Bright Side of the Road

Bakers Posted by Paul and Tania Baker on Wed, 14 Oct 2015 | 2 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

The travel books say the most dangerous thing to do in Uganda is drive. I would agree. Many of the roads are horrendous. Officially, we drive on the left but in reality we drive on the best side. Also, the local driving style is not very British!

Even though Ugandans are generally the most polite people you will meet – it all changes when they’re behind the wheel. Driving is a battle – no one gives way to anyone – obeying rules is for the weak.

If the right hand indicator is flashing on the car in front it could mean: a) he is turning right, b) he is turning left, c) he has no plans to turn, or d) he would be very unhappy if you overtook him.

Our roles in the hospital involve driving to Kampala at least once a fortnight. We have to get parts for the workshop/medical equipment, meet with suppliers, buy groceries for the Guest House, buy supplies for the Fashion School etc. It’s a two-hour drive each way and virtually every trip is eventful.

Often, we get stopped by the Traffic Police, who try their best to find a law we are breaking. Then, they offer a mutually beneficial ‘short-cut’. On one occasion the officer claimed our car was too dirty! My response was, “It’s dry season! There is no water!” She waved me on. On several occasions we have told them to write a ticket as we will never line their pockets with ‘tea money’.

Security is tight in shopping centres due to frequent terrorist threats. The security men at the car park entrance are supposed to check our cars for guns etc., but they aren’t very thorough. On one occasion the security man opened the glove box, pointed inside and said; “there’s no bombs in here, right?” Without thinking I replied “No, the bomb is in the back.” We both laughed and he waved us on. The two Ugandans travelling with us didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or run away.

During our first year in Kiwoko we borrowed various cars. After breaking down one too many times, we asked our home church to help us buy our own vehicle. Their generosity blew us away and in 2012 we were able to buy a 4×4. This car has transformed our time here. Not only can we get to Kampala to buy essential supplies for our work, we can get away for a break now and again. It really is a God send.

One thing we make sure and do before any journey is pray. It’s something we would never think to do at home. A big lesson we have learned here is to include God in everything. People say driving here is taking your life into your hands. We find living in Uganda in general requires putting our lives solely in God’s hands.


PS. If you’re really interested, check out the video we made a few years ago: click here


gillian maganda said Fri, 16 Oct 2015 11:21AM
Loved the video of Tania's Top Gear spoof! Have you considered a change of career lol Praying for you guys xo
John said Mon, 09 Nov 2015 01:15PM
Great read Paul. If Top Gear are still looking for a female presenter then I say look no further than Mrs T. Baker! You inspired me to do a bit of research and I came across a great BBC article entitled: 'Uganda protestors fish in potholes'... An Old Irish Blessing for the Baker family as you drive in Uganda. May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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