Starting to relax
Trip Start May 23, 2008
54Trip End Ongoing
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After leaving Kampala at an ungodly hour on Tuesday we were on our last leg of driving days. The road was terrible, it took us the whole day. We did however stop on the equator to have some hot drinks in a cool little café/art and craft gallery, where all the profits went to an AIDS organisation. We got to Kabale mid-late afternoon to stock up on food etc, and as I was on cooking that day I went to help Su get the fresh veggies and fruit from the markets, along with Olivia and Steve. To get to the markets we had to get on the back of pushbikes and were ridden about a km down the main road. It was bloody scary but so cool! Su and mine were racing each other, and even though they were pedalling for 2 people, they were belting past the other bikes at a cracking speed! We were weaving in and out of traffic, I just held on and if we weren't winning, I was urging my guy to go faster
The markets were pretty full on with people trying to get you to buy their produce, or just staring at you. One lady we bought bananas from was breastfeeding her (uhh 2 year old??) child and had her boobs out everywhere. It's definitely a different place here. When we had bought everything we needed we got back onto the bikes, although this time I couldn't hold on as I had to hold a bag in each hand out away from the bike so it didn't get caught in the spokes, luckily the guy was a little slower than the last and by this time I was a pro so I was fine! I seriously should consider a career as a gymnast or something.
Almost anywhere we stop, especially in towns, we get hassled non-stop to buy newspapers, cards, fruit, cooked meat etc, even when we are still on the truck. At Kabale, we were getting kids begging for food or money with the normal like of (them)'how are you?' (us) 'great thanks how are you?' (them) 'im hungry' (palms outstretched). It's really sad, these kids hang around a little concrete dump area where they scavenge through for food, and burn any of the rubbish that is useless. While we were there the bakers brought over a wheelbarrow of rubbish, flour and paper and stuff, and it was like a flock of seagulls descended
The campsite here at Lake Bunyonyi is about a 30 minute drive up through the hills from Kabale, and looks out over the lake. It is built on the side of a hill so it steps down it, the top level is the car park and reception, the second the bar/restaurant, and the third is at the lake level, and that's where we are camped. The truck can't come down here though so any time we need to eat or get something from the truck we have to hike back up the hill. The gardens here are gorgeous and so lush, the grass is so green, and the plants are all tropical and exotic. There's a cute little jetty out over the water with a little hut at the end, and even fake animals - crocodiles, gorillas, elephants etc around the grounds to make you feel more like you're in the jungle than a campsite. Out over the lake is more hills, terraced with crops and shacks and stripes of rich red soil. The lake is the deepest in Africa and the 3rd deepest in the world at 6500ft, and due to a nearby volcano the ground is red and very rich and fertile
Yesterday I didn't do much of anything - we have had so long on the truck that I needed some chill out time and read my book and snoozed and got to know some of the people on the tour. The day absolutely flew past and to be honest I don't really know where it went! But I still absolutely loved it, my first relaxing day in ages!
This morning was a bit of the same, I did some hand washing of my clothes and enjoyed the morning sunshine. After lunch Kelly and I went to have a tour through some of the area and see the orphanage that's here. Our guide was a local called Duncan, and he was so nice and only 21! It was pretty clear that he had been through some stuff in his life that we could never comprehend at that age. He walked us up the hillside and we got a view over part of the lake, in total there are 29 islands including Prison Island, which was used to take girls who became pregnant out of wedlock to die, which was terribly cruel. We could also see a plantation of actual Australian Eucalypts, which had been donated by an aussie guy. All the canoes on the lake are carved from trees, and most are gum as they are so straight. We visited an old ladies little shack on the hillside, where she showed us how to grind porridge traditionally using a stone, and some of the bowls that she weaves. We got to have a go at grinding, but we pretty much sucked. The old lady was so funny, she thinks that all the girls that Duncan brings are his new girlfriends so she literally feels us up to see if we are appropriate. I was wearing shorts so she grabbed my legs, she smacked our arses and even grabbed our chests
When we were about halfway there, out of nowhere about 8 of the orphan kids appeared and as we were walking up the road 2 of them grabbed onto my hands and walked in silence next to me. It was such a small but humbling moment, these poor kids have next to nothing, they weren't even wearing shoes, and I hope that even something as small as that would help then to believe that there is still hope and happiness for them in this world, and that at least someone cares about them.
We were shown some new huts in the process of being built for the children to sleep in, and then a house where in one room 10 kids slept
The kids were all so gorgeous, you can't believe that the world could be this bad, it's really sad. It makes you want to make the world a better place. Ever since I first arrived in Africa I have been thinking of sponsoring another child. I already have one, Kalu, who lives in Kenya. But it's hard to know where your money is actually going with organisations like World Vision. Here you can sponsor the children and you can actually see where the money goes. As primary school in Uganda is free, you can only sponsor secondary age kids, and so the money goes to school fees, books etc. most of the kids are AIDS/HIV orphans, some sleep at the orphanage and some go home at night to guardians. But they all deserve a decent home.
So it's been a pretty humbling and eye-opening day for me. But this is only one part of Africa. There is still much more to come.