Regina Photographer – Mzungus on Parade
The last two days were spent working at the Watoto baby home- I don’t know if I can call it ‘work’ to cuddle with adorable wee babes all day… We have had such an amazing time so far getting to know the staff, other volunteers, and of course, the main attraction- those beautiful babies!
Today we ventured out during our lunch break to the Uchumi (a Ugandan supermarket) in the mall for some samosas- which were DELICIOUS, and cost us about 50 cents. My brother came with us to the baby home today, so heading to the mall with myself, was my sister, brother, mom and a couple other volunteers. You wouldn’t believe the attention one mzungu gets, let alone a parade of mzungu! Mzungu, pronounced muh-zoon-goo, by the way, is what the Ugandans call us white folks. We ‘Frogger’ed our way through the traffic just fine on the way there, but on the way back, a few kind souls even stopped traffic for us to allow the mzungu parade to cross.
Many people have asked us if we have gone for a boda-boda ride yet (Uganda motorcycle taxis that are EVERYWHERE and weave so sketchily in and out of traffic), to which our response has been, “No, and no thank you.” On our 30 minute walk to Watoto Central from the baby home, we witnessed WHY we will continue to say, “no thank you”… A couple things to note about boda-bodas:
1. You can carry at least 4 passengers or more on a single boda.
2. You can also carry goods such as a car windshield, about 40 live chickens, or whatever else you can think up, alongside at least 3 passengers.
3. They are crazy, crazy, CRAZY drivers with no regard for traffic laws- well, I guess that can be said of ALL Ugandan drivers.
4. They are of the belief that if you are headed down a hill, you don’t need to waste gas by having the motor running. Instead, use the momentum of heading down the hill to propel you, saving you on gas costs. We believe it is actually costing them more to turn it on each time than if they had left it on, but they have not yet asked us our opinion…
This afternoon we witnessed a truck changing lanes, with a boda-boda coming up beside it. The boda driver could have EASILY hit his brakes, to prevent incident, but because he was headed downhill, and did not want to lose that free ride momentum, he got sandwiched between the truck, and the curb- about 6 feet from where we were walking. So needless to say, there were a few mzungu diving out of the way on the sidewalk as the sparks between the boda-boda and the pavement flew… About 10 minutes after that, we witnessed a hit and run accident caused entirely by a psychotic boda-boda driver, who hit the front of a car, busting off most of the front bumper IN FRONT OF THE POLICE STATION. The boda driver then proceeded to speed off through traffic, as the policemen who were on the street looked on. I tell you, I wish that I had a Go-Pro camera for this trip to just put on as we walk down the street, as every day is an adventure, who knows what tomorrow will bring!!