When I worked as a riverguide in Uganda I liked to convince the locals that I knew voodoo. I did this through repeated threats to take a piece of their hair. Anyone who cast doubt on my voodoo abilities I simply asked if they would like to provide me with some sort of body part so as to demonstrate the strength of their conviction that I was not some sort of sorcerer. Toenail, hair, sawed off limb; whatever they had handy. But for some strange reason everyone backed off at this point.
Yeah, I was a bit naughty, but in my defense we were most of the time rather spectacularly bored.
At the In-your-face-chicken-place, which was our daily stop in the rafting bus to get fresh chicken on a stick from the local boys, each of the guides were known to the kids by name. The location was simply a small market on the side of the highway where locals killed chickens and cooked the pieces on sticks over an open fire. The chicken was incredibly fresh and they stuck on a good amount of salt as well which made the treat even tastier.
Now you might think that eating bits of meat on the end of a stick sold to you by a 9 year old thrusting the chicken bits through the open windows of the bus even before it fully came to a halt would be a bad idea. But you would be wrong. Most of the time.
Unbeknownst to me, my colleagues taught the chicken selling kids that my name was Satan. This stuck for the next two years and there was simply nothing that I could do about it. In the morning with a fresh load of rafting customers on the 20 seater bus, as we pulled into the chicken spot I would stand up, explain to the punters how it all worked, and then the bus would come to a stop, we’d open the windows and the kids would begin screaming, “Satan! Satan! Satan!”
Funnily enough, the chicks dug it. You never can tell these things.
In 1999 professional kayakers Alex Nicks and Brad Ludden came and stayed with us while they were filing their documentary, Wicked Liquid 2 – 1000 cunning stunts. I feature prominently on the White Nile section of the video. Most of the rafting shots are of me and there are two interviews with me – one where I chat about the river and the history of commercial rafting in the area, and the other one at the 9 minute mark where I explain and you get to see the In-your-face-chicken-place.
So check it out. Your humble host rafting on the White Nile 20 years ago. And if you like that then buy my first book where you can read all about it.