Updated: Oct 19, 2021
While we are able to acquire most of the items that we require and need on this side of the bay on our peninsula we often have to cross the lake to get to the city to get “special” items...or a meal out.
And every time that I do someone will comment back or ask me how long it takes...and this is where I realized it’s about time I explain where I live, where the city is, and what the lake actually looks like. Many people don’t understand me when I say it takes 15 minutes on boat but a little under 3 hours to drive the 8 km to the city.
The reasons being is that
1) the roads here SUCKKKKK
2) the bird flies about 8 miles, but once you try to find roads it turns into 60km
3) it still takes about 1.5 hours when on a Bodaboda, (meaning you get to bypass 90% of road laws and common sense to make sure to get places quicker haha)
So here is a screen shot of what the drive looks like. If you are trying to get an idea of where I live you can look up ‘Mutima Country Haven’ in google and get a decent idea of where I am at. Our Farm is only a handful of minutes walk away from there and where I stay in the Bethany Village.
So what we typically do is take a Bodaboda to the boat launch site of Bule. And then take a boat across Murchison Bay of Lake Victoria to Ggaba. We have only broken curfew in Ggaba twice while being here, sometimes our errands days end up with lots of hiccups and we leave a lot later than intended, but we did not encounter any issues with the police those couple of times. Thankfully we have a boat driver that we always use, so he will sit at the closed Ggaba Market boat dock waiting for us to return and drive us to Bule.
That travel experience of going straight from Bethany to Wavamunno Rd where I grab the Bodaboda to go to town takes about 40 minutes. The first Bodaboda from the house to the boat is about 15 minutes sometimes less depends on who is driving.
And then from Bule to Ggaba the boat takes about 20 minutes...then typically I walk about 15 minutes to the bigger inter section of Ggaba Rd & Wavamunno Rd. And to be completely honest I usually pass the intersection and grab a Bodaboda just past it so that I pay a fair price for my Bodaboda.
This year I have gotten a lot better at negotiating ride prices as I have been having to cross to accomplish a lot of things lately
There is a saying here called the “Mzungu Price”. Anything that a Mzungu wants to do or buy typically comes with a huge price increase.
Example: Ashleigh bought herself a Bodaboda to be able to get around a lot easier, she leaves it at Bule when we cross, and the first time that she did that she decided to have it washed by the guys that wash cars and Bodabodas there. Doing so ensures that someone is gaining financially by looking out for your Boda to make sure it’s safe and you comes back to a clean Boda as well. The price for cleaning a Bodaboda is 5,000 schillings.
We arrived and mind you yes her Boda was dirty (it rained the day before when she was out driving and the mud might have won the battle that day haha) but not any more dirty than a Bodaboda that is used on a daily basis. One of the guys that typically cleans Bodas and cars came to her immediately and said “I clean it, no problem...10k” and Ashleigh is honestly just the sweetest least confrontational individual...she will tell you what she thinks don’t get me wrong, but she also is not one to confront you to your face.
So I immediately said “Did you say 10k? The price is 5k, you know me, I have been here many months, I don’t care if we are white she will pay 5k no more.” He did NOT like me after that haha
Needless to say our boat driver found a younger guy that was ready to earn some money to wash the car and he got paid the 5k and when we arrived the Boda looked beautiful. Anyway the boat driver said to me “ha! He wants to give the mzungu price but it is 5” and I said “I know, we’re willing to wait in the boat while she drives back and take a Bodaboda here instead, we wont pay Mzungu prices.” And he just laughed. He is not our regular Boat driver, but I see him almost every time that I cross, and when he has driven us he has done a great job and never tried to rip us off...
Only One boat driver has tried to over charge Ashleigh when she was paying our transportation that day. But she stood strong knowing it was only 10k for the boat ride and not 20k, and now he is our back up driver. He apologized to her and now greets us any and every time that he sees us. Sometimes you just need to show that you are competent and then the men here respect you more.
Back to Lake Victoria (or Victoria Nyanza in the Bantu language) is the largest of the African Great Lakes, the largest lake in Africa and the world’s second largest freshwater lake by surface area, after Lake Superior. It is crossed by the equator.
The lake has a surface area of 68,800 square kilometers (or 26,600 square miles), which also makes it the world’s largest tropical lake. By volume, the lake is the the ninth largest continental lake in the world, boasting around 2,750 cubic kilometers of water. It is the main source of freshwater for the big rural population living in its vicinity.
The lake is located in 3 countries: Kenya has 6% of the total area (4,100 square kilometers or 1,600 square miles), Uganda has 45% (31,000 square kilometers or 12,000 square miles), and Tanzania has 49% (33,700 square kilometers or 13,000 square miles).
So places to Search on
Mutima Country Haven (closest landmark to our house)
Ggaba (Our main landing site in town and where most of our friends live)
Typical Shopping Locations:
Mega Supermarket most everything we need for the house (our main shopping hub)
Vegetable Alley on Market Rd behind Mega Supermarket (kilos of veggies for pennies...typically we can get 5 kilos of green beans for about $1.38, 2-5 kilos of Okra for about the same price...Fresh pineapple for 1k ,which is honestly about $0.30, or a BIG pineapple for 2k, about $0.55-0.60.
Haveli the Palace Restaurant & Bar (my favorite restaurant in town cause it has a blow up slide for kids as well as a trampoline and a mechanical bull if you are so inclined haha It also happens to be just down the street from the US Embassy. Where they just recently started building a double concrete border wall around the property with barbed wire on top, and fantastic “Covid is ending the world” signs haha oh man the irony
Acacia Mall (where we go for an “American” feeling. I got my glasses there...They have stores that have new clothes in multiple sizes. That’s a HUGE rarity here. Most of my shopping experience has been more like thrift store shopping. Most clothes here are sold second hand so if you see something you like you better hope you’re the right size or you aren’t going to get much of anywhere with it....We pass by one of the two golf courses to get there, and after some research I have learned that they DO rent clubs, and yes, Uganda is quite green so while its not grass like in the states or most places that have expensive golf courses, its very green and it is grass! Either way, I’m playing when rainy season is over.)
Quality Hill Boutique Mall (Also known as the French Market has a store that we go to to get chick peas to make our own hummus, 11k for a kilo of chickpeas, which makes a LOT of hummus, or we could buy 500g from them of their plain hummus for 30,000....aka we get a good deal when making our own, and we eat it a lot now. We also found some delicious cold brew forced as well, but this store is just simply out of our budget unless we are doing something fancy and you truly have no other options, ironically they don’t have tahini, so we have to go to another market to get that lol)
Victory City Church - Ntinda (the church that I attend)
If you sign up as a monthly donor in my 35 Club! You will get some more awesome footage and stories that go along with these places and experiences....ALSO the one social media app that seems to be working the most consistent where I am able to post content when in town mostly is Snapchat, so if you have Snapchat and would like to follow,
So here is my handle if you would like to follow along. I am on it a few
times a week...hopefully at least.
Here are the links to donate to our cause:
you can donate directly to Develop Sustainability
or you can select a our my campaign on our sponsorship host site Pure Charity
Enjoy some photos of some of our crossings on and times around Lake Victoria.