Friday, September 24, 2010

Our Drive to Gulu with Shaka in Tow

by Kate von Achen

Our journey up to Gulu was magical. It seemed to go so fast, which is the opposite of what I had expected. We have never traveled with a dog before, but this time Shaka came along. Shaka is a beautiful dog that I met a few weeks ago when I took one of my cats to the vet. Apparently Shaka’s past owner took him to board at the vet’s office for 5 months while he was at home in the US. He never came back for Shaka. So in true von Achen form, I made it my mission to find Shaka a good new home. And I succeeded! A friend who works for Refugee Law Project really wanted a dog companion at their office and guest house in Gulu so we picked Shaka from the vet on Thursday morning on our way out of Kampala.

I am still amazed at how well this dog behaved. We stopped for gas, drove by tons of street dogs, people and baboons and got stopped at a police checkpoint and the dog did not bark once. He was so happy just to not be in a kennel anymore. And it turns out that he really enjoys listening to both Fela Kuti AND Lady Gaga. This dog has a seriously eclectic taste in music.

We made it to Gulu in four hours, stopped at the supermarket to buy Shaka a kilo of ground beef for being such a rockin passenger and proceeded to the RLP office to deliver Shaka to his new home. Everyone thought I had known this dog for ages because he was clearly attached and they were shocked to find that I had only met the dog three times over the past few weeks. Clearly it was hard for me to give him up. I got very attached in that four hour drive.

Once Shaka was happy in his new home, Hanna and I drove back in to Gulu Town and checked in to Hotel Kakanyero and lugged our loot up to our room, “Earth”, on the Universe Floor. We washed the sweat, dirt and dog hair from the drive away and headed to the Coffee Hut at 4pm for our first and much needed meal of the day before heading to the market to greet the tailors.

Shaka, grooving out in the car to Fela Kuti.

We walked clumsily through the uneven market paths to our market home, “Mama Lucy’s Friendship Store” and were greeted with HUGE smiles, handshakes and hugs. This is always my favorite part of coming to Gulu. Those first greetings. They are the best!
We spent a little over an hour with the women, met Auma Concey, the newest addition to the team of Awava tailors for the first time and planned to meet in the morning once we were well rested!

Hanna and I headed back to Hotel Kakanyero, climbed the endless stairs to The Universe, attempted to work on our computers and ended up going to bed around 9pm. I cannot remember the last time I went to bed that early!

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