January 21, 2024. This is the second blog post today. I signed off this morning at the 2 Friends Hotel heading out with our trusty driver, Mr. Zuwa who arrived at 9:00AM and did an excellent job getting me to Mutukula, having arrived about 3:00PM. We arrived in Karagwe about 5:00, headed to Bishop’s new home and greeted Mecktilida John who cares for the home and those in it. The journey here was not easy given that the road itself is dotted with potholes – some the size of Montana – and the way is long. But I got to know Mr. Zuwa more and had a good time letting the reality of (almost) being in Karagwe sink in.
There are a couple of things about the road that I want to share with you:
- It is very dusty. Those of you who have been here know what I am talking about. The fine red dust is everywhere leaving a residue on the naturally deep green leaves of the banana shrubs and becoming part and parcel of every bit in our vehicle. The red dust permeates everything including the stitching on my sandals, the inner circle of my earrings and of course, everywhere in the car. I can only imagine what it does to one’s nasal passages and lungs.
- Everyone learns to navigate the road. People of all ages with all kinds of reasons to be doing so. On our first journey here in 2008, I was struck with how toddlers seemed to know how to walk on a road with buses and cars and scooters (“pikipikis”) whizzing by. Some are with an older child or adult but some are not. Some of the businesses make me chuckle. I especially liked the sign on a building that read: “Chapel, Cafe, Rolexes”. I’ve included some photos below of scenes on the road (below).
Zuwa and I stopped at the Equator, ate a couple of samosas and imbibed in a “real” Coke. We chatted about family, childhoods growing up and hopes and dreams for today and the future.
Waiting to greet us at the Mutukula border was the Karagwe team of Dean Wakami, Merabu Birakashekwa and our driver, James Kaunda. What a welcome sight! I had not seen any of these friends since 2020. Merabu accompanied me through the Tanzanian visa process which was nice. We picked up another traveler from Kayanga and upon exit, we made the last bit of way to Karagwe.
It is like coming home. Familiar places and faces appear with greater frequency. The banks, the stores, the hotels, the service buildings. It’s all here. And it’s growing. After a quick stop at the side of the road for bottled water and sweet bananas, James brought us all to Bishop’s residence where we took a few photos and toured the home with Mecktilida. Accurate arrived and after a long and wonderful reconnection, offered me tea and dinner. Sophia arrived a bit later and ate dinner with me (chicken, chips with eggs and peppers, rice and beef soup). We caught up a little but will have many more chances after today.
It’s 11:30PM here. I am a little tired from the trip so will sign off and upload some photos. Thanks for tuning in. See you tomorrow.
Team Karagwe so far: James, Mecktilida, Merabu and Dean Wakami.
Jan & Accurate
Sophia Kanyamwenge and Jan