I’ve just returned from the pearl of Africa next door. Uganda. I’m glad there was calm for the few days I was there. I think the ghetto president Bobi Wine had been given some time off by the establishment. As expected Uganda did not disappoint. My pals and I had a memorable time. Even the permanent traffic jam in Kampala did not dampen our experience. I was impressed by their new express highway from Entebbe to Kampala. It felt nice driving on a smooth road without bodabodas and cattle swirling around you like flies. Though the highlight of my trip unfolds when i return to Entebbe after a day in kampala.
The other awesome experience was the new Serena Kigo golf course by Lake Victoria. This is easily the most beautiful golf course I have ever encountered. It felt like my pals and I had discovered a huge diamond deep in the rough of this banana republic. The course has many water features thanks to the lake cutting through it at various points. There is even a marina where owners pay thirty dollars per day to park their boats. Felt like I was in some exotic location in Europe. Indeed, money does put happy in a lot of places in life. I must go back there. If only my Subaru could turn into a boat hehehe…
A recent article I did – People Are Good, came alive in a manner I would never have expected. I think I was good to Uganda because what transpired on my return back home at Entebbe airport seemed to communicate like Uganda did not want me to leave.
After a successful Uganda Open Golf Championship came to a close, we were entertained thoroughly by our brothers till the small hours of the morning. In fact, I think entertainment should be an export commodity for Uganda. My boys and I left imperial hotel in Entebbe for the airport at noon last Sunday. It was less than ten minutes away, (thankfully there was no traffic). I wonder why cabs charge per person instead of just the rate for the trip. Here sharing a ride means paying more. We were charged ten US dollars per person.
When travelling to Uganda last week I used my national ID for the first time like a proud East African. I got a small interstate pass for my travel. When packing my stuff to return, I threw the card into my suitcase together with my yellow fever card and note book. I was left only with my boarding pass and ID in hand. We all checked in okay at the airport, though the lady who served me was in a foul mood. She threatened to pollute all the fun memories Uganda had given us. I argued with her a little after she insisted on charging for my golf clubs which doesn’t happen as sporting equipment is not charged. Her supervisor Shadrack, a pleasant gentleman, came and broke the stalemate. She was even more moody at me now for going over her head.
Moving on. I proceeded to immigration and was greeted by the pretty and warm smile of a lady I gave my ID and ticket. She asked me for the small pass and I gave her a blank look. Then she told me smiling, “Please get that pass and if you can’t we are glad to remain here with you in Uganda.”
I was in a daze for a moment and realised I might just miss my flight. So I ran back to my moody pal who said no with her cold look even before I uttered a word. After asking her to help me retrieve my case, she ignored me for some time. Then she called someone to come and take me to baggage handling as my suitcase had been taken away by the belt.
At least the lady I was given (Judith) was friendly and told me not to worry. That was so calming I must admit. Judith then takes me through immigration to Gate 2 where we meet Shadrack. We explain my dilemma and he says we need a cop to take us to the baggage handling area as it’s a high security zone. It’s now 12.45pm and my flight takes off at 1.25pm. Judith hands me over to Shadrack and he asks me to say a prayer as we may not be allowed into the baggage area. As we go through the gate a lady cop lets us through. Shadrack explains to her my dilemma and asks her if she could escort us to the baggage handling area. She’s manning a VIP area alone so she declines. I look into her eyes with the look my baby sharks give me when they want ice-cream and beg her, “Auntie please help me and I’m sorry for bothering you.” She looks at my crocodile teary eyes and agrees. I almost hug her, but then I think I might be arrested for assaulting a female police officer so I chill.
It is now twenty minutes to take off and I can see the KQ plane still seated on the tarmac. I’m so fidgety that I’m even talking to the plane to wait for me. After waiting for some old VIP to pass in what felt like a lifetime, my lady cop and Shadrack finally take me to baggage handling. Shadrack goes through the barcodes and my bag can’t be found on the belt that was loading our plane. Seeing our golf clubs consoles me a little because I think I still have some time left.
Shadrack then tells me he remembers my suitcase and it could be on the other belt. We go there and as bags pass, mine is not one of them. He then goes to the place where they emerge before falling on the belt and pulls out my suitcase. I am elated. It’s on the belt for arrivals, not departures which I find strange. I quickly open it, remove my pass and run to immigration to get it stamped after speaking a ton of blessings on my lady cop. She even asked if I’m a pastor. Hehehe. At immigration I find Judith who gets me in front of the queue and proceeds to escort me to gate 2.
Then whom do I find to escort me to the plane together with Shadrack? My moody check-in girl. Shadrack hands me over to her after I thank him profusely. As we walk to the plane with Miss Moods I thank her and she tells me she doesn’t want my thanks. So I ask her what’s the matter and she says in the voice of a small girl, “You’re thanking other people for helping you and you can’t thank me.” I’m reminded here that appreciation is a basic human need.
As she walked me to seat 12A in the plane I insisted on thanking her again and a tiny smile flashed across her stone face. That was sign enough that I had gotten through to her. As I collapsed on my seat, I looked out the window and played that movie in my mind throughout my one-hour flight to Nairobi. I’ve just been helped by a couple of total strangers in another country. That reinforced my belief that people are actually good. In fact, I dare say that many people are very good.