As the drug menace continues to cut short the lives of young people around the world, Uganda is increasingly being used as a transit route to the rest of the world. This has seen drug lords recruit youn Ugandans in the murky trade, writes Charles Etukuri Over a nine-month period Olivia made four trips to London, each time swallowing 120 pellets of cocaine in order to smuggle them through the airports. In total she took 480 pellets in the four trips and was paid. Once, she narrowly escaped and three of her friends are now in British jails. But the turning point was when she witnessed a drug baron rip through a mans stomach to get the pellets out after he failed to defeacate soon enough. Olivia is one of the few people who have joined drug trafficking and come out alive. Over a nine month period, she made four trips to England, smuggling cocaine in her stomach. The first born in a family of six, Olivia was the sole bread winner, yet she did not have a stable source of income. Her parents were ageing and poor. One day, while she was wondering where to get money to pay school fees for her three siblings, a friend approached her with a proposal. She would be tasked to swallow pellets, travel to London and be paid $4,000 (about sh10m). Alleluiaha! she exclaimed. To test her abilities, she was driven to a posh house in Muyenga, a Kampala suburb, and given two pellets to swallow. At first, she was frightened, but she swallowed them successfully. Next, she had to prepare for the journey. I was given $1,000 (about 2.4m) to buy myself nice clothes, and leave some money for my family since I was going to travel that same week. The night before travelling, she was driven to Bugolobi, a Kampala suburb, to a house occupied by a Nigerian. She made an oath never to reveal any information, and then swallowed the pellets. One, two, three, four, . 30, then she paused. Her throat was burning. She hated it, but no one would let her stop. I spent the whole night swallowing. By morning, I had swallowed 120 pellets. When she was done stuffing the pellets into her stomach, she was given a tablet that causes constipation to prevent her from passing out the drugs before reaching her destination. Her flight was set to take off at Entebbe Airport at around 1:30pm. She had been cautioned not to eat anything on the plane, except drink water. She was also given details about how to find her contact in London, and further cautioned not to move anyhow, lest she draws suspicion. In London, her hosts took her to a posh house and gave her anti-constipation medicine with milk. They then gave her gloves and ushered her into the bathroom. But it took three days to release all the 120 pellets. It was so painful, she recalls. They kept her in the house for two weeks, paid her and then she returned to Uganda with loads of money. Second assignment Two months later, they approached her for a second assignment. This time, when I got to Gatwick Airport in the UK, a customs officer stopped me and demanded to carry out a body search. The body search did not yield any results. Still suspicious, they took her for a urine test. Initially she could not discharge any urine. They gave me 12 cups of water then two cups of hot tea. After sometime, I passed out some urine, which was taken for analysis. Half an hour later, the urine test results showed nothing significant and they released her. She was lucky this time she had not taken the medicine that induces constipation. Had she taken this medicine, the urine test would have detected it. By the time she was released, she had spent three hours at the airport, and the journey from Entebbe to London had taken 10 hours. This time round, the host gave her half pay, saying she had not swallowed the correct number of pellets. I knew I had swallowed 120, but they insisted that I had swallowed only 97. I could not argue with them because I knew they could kill me. At the fourth trip, she witnessed her worst scare in life. One of the drug mules was taking too long to discharge the pellets and the impatient drug lord ripped his stomach to get them out. I said to myself that I had been lucky for four times, I am not going to be lucky again. I made up my mind that I would not go back. The decision came early enough to save her life, but too late to protect her health. Today, she is in and out of hospital over stomach complications. Besides, she keeps getting memories of a mans stomach being ripped open in front of her. Still, she consoles herself that worse things could have happened to her. Today, three of her friends are languishing in British jails.