Short Stories from Africa

So we have few short stories from Africa that didn’t feel like enough for their own blog posts but I thought they would be entertaining to share nonetheless:

Going to see the frogs

The place we stayed in Yei, South Sudan had a interesting feature in the bathroom; Toilet frogs. These little frogs lived in the back “tank” part of the toilet and if you flushed when they were swimming they would come flying into the bowl with the water and swim frantically until the gripped the side and climbed right back up where the water came from. Liz was the first one to find them and when I went to check it out, I flushed again and nothing. Turns out you kinda had to surprise them and catch them swimming or they would be clinging to the walls of the tank, which is where I found three of them when I looked inside. And so, the term “Going to see the frogs” was coined.

Who told you to become a Rastafarian?

This was one of the few things the pastor that was driving us around Yei, South Sudan said in English on his cell phone while driving (he said A LOT not in english on his cell phone while driving). It was in the middle of a serious conversation in the local language and then out of nowhere in a loud serious tone “It’s a very bad thing you’ve brought into your family! Who told you to become a Rastafarian?!?” Liz and I both tried not to laugh out loud but couldn’t resist. We now regularly ask each other “Who told you to become a Rastafarian?”

Meeting the Mayor of Port Bell

Liz and I had grand plans of taking the fabled ferry from Kampala, Uganda to Mwanza, Tanzania. I say fabled as there is or isn’t one depend on where you look on the internet. Once we got to Port Bell (the port in Kampala) we found out for sure there isn’t one (side note: there used to be a ferry but it was deemed “no longer safe for passenger travel”). We figured it wouldn’t hurt to see if would could find anymore information about possible water crossings at “Sailors Bar.” That’s where we meet a thoroughly drunk older man that everyone else kept referring to as “Mayor.” We humored his rambling dialog for a little while assuming he was somebody’s uncle or something and none of the staff seemed the slightest bit concerned.

About 10 minutes in The Mayor really took a liking to Liz, and asked me if she was my wife… then proceeded to try and barter for her. He offered me “An African” in exchange for Liz which I of course turned down, then he upped his offer to “Two Africans!” again I declined and insisted again that I wasn’t interested in any trading. They then thought he might sweeten the deal with a case of beer… In his mind Liz had zero say in the matter so we figured we better leave.

Just for the record I wouldn’t trade Liz for anything… not even “Two Africans, and a case of beer” and there is no Ferry from Kampala to Mwanza.

No Ferry from Kampala to Mwanza

A nice, cheap, clean, place to stay

So after we parted ways with Drew at the airport in Uganda we got a ride with 3 other people who were headed into Kampala and already had a driver lined up. We thought we’d go to the center of town and find something cheap so when the driver asked if we had a place to stay in mind we said “No. Got any ideas for someplace nice and cheap?” He thought for a minute then made a phone call, and responded back with “It’s not really open to the public, but it’s nice, clean and I know them and it’s cheap.” Sold!

Turns out he signed us up to stay at “Home for the Religious”… a Convent! Sister Angelica was definitely taken back a bit and thought we were crazy when we told her our plans, but obliged and provided us with a room… granted they didn’t have any rooms with double beds “for couples” after all it was a convent, but she did give us a room with two beds (and two very large Bibles)! It was the cheapest thing we found in Kampala, and it was quiet, probably due to the rule “OBSERVE SILENCE IN THE CORRIDORS AND BEDROOMS.” It was a quiet two nights.

Convent Rules

Why Americans don’t buy anything?

Anyone who has spent any time in a tourist area has undoubtedly experienced touts trying to sell you all kind of junk. And for some reason I seem to get offered weed a lot, all over the world. Must be a young(ish) white guy thing I guess, lol. Usually the drug offers are fairly subtle “hey man, wanna party?”, “you want smoke?”,”Lookin’ for a good time?” and are usually accompanied by some friendly chit-chat “Where you from?“ “on holiday?” etc. and maybe a coconut or something else a little more “legitimate” they are “selling.” And then some just come out and say it “Need some weed?” I usually give them a polite no thanks, or just ignore them completely. Liz is usually completely oblivious to all drug offers.

Well this guy on the beach in Zanzibar needs to sit in on Liz’s marketing 101 class. Liz and I are walking to dinner on the beach and this guy comes up with some key chains or something in his hand (again totally not uncommon) and says, “Hey man, want to buy some cocaine?”
I was a little taken back by his directness but said, “No thanks.”
“Marijuana?”
“Nope, not into that stuff.”
“Hashish?”
(In my mind… Are you seriously asking in that order?) “Ha, ha. No man, we don’t do drugs.” Thinking the conversation is over…

Then he comes back with, “Wanna buy a diamond?”
(I can’t not laugh at this point; No I don’t want to buy a blood diamond on the beach in the dark for a guy that just tried to sell me a boatload of drugs.) “Nope, don’t need any diamonds either.”
We start to walk away thinking surely the conversation is over and he realizes we aren’t his target demographic. But no, there is more…

He holds up his handful of key chains, “Want to buy a key chain?”
Still trying not to laugh; “No man, not buying anything tonight.”
Now he is clearly offended; “Why Americans don’t buy my Bull S#!t?”
“They don’t buy anything?”
“No, man. They don’t buy anything, they don’t help Africa.”
“Not even the drugs?”
“NO! They don’t care about Africans. They don’t help Africa!”
“Could be you’re approach.”

At this point Liz and I decided we’re at the restaurant we want to go into and I guess he gets the picture at this point or sees someone else, but walks off continuing his rant about how American’s don’t care enough to buy drugs from Africans.

Catholic guilt will work on a lot of things but not on buying drugs and blood diamonds. – Liz