads turn to rivers and taxi drivers hike their prices.

You have to careful what you wish for. When the sun was beating down in January I prayed for rain, sweet rain. If only it would rain. A few months later brought the first rains that mark the beginging of the rainy season (which incedently has lots of dry spells too). I was wholly unprepared.

The first day of heavy rain came out of a glorious morning with intense heat and pretty fluffy clouds. I was wearing trousers and a t-shirt and a pair of runners. I remember thinking when I went to India in Monsoon season that the rain there didn't have a patch on Ugandan rain. Memory is always a bit cloudy but when I saw and heard the first rains it was confirmed. Usually when there is rain most people stop trying to go anywhere and wait for it to stop but what do you when it won't?

I sat in work hoping it would stop when it reached time to go home but it didn't. I stood at the stage on the road and watched taxi after taxi pass me by. The pedestrians were passing too but the women cleverly tied small black bags over their heads to sheild their treated hair from the rain.

Lauren remembered she had an umbrella and although we were soaked to the bone if felt like a good idea to put it up. By now the roads had turned muddy with two rivers either side. We dediced to walk to the next stage which is the student hangout of Wandegeya. Big mistake. Adventure as it was, we found a crushing crowd and we could elbow our way through it into the taxi. The taxi fares they were calling out were 1,000/- instead of 500/-

We met a lovely girl, Pamela I think she called herself, that asked "shall we foot it to Mulago?" Why not we shrugged as we were wet enough already and what harm could there be in walking to the stage near the national hospital? The 10 minute walk kept us warm but by now my runners were soaked through and the crowd at Mulago appeared to be much larger than the previous stage. I could be wrong but were the taxi conductors screaming out 3,000/-?

"Shall we foot it to Kamwoyka?" Pamela asked sweetly, a geniunely lovely women that we were slowly by slowly bonding with over how to cross roads, avoid muddy pot holes and being splashed.This walk took twenty minutes and we were joined by a crowd of pedestrians either too poor to pay the fare or too weak to squeeze into the available seats. I felt like a refugee for a brief moment walking and not knowing when I would stop. Finally after a shortcut our little band reached the slum of Kamwoyka and we made our way to the market to pick a matatu. We battled our way onto a taxi and luckily the fare was only 500/- what it should have been minus the 40minute walk. I was so happy to be on dry land again once I reached Lauren's guesthouse that I soon forgot all about our adventureous ordeal. When it rains it deffinately pours here!

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