our visas came through so during the school vacation i went up to uganda for a week with three other vso volunteers- vanessa, cathryn, and sarah- all english teachers. we left kigali early on friday morning, hit the border an hour later, waited in lines for about two hours (you must wait to leave rwanda, then again to enter uganda, and all the while africans are cutting right and left to the point that in order to actually get back on the bus before it leaves without you, you must cut to the front of the line like everyone else), hopped back on the bus to kabale, where there was an easter parade going on (see pic). from kabale we got a taxi to lake bunyoni, where we got in a dugout canoe and paddled to an island in the middle of the lake, where we stayed at a campsite for four days. it’s hard to make those days sound interesting because all we did was sunbathe, swim, read, relax, and eat lots of good food. but after the stress of my first term i needed four days of nothing to decompress.

in our super laid-back state, we left the island for kampala, the capital of uganda. i was impressed with kampala- compared to kigali, it’s very cosmopolitan, very western. there are ice-cream shops, coffee shops, department stores, and indian restaurants (chinese, thai, and ethiopian too, but we couldn’t try them all). there are lots of things to buy at very cheap prices in the markets, and i got some great bargains. handicrafts are particularly cheap compared to rwanda and i think i would have taken home a truckload of stuff if i could have (winter sun would go nuts). there are also lots of cars in kampala, and so much smog that you can’t breathe and you arrive back at the hostel covered in black dirt.

so we only spent one day in the city. then we went a bit further north for a day trip white-water rafting on the nile. amazing! i’ve never been rafting before (the closest i’ve come was tubing on the esopus with the rhinebeck-rheinbach exchange when i was thirteen) and i had a blast. we did grades three, four, and five rapids, the boat flipped about half the time but the water was warm and deep enough that i never even touched a rock. it was like the excitement of swimming in the ocean on cape cod after a hurricane only not as cold. the boat flips, you go under, you’re not sure which way is up or how you’re going to get the next breath but the water spits you back out and bobs you along and then there’s a happy guy in a kayak waiting to help you back into the raft.

i’m back in musha now, trying to get stuff in order before the next term. hopefully my vacation was sufficient to keep me going through the next twelve weeks. i’m looking forward to seeing the students again, and expecting this term to go more smoothly (learn from my mistakes and all that). we’ll see.

easter parade in kabale lake bunyoni cathryn and vanessa


~ by aliciawolcott on April 14, 2007.

2 Responses to “uganda”

  1. i can’t see the pictures! i’m impressed you went white-water rafting though and it sounds really fun. the one time i went (ok, so the esopus with the rhinebeck-reinbach exchange and you) i got stuck under the tube seat thing and almost drowned. in hindsight, i did get to be on tv because of it, so i’ve really got nothing to complain about.

    happy birthday big sister!

  2. i lied. i can see the pictures just fine now.

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