On June 12, represenatives from several NGOs and I arrived in Kampala, Uganda. Our plane trip took way too long: 4 separate flights that covered 4 continents and took 48 nearly-sleepless hours. Our Africa hotel was overbooked, so a friend and I had to stay in a nearby hotel. We were staying in old Kampala, a working-class portion of the city. That night after visiting an Internet cafe, I started to walk alone back to my hotel room over a route I wasn’t familiar with. I wandered slightly of course and fell into a deep stone-and-mortar-lined ditch. I cut my head and lost consciousness. There was urban runoff flowing down the open sewer. The rest of the story I have pieced together from witnesses I could find.
A good Samaritan saw me fall. He worked to get me hauled out of the ditch. He then found my colleagues, and I was moved back to our original hotel where friends changed by pants and shirt (they were pretty dirty and smelly) and took me to a clinic to have my head wound stitched up. After closing the wound with 4 stitches, it was decided to take me to the International Hospital Kampala (because I had yet to gain consciousness). There my head was x-rayed and I was admitted. Sometime during the night I came to, and there was a young man sleeping on the chair next to my bed. At the time, I thought he was a hospital employee (perhaps a real-time monitor). Eventually, he just disappeared.
I stayed in the hospital for three days, during which time they continued to monitor and test my brain and heart. On my last night in the hospital, a young man came to visit me. I didn’t recognize him at first, but he was my good Samaritan. He had not only rescued me from the ditch, but had accompanied me to the hospital, and stayed the first night with me. I asked him about the particulars of my accident; he filled in some of the details. He himself was a refugee from neighboring Rwanda.
It should be noted that at the time of my accident, I had my passport, credit cards, and money on my person. It would have been very easy to have lost any or all of them. I lost nothing. In my travels, I have always been impressed by the kindness of most of the world’s population.
When traveling in developing countries it might be a good idea to do what hikers to isolated parts of Utah recommend: (1) always consider walking/hiking with a friend and (2) always tell people where you are going.