When the thought of getting out of the city for a day or two crossed my mind, I had the option of going anywhere I wanted to go to in Uganda. I decided to go to a place I’d never been to: Gulu.
“There’s nothing to see in Gulu,” a friend told me.
And that’s exactly why I chose the place. I’ve never really been into sightseeing. I don’t really know how to stare wide-eyed, open-mouthed at waterfalls and wild animals. They don’t really get my blood running.
What gives me a rush is watching people.
I love seeing two people, completely in love, who can’t get their hands off of each other. I love watching an irritated bus driver, or a beautiful hotel receptionist who doesn’t know how to smile.
That’s why I’m in Gulu.
This guy with a cart loaded with pineapples spoke impeccable English and had a contagious smile. I had to buy a pineapple from him. The lady at the hotel I’m staying at is so nice and courteous. Even after trying out other places to see if I could get a less expensive room, I ended up coming back to her.
An old Indian woman rode a motorcycle around town. She passed by me a couple of times.
Then the huts. I don’t remember seeing so many huts like the ones I saw today on the 6-hour bus ride. We passed by people who didn’t seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere. They definitely didn’t look like they badly needed the new iPhone coming out next year.
Four barefooted kids in school uniforms waved oranges at us. I guess they wanted us to buy the oranges. But the bus driver didn’t stop.
I lost count of the number of churches I saw on the way. What was interesting was that more than once, I saw a brick church surrounded by mud and wattle huts. At least the gods get revered in this part of the world. I wondered whether the priests can afford bicycles.
And oh! The Gulu Archdiocese has a very beautiful cathedral.
Now I’m in my hotel room, the sun is setting, and it still feels like I’m in Uganda. Northern Uganda doesn’t feel any different from Central Uganda. I can’t wait for tomorrow when I’ll go tour some more.
Human beings are really beautiful.