Tuesday, 15 January 2013

"People were proud." Meet a boda from Kapchorwa District, Kiprotich heartland.

And here it is. Kiprotich Hotel.
Kapchorwa District, where I made a flying visit to on Sunday, may be the birthplace of Stephen Kiprotich, who broke Uganda's 40-year Olympic gold medal drought last year and may now hold a very special place in the country's athletics history. But it seemed, upon my arrival, that just about every male in Kapchorwa Town had flocked to Noah's Ark Hotel, where I was staying and was engrossed in the football game between Arsenal and Manchester.

The scene down the road at Kiprotich Hotel, the bar on the main street newly renamed after Uganda's golden boy, was the same. But that doesn't mean they don't have a lot of love for Kiprotich, who was born in Cheptiyal village and still swings by Kapchorwa occasionally despite being "rewarded" 200 million Ugandan shillings ($74,696 USD) by President M7 following his victory. 

"You need to use it proper," said Beatrice, my local tour guide, when we discussed Kiprotich's rise to fame in the car that day on the way back from Sipi Falls, one of the area's main tourist attractions.

"You know these opportunities come once in a lifetime.

"You cannot guarantee getting it twice."

Outside Kiprotich Hotel, in front of a big pile of bricks and opposite The Classic Uni Sex Salon and Barbershop and Paradise Hotel, I met Ken, a Kapchorwa boda.  

Kiprotich Hotel. But where is everyone?
Watching the football inside, that's where!

This guy on the balcony of Kiprotich Hotel's a good egg. Wonder what he was doing with these eggs???

The 25-year-old, who has the funkiest motorbike seat I've seen yet, was born in upper Kapchorwa but lives "a bit far" from the town in Ngangnta village with his wife and two-month-old baby. 

Is that not the funkiest boda seat you've ever seen?

Before he became a boda driver five years ago Ken was a peasant farming maize, cows, beans and millet. Over a Fanta, the Kapchorwa boda's drink of choice, he told me about being a rider in the town and his admiration for the district's most famous son:
First up, are you happy about Stephen Kiprotich's Olympic success?
I saw him. I was happy and excited. I saw him on the TV. People were proud. I normally come (to this pub). He normally stops here. I'd never heard of him before (he won). He normally trains some people from here. It's a familiar person. We like him so much.

Kapchorwa boda Ken.

Besides being the home district of Uganda's golden boy, what else is special about Kapchorwa?
The motorcycles (of course!), vehicles, businesses, churches for Born Agains, schools.

The Classic Uni Sex Salon and Barbershop. Make sure the roof doesn't cave in as yer getting yer hair plaited!

What are the big attractions for mzungus (whiteys, like myself?)
There are Mt Elgon and Sipi Falls.

Beautiful Sipi Falls.

Do you like your job and if so why?
I like it. I get money, feed my family and am managing to care for myself. Everyday if I drive it (the boda) well, if the day has been good, I make 50,000 shillings ($18 USD).

As my digs, Noah's Ark Hotel pointed out, Kapchorwa is the "home of great people". Not just Kiprotich but also my boda driver Ken.

Are there lots of bodas in Kapchorwa District?
There are very many. Some of them are earning a good living but some of them are not earning because of their driving and carelessness of motorcycles.

Move over Obama tribute. It's all about Kiprotich now.
But don't think that winning Olympic Gold for Ug will get you bumped up in the brekkie line for the bacon and eggs. It won't!

The Ugandan papers the day after that race.

1 comment:

  1. This guy on the balcony of Kiprotich Hotel's a good egg."" Egg are good for our healthy and the main ingredent of Vietnam food