Thursday, 9 December 2010

Bwera Bound

I take up an opportunity to visit PODA’s project in Western Uganda near the Congo Border with Peter and Natalie Hunt and number of other fellow Canadians. We departed Dec. 2. The next few posts are a catch-up due to lack of Internet access.
Alongside the tea plantations
I left my computer behind. Hope I have enough warm clothes. There’s eight of us in a 10 passenger Toyota van. We’re off. Two wheelchairs on top. If you opened the aft hatch too much would fall out. It’s a seven and a half hour trek. That we know. Bye bye Kampala.
First stop, the drum vendors. On the side of the road. Barter, barter. Some are drunk. We get a bass and a treble sounding one each. By 11 a.m. we’re passing white circles. The Ugandan markers for the equator. The usual amount of produce is sold generously at the sides of the road. A guy walks out with a string of fish as we drive by. We’re near a lake. As we travel further west the density of foliage becomes richer. We see a boda-boda with a speed wobble. No, it’s two people with three goats.
Lunch is a stop in an Indian style restaurant. Here I learn of a wedding celebration on Sunday. Pete and Nat’s. African style. I feel honoured to be able to attend. Apparently the sacrificial cow is already standing by.
On our way again. Another stop by the traffic police. Nat’s driving now. He asks for her International Driver’s license. She says it’s not in her purse but in the back. In English with a accent he explains the importance of having your license next to you when you’re driving.
“When you have a gun – you keep it by your side. Why do you not?” he insists and waves us on.
This after he asks why is it that “she” is driving?
A tea plantation in Western Uganda.
As dusk slopes down we make another stop to photograph the tea plantations. Spectacular. We then cross through Queen Elizabeth Wildlife Refuge. And halt for elephants. Pete caught them in the corner of his eye. More speed bumps, they’re everywhere. Then baboons. Funky faces. Curious.

I ask Pete and Nat why Bwera? They’re tangled with a group called Cobra to build a secondary school.
Pete met Nelson, the on-site project lead for Cobra at Mengo Hospital. Nelson was a guard. He invited him to Bwera to visit his family. That was six years ago.
We arrive at dark. The locals greet us in broken English with “You are welcome.”
The tool shed is then laid out with a tasty African dinner consisting of cabbage, sweet potatoes, beans, g-nuts, pineapple and melon.
Our tent is raised and Colleen (also from Victoria who only arrived to Kampala yesterday) and I are home.
The stars are deep in Bwera. It feels peaceful here. I look forward to the rise of the sun to seep in the surroundings and the progress of the school.


Mzungu said...

You are ruined dear Jane. Africa will flood your dreams and you will be back.

A Fresh Thinker said...

Absolutely, thank you dear one!