Saturday, 1 August 2009

Lucky escape!

On our way back from town today, we had our first brush with the Ugandan police force. One of the big hazards of driving in Uganda is being stopped by the police and being fined for various 'offences'. Alan allegedly took an illegal U-turn and this stern copper told him to pull over so he could write out a ticket for the offence. Conveniently thinking he was being waved on by another policeman, Alan saw the opportunity to drive on and leave the policeman on foot in his wake. Further down the road, celebrating our narrow escape, we were surprised to see the policeman pulling up alongside on the back of a taxi motorbike, much to the girls' horror, waving angrily to pull over again.
After a discussion over the finer points of Ugandan road law, with some vociferous contributions from Alison in the backseat, it was decided to revisit the scene of the crime to prove that there were no road signs about illegal U-turns and to show how we were not the only law-breakers there. We gave the policeman a lift back in our car, offering some cold pizza on the way complemented by Zoe turning on the waterworks in sympathy for daddy going to jail! This may have softened him a little, but he was still adamant that we pay the fine or go to court.
Alison got out and took some photos of the crime scene and Alan politely enquired if the policeman was going to arrest all the cars breaking this law, whilst all 3 girls continued to sob in the back! Sensing that we were not going down without a fight, the policeman finally backed down and asked us not to do it again, to which we gratefully agreed. We wheelspun away, enormously relieved not to be spending the night behind bars!


  1. I am proud of you all! The standing up for the little man, for the girls turning on the waterworks at just the right time: genius. Vanessa and I had a similar brush with 'the law' in Dakar Senegal in our little Peugeot 106 after a gun wielding policeman felt that the colour of our car clashed with his uniform. On that occasion Vanessa negotiated beautifully and managed to secure a full written apology and a $10 voucher to go the policeman's ball the next day. unfortunately we were half way to St. Louis by the time he had stopped shouting and pulling his trousers up!
    So, while I respect your little victory on the roads of Kampala, you can see that you still have a long way to go!

    Lots of love,
    P.S. get ready to receive an enormous package - birthday greetings to all (just off to check the calendar!)

  2. Alan, Alison & Family

    Good to read about life in Uganda and how you are all getting on. It sounds like an amazing adventure and I hope you are all enjoying yourselves. Seeing Alan in a football shirt brought back memories of Island Gardens and the infamous EC team! I hope that trusty right foot still works!

    All is well in London and nothing much changes - the market is still pants and England have just been thrashed by the Aussies!

    We're in the process of exchanging and completing on a house so that is keeping us busy, not to mention looking after an increasing high maintenance 8 month old boy. He is doing really well and becoming more fun by the day.

    Love to all and keep in touch.

    Mark, Antonia & Harry xxx