Transportation in Uganda is almost always a squished affair. Someone else's body part(s) is inevitably poking into one of yours. Personal space does not exist. You will find matatus that say they are licensed to carry 14 passengers with 26 people inside! It has been with much appreciation and thanksgiving that my current job has provided me with a car and driver to take me around to the various sites and volunteers in the field. I get to relax in an air-conditioned Land Cruiser and fly through all those annoying check points because of the CD (Country Diplomat) letters on our license plates. I haven't had to battle conductors trying to over charge me, feared for my life as the bus flies around narrow mountain corners or most importantly, dealt with the insufferable smells that come from too many over-heated bodies in a small cramped space.
With that being said, today I had the funniest experience in my nice comfortable Land Cruiser. I first picked up the Deputy Principal of Outreach from a Primary Teacher's College in the East of Uganda. He was taking me around to the different Coordinating Centers (CC) that will be receiving volunteers next month. We were at one CC where we picked up the Coordinating Center Tutor (CCT) and the Head Teacher (H/T) of the CC primary school. After visiting a house that was not suitable for a volunteer, the CCT called the chair person of the school committee that handles finances and housing. We picked him up and went to see another house. Now the back seat of the Land Cruiser had 3 tall full grown men and 1 over weight woman. Things were a bit tight back there. We continued on to the next house, which also failed my standards, and the chair person called to check on yet another option. But first we had to go pick up a man who could show us that house. So, in piles another big man making 5 Ugandan adults completely and utterly squished together and on top of one another in my back seat. I, on the other hand, sat in my big, single front seat - all alone. The funniest part is that we literally drove 30 seconds farther. When I commented that we could have just walked the H/T said they had wanted to travel in style.