Lisa’s Uganda Travel Diary 16-03-18 (More Images to follow)
Ahmed, our driver, and guide picked us up from Entebbe Airport in a green safari jeep with a warm welcome. Stepping outside into blazing heat, greeted by a mild downpour was graciously accepted. He said it is a lucky sign to arrive in the rain. We had been traveling for almost two days in the same clothes and having nothing due to the loss of our bags, made the rain feel better than ever. Savoring each drop while others favored shelter.
Being on a schedule and having missed our first day, which would have been a bush walk tracking rhinos, we had to embark on a road trip further afield to get back on track. Luckily, he is going to reschedule it in. At least we were here and still having a laugh, overlooking our misfortunes. It seemed as though every time we were feeling positive, we had to be brought back down like a ton of bricks.
My Mam had just received an email from Brussels Airlines telling us they had canceled our returning flights because we missed our connection. Now hold on, who’s fault was that? Theirs!. Nothing we could do about that right now so I sat quietly, gazing out of the window, watching Uganda unfold before my eyes.
the innocence of youth
It is amazing how poor some of these people are and how happy they look. There were two children who caught my eye, as they were playing blissfully on a pile of tree cut offs, surrounded by mounds of bricks. Now imagine that back home in the U.K, health and safety would have a field day.
I remember when I was little, maybe 8 or so. Just down the street from me. Houses either side and before the road bent around to the left, there was a little ally going down one side of the houses. Garages to your right and a hidden, overgrown garden full of trees to your left. I used to climb up on to the roof of the garages and jump off on to mattresses that were left for the skip man. I would climb the trees to the left as high as I possibly could and jump from one tree to another, pretending I was Tarzan. Can you imagine kids doing that now? No, me neither.
I was happy making dens and building things out of cardboard boxes. Playing hide and seek and knocky door danger, where you had to knock on people’s doors and run away. (apparently knocky nine doors or knocky door ginger depending on where you grew up). Red letter was also a good one. The aim of the game was to have two groups. One group would make up a word, each player having their own letter to make up the chosen word. The opposing team had to catch you and get the letters from everyone and guess the name. Now the way we played it, we pretty much kicked each other all over to get the word. All fun and games though, kids being kids.
There was also Foxes and hounds, where one team was foxes and the other team being the hounds. I’m guessing you would have the just of that one where the hounds try to catch the foxes. Kids now rarely do that anymore. They’re all about technology and the newest gadgets they can have. They’ll ring each other to go out now, no one knocks on doors anymore. I see all of the kids here playing all happy with not a care in the world. Smiles beaming from their faces from playing with a stick or anything else lying around.
A discolored pair of shorts and a t-shirt full of holes, the little boy waved. I waved back and smiled but couldn’t help thinking how children back home have tantrums when they don’t get what they want, whether it be a new pair of shoes or the latest trend of clothing. A game for their new computer or anything just for the sake of it. They should be made on school trips, to go to places of less fortunate and hopefully learn the value of what they have and appreciate and learn that they are privileged and lucky to have been born where they were. Just being born does not make you entitled. Things come too easy for many when children here are lucky to have one pair of shoes and one outfit to wear.
Are We there Yet?
Asking Ahmed how long it would be before we reach our destination, was like being hit in the stomach in a boxing session. 6 more hours to go. Obviously, that time would have been broken up, if we were doing the activities planned for us before things went wrong. Rows and rows of trees with giant jackfruit hanging on them passed us by. Local markets ranging from clothes to fruits and mechanical parts, as colorful as a rainbow. Children which I would say were under 10, were working on cars and motorbikes in their dark blue, greasy overalls. Women carrying their babies wrapped up by a shawl on their back like a rucksack. Cows and goats strolling the streets like they would an open field.
We passed a remote place called the Luwero triangle. Ahmed explained that years ago in the late 80’s, the people tried to help the rebels fight against the government. The repercussions of this, lead to everyone being slaughtered, bodies and blood covering the roads. The government was overthrown and now the rulers look highly upon the people living there and make sure they have what they need, leaving them in peace. You will not see anyone in their later years living here because not one person was left alive.
Anyone that lives there older than around 40, would all be newcomers. After falling asleep for god knows how long, the sun was starting to set and we were out in the sticks. The rain was falling like buckets from the sky, onto open green fields with an airy mist above them. The sun was like an eclipse trying to escape the mists grasp. In the distance looked like a volcano erupting with the red sky setting across a mountain. Every now and then, small mud huts with pointy straw roofs would appear like tribal villages being drowned in the mud.
Further down the road, in the middle of nowhere, we passed through a tiny village which was also a mixture of mud huts and log looking cabins, as well as tin houses with very few stalls and shops. There was a group of older men sat playing some sort of card game besides the road and smoking like troopers. Children were pumping away at a water pump that looked like a see-saw, while the women were carrying the buckets on their head.
The River Nile
Minutes passed which seemed like days and the hours stretched. I have never been so happy to reach a destination point. The wooden sign pointing to Murchison fort nature lodges. The potholed dirt road, swirled uphill amongst the trees, to the first accommodation since starting our eventful journey. Murchison lodge is situated on the waterfront of the river Nile.
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa and is commonly regarded as the longest river in the world, though some sources cite the Amazon as the longest river. The Nile, which is 4,258 miles long, is an ‘international’ river as its drainage basin covers eleven countries, namely Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Republic of Sudan and Egypt. In particular, the Nile is the primary water source of Egypt and Sudan.
We arrived just after 10pm and a lovely girl named Patience, with red and dark brown dreadlocks, greeted us at the door with ice cold, fresh lemonade. It was nice to know with everything being so delayed, they waited up for us to arrive and took us straight for some food. They sat us down in not too big of a room, with maybe six or so picnic-style tables. There was a cabinet next to the door which was full of alcohol. From what I remember there was a bottle of Amarula and a bottle of Obikwa pinotage which we ordered for the table. We were fed a four-course meal consisting of a well-made salad of a large variety. It was colourful and crunchy and had a delicious dressing, considering I’m not a salad person, that says something.
The next meal was a green soup. They didn’t say what it was but I could definitely taste celery. I don’t like celery either but the soup was lovely. By this point and also with being tired, I was full. I did try to eat the third course of rice and pork chops in a honey mustard glaze but it was not to my liking. The dessert, however, was much to my pallets delight. A plate of homemade crepes with banana and syrup. We had a good old chuckle at the fact the next day we would be on our third day’s travel with the same clothes on. At least we could get a shower now, but no time to wash our clothes with such an early start the next day, as they would not dry.
We were shown to our tents and after having a lukewarm shower, I was ready to sleep in a bed for the first time since home. Our tent was a large mosquito net like structure so had to have a leather cover for our privacy. There were four wooden poles surrounding the tent with a thatched roof over the top. Inside were two single beds with a mosquito net and a small table in between, with a lamp and extension lead sitting on top.
I was relieved to see that the sockets were the same as back home. Lying on my bed I could smell nature. The aroma hit my nose like the smell of marijuana. Being from a noisy city, relaxing to the sounds of crickets chirping, geckos and other creatures of the night making their own musical orchestra. Lying and being thankful that my mam was making these memories with me for our joint birthday, her being 50 and myself 30. I wished her goodnight and told her I loved her which made it all the more special.