Whatever Works

Uganda has spectacular clouds

The people of Bududa are very resourceful. They have to be. They have limited options for things we take for granted – food, water, shelter, and clothing. Necessity may be the mother of invention, but limited options breed creativity and flexibility.

Water comes from streams, cisterns or distant wells called bore holes. The ubiquitous yellow plastic cans originally held paint. Now they hold water for drinking and bathing. Carrying one of these cans is hard work. They hold 20 liters and weigh 20 kilos/44 pounds.

A nearby stream supplies water for washing everything from clothes to motorcycles.

And clothing runs the gamut. Kids wear t-shirts and shorts or simple skirts or dresses

Women are sometimes seen in beautiful traditional outfits. They manage to do this without running water in their homes and pressing the clothes by using an old fashion iron that is filled with embers from a fire.

The little 125cc motorcycles called PiciPici’s are the transportation of choice if you are fearless and can afford the fare.

It is a little under two miles from the Guest House to the Bududa Vocational School. The PiciPici ride costs 1,000 or 2,000 Uganda Shillings depending on the driver, the road conditions, or how much the last tourist agreed to pay. 1,000 Uganda Shillings is approximately 28 cents US. I could fill an illustrated encyclopedia with pictures of passengers and goods transported on PiciPici’s.

Footing is the most common mode of travel for most people. Men, women, and children walk carring anything they need – water, firewood, sugar cane, and bananas – on their heads. It is actually much more comfortable than carry a heavy load in your arms or on your back.

Bicycles are loaded as though they have a motor, but manpower has to fill in for the missing horsepower. There are not too many bicycles in Bududa, and I have never seen a horse.

In the morning, we usually foot along the path that winds through the hills and along the river when going to school. It is beautiful, peaceful, and Piki-less.

It is an opportunity to see the simple activities of which life is composed.

At the end of the day, it is much hotter and the hilly, dusty dirt road seems much longer. An exciting ride on the back of a PiciPici is the way to go.

Except when it has rained! The potholes become puddles of indeterminate depth. The clay surface becomes a skating rink. I choose muddy shoes over slipping and sliding on two wheels.

I ended my earlier post about Contrasts, with a note saying the cost of a latte at Starbucks would feed a family in Uganda for a day. That is not correct. The cost of a latte would feed a local family for a week. Please take a caffeine break and visit Bududa.Org

Published by Ron Kanter

Professional documentary filmmaker Amateur woodworker Avid motorcycle rider

4 thoughts on “Whatever Works

  1. I am intrigued by your use of “footing” for walking. It’s very direct and clear. Is that what the locals say???

    Are the roads maintained (ha!) by any person or local agency? Or do they just exist following ancient patterns of footing from one place to another?


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