Matt used to tell me off for skipping breakfast – the most important meal of the day. I expect that today’s breakfast was a very tasty change to the normal bowl of porridge that they had been having. His normal breakfast of choice was either a large-sized bowl of Kellogs Cocoa Pops or a sausage and hashbrown sandwich, except of course on Boxing Day when I have to hold my hand up as the guilty party in instigating what was to become a Christmas tradition of having leftover trifle for breakfast!
After he had his amputation we went back to St. Edmund Hall, Oxford for a visit. On the first morning the Principle, Keith Gull, met us for breakfast. Matt was thrilled as Keith helped him to get his breakfast of sausage and hashbrown sandwich, carrying it out to the dining area for him, and then spending an hour or so just chatting to him and some of his friends who had managed to join us. It was one of many gestures that made Matt feel very special during his last few weeks …
Day 17 – 1st August
A good night’s sleep made for a difficult wake up. This was counterbalanced by a delicious breakfast consisting of bread and butter and local donuts.
Today I went with Matt H, Adam and Andy in a matatu (basically a minibus) to buy food for the trek and change some dollars into Ugandan Shillings. We got into the vehicle and straightaway realised, in Matt’s words, “head and leg room is limited”. We travelled along an extremely bumpy road for about an hour, smacking heads and elbows along the way.
We eventually arrived in Mbale, and I called Isaiah, a money changer recommended by Stephen. After comparing his rates with the bank, we changed $2,500 of group money and some personal cash. We then headed for the supermarket and spent a good hour shopping for food. There were no vegetables so we walked to a local market and had a good haggle. I then took the opportunity to post my bow back to England. I had to take off the arrows, and then pay equivalent to $23. In theory it should get home in 6 days but I’ll believe it when I see it.
We headed back along the same bumpy road. Uganda is very similar to Kenya in some respects but it is different in that it is covered in jungle, whereas Kenya is savannah.
When we got back we dealt with the U.W.A. and made all the arrangements for tomorrow.
We were caught in the middle of a massive rainstorm and had to shelter for an hour while it subsided.
When the time came to take an inventory of the food, it became apparent that we had over shopped; it would take 3 porters just to carry the carbs that we had bought let alone the rest. As that can’t really be dealt with until tomorrow, I have packed and gotten ready for bed.
Gav and I managed to lock Chris outside naked after he went to the toilet with no clothes on.
I am leader tomorrow so it’s early night time.
2 thoughts on “Day 17”
Everything in this post is just SO Matt! Of course they all are, but this one for me particularly sums up Matt – good natured horseplay, friendly leadership and always making sure there’s enough food to go around. I’ll never forget the time he chucked me in the river in Christ Church meadows, only after checking my phone wasn’t in my pocket!
Thank you for continuing to post these, we’ve really enjoyed reading them. Alice xx
Thank you for your lovely anecdote, and yes that would be very typical of Matt. He once had a shoe thrown into the local brook (he had taken his shoes & socks off to go into a storm drain to retrieve the group football!), and unfortunately had also put his watch inside for safety. Obviously the person throwing his shoe into the water wouldn’t have expected a watch to have been inside; sadly it was ruined. Perhaps that was how he had learned to be more careful regarding watery pranks!
I’m so glad that you are enjoying reading his journal xx