Everyone has their fears.
Some people hate spiders, others don't do well with heights, still others get nervous on airplanes. Mine biggest fear is motorcycles.
Let me explain: as a 15-year old budding basketball player, my idol was a point guard named Jason Williams. In 2001, he led my beloved Duke Blue Devils to the national championship (a game I attended). He was strong and elegant, and could do anything on the basketball court. I loved him.
After one year in the NBA, Jason Williams got on a motorcycle one day and crashed, sustaining serious injuries. He never played professional basketball again. Hearing that, I swore to never get on a two-wheeled, motorized device, for the rest of my life.
Fast-forward eight years. EVERYONE in Kampala takes boda-bodas. They are quick and cheap, and with traffic jams galore, bodas are by far the most efficient means of transportation. Everyone does it, except for me.
This morning, I forgot my cell phone at my apartment. With lots of work to do, and friends coming into town, I needed to run home and get it quickly. I walked home - about 15 minutes - and retrived it, but was running out of time. Outside of my apartment complex, a boda driver waited patiently.
We locked eyes, and he motioned me over. "Mulago Hospital?" I asked him. He nodded.
I got on the back, clenching his shirt a bit too tightly. "Pole pole," I said. Slowly, slowly.
We lurched forward, over a bump. I thought I was going to be bucked off and tightened my grip on my poor driver. He snorted, and looked back at me over his shoulder.
Once on the main rode, we cruised towards the hospital. It was... fun! Not nearly as scary as I expected. I loosened my grip, and began to smile. I was riding a boda-boda, in Kampala! Surely, I became a bit more Ugandan on that ride.
Upon arriving at the hospital, I jumped off the motorcycle like an old pro and gave the driver a big high-five. He asked for 500 shillings, I paid him 1,000. It was glorious.
Don't worry mother, I won't make riding boda-bodas a habit. But I conquered my fear, and it feels wonderful. Does this mean I have to change the name of my blog?