Boda bandits and volleyball

Today’s ride was for Namukisa Miriam – one who was sponsored by the silent auction.

It felt like another very lazy day – at least this morning. We woke up to a wonderful breakfast and spent the morning packing our bikes, trying to get our laundry dry, and relaxing, truly not wanting to leave such a lovely place. The skies were overcast so we kept our rain jackets handy today, but really there was no need. We barrelled down the mountain that seemed so huge two days before and the vendors that served us our cold drinks on our way up saw us coming and shared a mutual cheer. We are very easy to recognize and it was fun to share a moment with them.

We made it to Kumi but it ended up being about 43 miles instead of the 32 we thought it would be, about one third of that on dirt. It was supposed to be a pretty simple day but in Uganda, you just never know what you’ll run into. We saw a group of about 20 professional runners doing some kind of race with a solo runner who got dropped about 150 feet behind. I cheered extra loud for him as I could relate 100% to the feeling.

The gravel section was special as always as we get to see the rural life of the people and they show their surprise and enthusiasm at every turn. It truly must be strange for them to see white people with loaded bikes roll through their communities. There was one twenty-something with his friend on a boda boda who rode along side us too closely and for far too long, harassing John to give him money. Eventually John wore down his aggression with smiles and fist bumps and by pretending he didn’t understand the seriousness of the guy’s demands. We pushed hard through the next town to just get some space.

We stopped for a pop and some chips at an empty gas station. John joked with the merchant that the bike trip was a weight-loss program and the lady said that she wants to get a bicycle so she could lose weight also. The people there were pretty interested in looking at our bikes, especially because our tires are as wide as the ones that the motorcycle taxis use.

Rolling into Kumi, we discovered a huge volleyball tournament just down the street. After we got a bit settled and had a shower we walked down to check out the action. There were 10 courts spray painted onto the field and level of play was phenomenal, by both the men and the women. It seems the whole community came out to watch and there were people selling shaved ice and pop. There are quite a few players staying in our hotel tonight and it’s funny how teenagers and young adults are the same around the world. They value their friends, they flirt, they drink, they have loud conversations and enjoy life deeply. Tomorrow we ride around 30 miles into Soroti. I wonder what we will see.