Lost Phones and Rollercoasters.

So today I knew I had received a package in the mail that contained my new phone I ordered from America then had my wonderful mom send over here (it came with lots of other goodies as well, thanks mom and or any others that contributed!). But in order go and retrieve it from the post office I first had to head to where all the matatu’s (15 passenger taxi) meet in my village. They all leave at 8am so I ate a quick breakfast and headed off with my backpack and raincoat.

I was lucky and found a taxi as it was leaving (sometimes you end up waiting for 40 minutes before it leaves). In the taxi I found myself sitting next to a mother and her two young kids, one little boy and a little girl, probably around 2 and 4 respectively. Seeing me and clearly never seeing someone so much of a lighter shade than them they just stared in amazement. At first they were hesitant to get too close but I sent out my hand to pledge that I come in peace with a friendly handshake. The mom smiled and I shook her hand as I said hello in the local language, she replied in English smiling with a hint of laughter. Her two kids were smiling ear to ear and just so happy, every time the taxi hit one of the large bumps provided by the dirt road the taxi turned into their own private roller coaster. The backdrop of rolling hills and lush green landscapes that appeared outside the taxi’s windows wasn’t nearly as beautiful as their two smiles, and trust me, the scenery here is breathtaking.

The younger of the two however was far more interested in investigating me and why I looked so unlike the rest of the taxi goers. As he investigated further he reached over with his little hand and touched my arm as in an attempt to see if it had a different feel than his own. His mom lit up a big smile and looked at me and she said “that one is most stubborn”. I just smiled back and said “it is most okay”.

When we reached their destination they all climbed out of the taxi and as the two little kids were waiting for their mom to pay I looked at them and said “musibigye” (meaning have a good day, but probably not spelled correctly). They smiled back and waved as they walked away from the taxi and on to what they came there for.

I proceeded on to the post office, in total about an hour of travel, to retrieve my new phone. After I picked up the package I went and met a friend at a nearby restaurant for some food and obviously to unpack my new phone. I quickly got my new phone working and started playing with it as any child does a new toy until the food came out. Food is always first, even over new toys. After eating and taking some random pictures I hit up the super market real quick before going on to find a taxi that runs through my village. The good thing is I know most of the taxi drivers that run through my village, Kashenshero, and so it’s pretty easy to find a taxi. These taxis are not the matatus but are cars. And this time I was lucky enough to be able to get the front seat where you are far less stuffed than when you get shoved into the back seat.

Now the road that goes from the bigger city, Ishaka, to my village is paved for about the first mile, then you turn off onto a dirt road that runs through the sweeping hills of southwest Uganda. This road is not exactly what you would call smooth, especially during the rainy season. Most of the cars that travel back and forth on said road look and sound like they just competed in a demolition derby…and lost. But despite belief they always seem to make it. And as it were in the middle of the raining season it was pouring down raining as I got home. This caused me to open the door, grab my bag and rush to my house to stay as dry as one can in a down pouring of rain.

In all of this commotion my new phone must have fallen out of my pocket and onto the front seat. I failed to notice this as I was attempting to stay dry in a sprint to my house. But as I’m putting everything away I notice my phone isn’t anywhere in sight. At first I just assume I misplaced it because that happens about 6 to 45 times a day. As all my normal places of misplacement are turning up empty I slowly start to be more and more panicked. The thought pops into my head of it being in the taxi somewhere. My first thought is that the phone is just gone forever, even if the driver were to find it he probably isn’t overly concerned about bringing it back, I mean, it’s not an overly cheap phone.

Trying to think of ways to contact him but just drawing blanks I start to get ready to head to my neighbor’s house to see what he thinks the best course of action is in hopes of retrieving the new (lost) phone. But as I am getting ready to head there I see the taxi pull up. Side note, car taxis here don’t look like taxis, they are just normal cars and no real indication they are a taxi. So I want to believe it’s him but I know that is optimistic. But as I’m peering out the window to see if it is him I see a man come running from the car and it’s the driver! He drove back after finding my phone in the front seat, and as he is running towards my house he just has the biggest smile on his face. I’m 114% sure it made him much happier doing that for me than I was getting my phone back, which was my favorite part of this whole thing. I wanted to thank him so much but also so caught off guard and neither of us wanted to stand in the rain I just said thank you over and over, so rapidly that he probably had no idea what I was saying, then he quickly ran back to his car. Needless to say I’m really excited for the next time I can see him so I can thank him the American way, with cash. Jk, well, somewhat.

But it really just goes to show you that as soon as you give up hope the unexpected happens. And that every day in Uganda can be completely full of surprises.

    “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Leonard Cohen


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