There are cities that you can walk and get to most of the places you'd like to go. Washington, D.C. can be like that and we spent a lovely day in Boston once just wandering around. Growing up in Los Angeles with communities like Manhattan Beach and Pasadena walking around could be enjoyable but most of LA is for driving. Oh sure once you got to the shopping mall you walk around but then you get back in your car and drive away. Here in Uganda, Jinja (our local town) is a good place for a walk, Kampala however requires a vehicle.
We showed up on a holiday weekend (Ugandan Independence Day) at the national stadium (home of the Uganda Cranes Soccer Team) to meet our friend who was going to show us around. Of course when we made the plans we had no idea about any celebration or that the Cranes were playing Togo's national team that day. Needless to say traffic was a mess. So much so that the taxi bringing us into the city took a preemptive detour up into the dirt roads of the outlying villages to avoid the gridlock. Skip ahead to the end of the day, getting out of the city equally put LA traffic to shame. Several times en route the driver would frustratingly turn off the engine while we waited for traffic to progress. When we drove through from the airport two months ago at 2 am the drive took an hour; Saturday's challenge took four.
While in the city our friend took us to an authentic Mexican restaurant near the American Embassy. The taste of home was definitely a check in the win column for us. To complete our adventure in the big city we went to a bookstore for homeschool supplies, a fresh bakery for treats for the children, a grocery store for hard to get items, and the KFC franchise in Uganda for take-away dinner. Each of these destinations required driving to individual shopping centers. Our friend was very generous to taxi us around the city. We spent a lot of time negotiating crosstown traffic. You need a car in Kampala just to get around but mostly you're sitting in your car waiting to go. Like living in Los Angeles without the near-sighted boda-boda drivers banging into your car every time traffic stalls.
We were gone 12 hours, classmates looked out for the children, and accomplished very little. But it is important for assessment to know all available resources. That is a standard in community development and in raising a family. Without knowing what is available to you will limit your ability to expect a higher standard. If we didn't think our children had the capacity to do hard things we would never have come to Africa. But we all read and were challenged by a book that said not only are hard things possible but that we should seek them out. We challenge you, maybe it's enough to just do the next thing or maybe there is a bigger next thing that you need to seek out. Keep moving forward. Don't turn your engine off and sit until life starts up again.
Thank you for making it possible for us to do the hard things. If you've missed any of our previous posts check our site at clarks2africa.blogspot.com.