Tuesday, January 26
cycling tour day 4.
After dinner last night a womans group came and entertained all the guests with singing and dancing. It was fantastic. Fiesty older women, confident teenagers and very serious little girls. Their feet banging out the rhythm of the one male drummer, and their hips twisting at invisible speed.
Today we cycled 65kms. It was hard. Really, really hard. We set off early through cool low clouds - going up and up for a long long time. The scenery was spectacular, and Tim and I noticed a certain care for land and home in these parts we hadn't seen elsewhere. Everyone we saw was carrying a hoe to a field, houses neat and swept, none of the rubbish we have seen strewn around.
The entire journey had a constant sound track of children, occasionally they followed us. (Nothing like a hoard of 8 year olds chasing after you to give you the energy to climb a vicious hill!) One family we gave pens to, as there was only a reasonable amount of children around. It is impossible to give when there are so many kids as we don't nearly have enough. I have taken to frowning at kids who simply say "give me my money" in a growl, but this is a small percentage compared to the amount who shreik with excitement at the muzungu. One small toddler froze in absolute terror and ran away crying at the sight of us. I dont know if it is our white skin or that we just looked a fright from the high descent we had made on a bicycle!
We stopped to rest in a town with so, so many children.They all looked so poor. At one point we were surrounded by 50 (I counted) staring at us, quietly whispering to each other. As you can imagine it was incredibly uncomfortable - feeling like a cross between a celebrity and a freak show. Everywhere people often stop in their tracks to stare at us. I gave staring back a go - it seems to work for the kids, not the adults. Mostly adults have been nice though. They hold an expression which is stoney and worn - but with a respectful nod and smile perhaps "oli otya" from us a warm smile, even laugh at our attempt at Lugandan and a wave is returned.
I almost fainted when we arrived in Kasese. I was dehydrated, and bloody tired, and as it turned out, sunburnt, despite slatherings of sunscreen. Tim was amazing and looked after me. We are so proud of the distance travelled today, and looking forward to our rest day tomorrow.