A Travelling Story

Den_breejen_2011 Posted by Aart and Geesje den Breejen on Mon, 08 Jul 2013 | 1 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Saturday travels

Saturday morning; washing going (still love having my 20 year-old washing machine here in Arua!), boys playing around the house, Anne Fleur and Lisa gone to town with their niece and cousin. A different setting from last week when we were on the bus from Kampala to Arua.

Anne Fleur and I had accompanied Femmy down south. Femmy volunteered for 5 months with us, doing home schooling, and she flew back to the Netherlands last Saturday night. It was great to have Femmy (or Family as Lisa would call her) with us for that time. While we were waiting for the bus in Kampala the next morning, to go home, we received a text from her telling that she arrived well at Schiphol. We still had the 8 hours journey ahead of us.

Bus travel in Uganda causes mixed feelings of excitement, “how will it go this time?” and “getting too old for this, have seen it, done it”. There are advantages: it’s cheap, you don’t have to do the driving yourself. But there are disadvantages too: its hot and long. The chairs are covered with sticky plastic. The window next to us does not open. Parents do not pay for their children as long as they sit on their lap. However, kids (and their mums) soon get tired of that and the children end up squeezed between other passengers. When there’s just two of you travelling, it’s best to book two seats in a row together instead of three seats so that you can have the two chairs to yourselves. Even though that means that that you travel on the sunny (red hot) side of the bus on the way back up North.

Next to me, on the other side of the corridor, sits Deng. Well, part of him, his long legs end up next to the seat in front of him where he sticks them in the corridor next to a large Lugbara lady. The length of Dinka legs keep amazing me, even after the 4 years I worked there. Doesn’t look like a comfortable position but Deng is not bothered, it seems. It’s a nice surprise to sit next to a Dinka from Bor County, southern Sudan. It turns out that we know many folks from Bor in common.

Deng only left Sudan in 2010 while I left in 2002. Old uncle Abraham Kon is still alive I learn and so before we know we’ve been on the road for a couple of hours. Anne Fleur reads her book and runs to buy a drink or snack as soon as the bus stops for a short call at a petrol station. I keep drinks to the minimum to avoid needing these squatting pit latrine sanitary stops experiences.

Then the Congolese music starts. Plus video clips. Terrible. Wished that system was out of order instead of the ill-functioning opening and closing of windows. The good side of not having an open window is that you don’t get all the roasted goat meat poked right under your nose when the bus stops for a few minutes alongside the road. Chapaties, roasted bananas and sesame cookies are fine. Dried fish, roasted liver and the like are not so much to my taste.

Back home I am very thankful for safe arrival. Road accidents and deaths are still many in Uganda. However, 10 years ago it was not possible to travel with a single bus to Kampala at all, you had to go in convoy, due to the LRA presence in the park where you go through. Nowadays there are several busses coming and going during day and night time. We thank God that He has brought us thus far and pray for Uganda that peace and development may continue.

When you stay home this summer holidays, have a good time and when you go places…safe journey!


Aart and Geesje den Breejen

More from Aart and Geesje den Breejen?


Barbara Cottier said Tue, 30 Jul 2013 01:47PM
Your description of the journey brings back memories of bus journeys I've made - not to Arua from Kampala but from Kampala to Kasese (Kagando Hospital) and then back in a little more comfort in the Post Bus. Mostly when I came to Arua in recent years I flew up, and then on the last journey to Kampala (via Paraa Losge) I was with Laceys. I'm glad all is well with the den Breejens.

Add your own comment