A Journey with Friends

Not so much of a post today, just a few thoughts. A couple of days ago, I was transferring some of my pictures from my broken computer to my new computer, when I came across a video of my daily commute in Uganda.

Jinja, Uganda

I was volunteering for a charity called Soft Power Education in the Jinja District where we were painting a school. A couple of days after we arrived, the kids went on Easter break, so a few would usually hang around and watch, or sometimes grab a roller and join in. It was hot and sweaty in the classrooms, which made painting that little bit more difficult, so we’d pass the time by singing and dancing as we went. The children were particularly fond of the Les Misérables soundtrack.

It was my second time in Uganda. The first time had been on my Africa overland, where I met some of the best friends I’ve ever known. Now, two years later I found myself back in the country, joined by two of those friends (Kate and Siobhan), as well as a friend from home, Kerry. We hadn’t quite been able to match up our schedules completely, but we managed to get around a week and a half together across the globe.

Kibii picked up early each morning, and took us to school in the back of his truck. We’d jump in, claim our positions (a different place each day), put in our iPods and cling on for dear life as we whizzed through the Ugandan countryside. Sometimes we’d chat and laugh, or sometimes stand in collective silence, lost in thought or simply watching the world as we went by. We’d repeat the process in reverse on the way home. It was my favourite part of my day.

Ugandan Commute

The road was as bumpy as they come, and by the time we got to where we was going my face was always orange with dust that clung to my sunscreen, my hair, a frizzy mess, my legs  bruised from climbing into the truck and by the way home, I’d added paint to the mix. I looked like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards, forwards and side to side and that was before we even started the engine. But the smile on my face was always wide and I never bored of the view. The orange and green of the landscape, the blue of the sky, the waves of the people and the contented expressions on the faces of my best friends.

Dirty Feet

Uganda Soft Power Education

My Girls

Call me corny, I don’t care, but the journey to school and back reminds me of my friendship with these beautiful girls. We steady each other when the road gets bumpy. We can stand in silence, with no need for words. We laugh with each other. We laugh at each other. They always make me smile and remind me to not take myself too seriously. We’re on a journey together, but not necessarily always on the same journey. We see things differently, even when we’re looking at the same things. We dance together, but always to the beat of our own… drums iPods. We’re in different places, but I know they’re always there.

I miss that commute. 

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About Author

I'm a travel blogger and tour operator with a passion for Africa travel. I love the great outdoors, going on epic trips around the world and helping others travel!


  • Pam | a Blonde around the World
    July 1, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I loved this post, even though is not a real post but just thoughts as you said! 🙂
    I loved the feelings you conveyed with your nice and genuine pics!

    • Helen
      July 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Thanks Pam! Glad you liked it! That was a fun trip, with wondeul friends. A very happy time in my life! Glad that came across. 🙂

  • Rebecca Jones
    July 1, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Beautiful, as always. 🙂 I can only hope I meet such wonderful people on my trip, although I won’t be spending a lot of time in any single place. I think I probably will just the same.

    • Helen
      July 1, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Thank you Rebecca. I’m sure you’ll meet lots of wonderful pople on your journey. Some you’ll travel with for longer than others. I met a girl in Africa, and we got on so well, she then came and met me in Vietnam! Lots of best friends on the road!

  • Sasha from The Curious Zephyr
    July 2, 2014 at 12:05 am

    This is totally a real post! Lovely memories!

    • Helen
      July 2, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      Thank you Sasha! It didn’t feel like a real post as I wrote it in about 10 minutes, whereas I am the slowest writer in the world usually and it takes me about 4 days to write anything! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Tee
    July 3, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Hi Helen! Great post, was wondering how you found your volunteer program? Have been researching orphanages in South Africa but am unable to figure out which one to go with and which one are totally “commercial” 🙂

    Also, the photo of the flip flop tan lines is hilarious!

    • Helen
      July 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Hi Tee, I found my volunteer program when I was travelling in Africa previously, I kept them in mind and went back. Let me ask around for a program for you!

      ps. They’re not tan lines. It’s dirt! 🙂

  • Arianwen
    July 10, 2014 at 8:39 am

    I love the flip flop photo. This post reminded me of my commute to the school where I volunteered in Tanzania.

    • Helen
      July 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Ha ha, yes, feet never stay clean for long do they? My feet are always a mess over there! Where were you volunteering? Moshi? 🙂

  • John
    July 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I really like the turn fail picture. This publish advised me of my travel to the university where I offered in Tanzania.

  • Charlotte
    July 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Sooooo proud and amazed that some of my best friends in the whole world were made on that truck in Africa and that we still keep in touch and meet up several times a year. You guys are my Happy Pills! Who’d have thunk it all started with a Facebook group 🙂 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Helen
      July 15, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      Love you babe! x

  • Best holiday destinations
    July 17, 2014 at 11:22 am

    An amazing place with such natural delights. I will surely plan my upcoming vacation to this place. thanks for posting nice views.

    • Helen
      July 17, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      Thank you!!!


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