Monday, September 05, 2005

Bits and Pieces – Impressions from Uganda – Part VI


The family failed to protect him. So did his community. His country and its mighty army. The international community wasn’t much of a help either. When it came hard to hard he was by himself. He was alone when the rebels came to take him away. It was up to him to take decisions, which decided about life and death. His life and his death. And he is alone now. He has to decide if he stays with the rebels and tries to stay alive. Or if he takes the risk and tries to escape. He knows the punishment for attempted flights if you get caught. You are brutally killed. Not just shot but clubbed to death by your fellow abductees. How can he ever have trust in his family, his community, his state and its army or the international community again. They failed once when it came to his protection. Who guarantees that they will do better the next time.

Sunday. The day of the bungee chicken. I have to go down to Ft. Portal and Kasese. That’s in the west of Uganda, at the foot of the Rwenzories, the famous Mountains of the Moon (I think it was Ptolomy some two thousand years ago who first told the world outside Africa about them). It is a nice and sunny day and I am really looking forward to the journey. It is quite a long trip – probably eight hours in the car – but it passes through some of the nicest parts of the country. And even before I get off the main road, I can already enjoy some funny scenes from Uganda’s daily life. Especially on Sundays you find many people on the roads. They are walking to church, to friends and relatives, they are standing along the roads and chat with each other, buy or sell things, wait for the busses or just sit in the shade and enjoy their day off. The scene I like most about being on the road on Sundays is that you see many people bringing chickens to the markets. Sunday is the day when people afford to eat meat. So who ever wants to sell chicken tries to do so on the week-ends. And in rural Africa chicken are always sold alive. With the heat in the tropics the meat would get spoiled too soon if already slaughtered in the morning. So the birds have to be brought to the market somehow. But how? Well, nothing easier than that. Tie their legs and then hang them up-side down from your bike. On some bikes you just see two or three, on others you see as many as 20 or more. It looks funny. I wonder if the chickens like it? And I wonder if the chickens could understand that thrill- seeking people from other parts of the planet pay quite a bit of money to do something similar?

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