Kampala is an accident waiting to happen. It is a cacophony of people, color, livestock, and technology tossed together like a very odd salad. It is hard to put into words the often comical and sometimes frightening mix of elements found within the sprawling spider web of the metropolis. Longhorn cattle graze on the grass of a roundabout under the shadow of a large billboard advertising Korean luxury furniture. A Mercedes Benz zips past a nursing mother selling a pile of mangos on a grass mat. The skyscrapers sit calmly amid the smog and exhaust. Large storks look down from their perches on the ledge at the steady stream of dark skinned people standing, walking and running in all directions.
Ranch on Jesus is a suburban ministry. Based just 13 kilometers outside of the capital city of Kampala, the current of life here is more cluttered than other regions of the county. While the surrounding communities of Kampala town may not seem developed to our Western eyes, the lifestyle here is definitely more modern than much of the country. Because we are so near the city, trips into town are often inevitable.
I have a love hate relationship with Kampala town. It is a pungent place. I can't quite decide whether I enjoy or despise the taste it leaves in my mouth. One thing I do know-getting to the city is something I will never like.
In Kampala, vehicles seem to defy the law of physics. Cars lurch along awkwardly, swerving and changing speeds frequently to avoid hitting darting pedestrians or massive potholes. Traffics flows uncomfortably fast only to clog rapidly without notice. Boys riding bicycles piled high with charcoal navigate through minor gaps between mutatus (taxis). Men selling newspapers, shoes and plastic crucifixes weave between car windows hocking their wares. All this activity occurs before the backdrop of car horns, squealing brakes, and the collective shouting of Lugandan.
Scott drives into Kampala comfortably and with pleasure. For him, it's a game-a test of agility and power. Driving in Kampala is his drug of choice. I only ride into Kampala when I am drug along against my choice. Or possibly when a strong enough hankering for Chinese food tempts me to brave the elements. For as much as I dislike driving in the city (I feel more at ease on the Scream Machine at Six Flags) there is still something exciting and enjoyable enough about being in town that makes it worthwhile.
Maybe it is the effect of seeing so much humanity and culture squeezed so compactly into such small square footage. Whichever way you look at it, Kampala is alive. Worn, new, tired, fresh, ugly, dirty, glorious and majestic. Kampala is always an experience.