|“We appreciate the van,” our driver, Joseph, assured us, “but it was built for tarmac roads. I am afraid it won’t last long out here. Do you think Ourganda could afford to trade the van for a Land Cruiser?”
We knew he was right, but mountains of Ugandan shillings and dollar signs welled up in our minds. “I think we’ll have to make this van last as long as we can,” we told him.
The van was beautiful. It had lots of room inside and a roof rack on top. The air conditioner worked like a charm. It was 4-wheel drive and we could cram a ton of medical supplies, folding tables, privacy tent and partition, water filters, and soccer balls inside along with eight people – and even a chicken. But it really was too low.
Joseph kept nagging us to at least consider making a trade. We assured him that we would devote a couple of hours to looking at Land Cruisers when we went back to Kampala to head to the airport.
To make a long story short: We made the trade. We said goodbye to our beloved van and hello to a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with low miles, a diesel engine, and a chassis that is built to conquer the world. Purchasing it was an act of faith, but everything on this Ourganda journey so far has been an act of faith. When we finalized the deal, Joseph was smiling so big he could have eaten a banana sideways.
Here is the before and after. Before (left photo): Our team in the van.