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Talitha and Cassia in Uganda



Talitha, Cassia, and Tim in Uganda


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Talitha writes:
The school term came to an abrupt end on August 10th, and Sabina sent its students home. Born out of an effort to keep children from spending their whole lives in an institution, Sabina is run like a boarding school, and on term holidays the children are all sent to whatever family members or friends they have. There is a group of children with absolutely no one to turn to, who all stay in the home bored over holidays But there is another group as well, children who have families they would love to see, yet no means of raising the money for transportation. I sat with Aunt Deborah looking at a list of these children, and we puzzled over what to do. I offered to take one particular child, Stella, to her home, and Deborah immediately raised her objections: It's too far. The road is too bad. It goes through a dangerous forest. You'll never get back. One vehicle goes there per day, and it spends the night before it comes back. You can't go!
I, of course, took this as a challenge, and found myself some willing travel companions. Disguising the entire endeavor as a P7 class trip, we made arrangements to drive there the next day.
Tim writes:
Kasensero is a small town on the shores of Lake Victoria with a cannery that preserves the locally famous Nile Perch. Fishing boats come in every day with the night's haul and sell the fish to the market buyers. In order to see them at their arrival, our trip started at 6 AM. The journey took 2.5 hours, due to the condition of the roads rather than the distance. This was the first time we had really left the beaten track, and we enjoyed the long stretches of road without any man-made interruptions.
Talitha writes:
Of all the places I've been, the road to Kasensero was the most like Storybook Africa. Mist rose from the ground as our truck rattled down the endles road, the children singing their morning prayers in the back of the truck. We saw monkeys. We saw ancient men emerging from the forest carrying armloads of medicinal herbs. We saw occasional vehicles, most of them fish trucks headed for a delivery. We dropped Stella and her brother off on the road near Kasensero, to walk or get a ride to their home over the Tanzanian border (we muzungus decided not to go to the border with our expired Ugandan visas). We proceeded down the road, and arrived at the ramshackle town of Kasensero well after most of the boats had put-putted back to shore.
The local industry is a strange mixture of hi-tech and low-tech materials. Most boats have outboard motors, but all of the nets we saw were held down by bags of rocks, and held up by similar plastic-bag floaters. There is a complex factory there, with many stages of production, but the fishheads and other waste from the factory are given to local women who dry them in the sun to make chicken food. There appear to be quite a few affluent businessmen around, but everyone else seems dirt poor.
Tim writes:
After driving all the way here, we decided we couldn't return home empty-handed, so the bargaining began. After three different boats tried to charge us double based on our muzungu status, we hid in the back of the truck and Uncle Ddembe took the cash and went shopping. Ten minutes later, two boys came to the truck struggling with a 35 lb perch. Everyone ate well that evening!

The trip Truck o' fun
The trip
lush, scrubby land as far as the eye can see
Truck o' fun
at hour 2, we were getting tired.
One of the hundreds of boats fishers with their catch
One of the hundreds of boats
fishers with their catch
the weighing/buying station bait
the weighing/buying station
fishheads, drying in the sun Is this one big enough?
fishheads, drying in the sun
Is this one big enough?
Our fish we tied him on the side of the truck for the journey home
Our fish
we tied him on the side of the truck for the journey home

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