August 5, 2011
by Jeff Rogers

Our trek across the Ugandan countryside was a long but interesting drive. We passed through dozens of small towns along the way.

You know you are approaching a village by changes in the roadway. Each small town is bounded by speed humps. There are two sets of four tightly packed speed bumps to slow drivers down to about 50 km/h and then one bigger and wider speed hump which requires less than about 30 km/h or all the bus occupants go airborne. Our average travel speed in open spaces is about 90 km/h (about 55 mi/h).

The straight-line roads between towns are asphalt one lane in each direction. They drive on the left side of the road here (a British colonial influence) which means the driver in on the right side of the vehicle. The left lanes of the roads leaving Tororo are very potholed and bumpy because of the weight of the trucks that leave there full from the cement factory. The right side is less potholed since they return empty.

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The towns are clusters of maybe twenty storefronts near the roadside. Typically there are shops for general supplies, food market, cell phone supplies, clothing, bicycle repair, a wood furniture maker, an iron works gate maker.

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There is also typically a meat butchery where slabs of animals are hanging in the open doorway or on racks.

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The wood maker is usually sawing logs and planing boards using hand tools. They typically have a range of wooden coffins leaning against the wall for sale, too.

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The countryside is very green, in general. There are many scrub trees in all directions and the ground is carpeted with green grasses and small leafy plants. In larger open spaces there are field crops of rice, bananas, coffee, tea, papaya, and corn, primarily. There are other crops which I cannot identify.

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In the field you will often see a few tall mounds of dirt maybe six feet tall or more. The dirt is freshly piled like someone just put it there. These are actually very large anthills with a very busy colony of ants inside. The people encourage these anthills as they consider the large ants a food delicacy. (Earlier in the week we were taught how, and offered a chance, to stir the nest by rubbing our thumb and fingers together…but we graciously declined).

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On the roadside there sometimes people chopping the weeds using special machetes with a sharpened bend tip. Many bicycles and motorbikes can be seen hauling materials and water.

We saw several baboons along the roadside (a few times) during our trek today.

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Our bus driver, Paul, uses his horn often and repeatedly to signal and warn people we are passing or coming through.

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