20.11.2011 - 06.02.2012
Today we drove to Jinja, the Adrenaline capitol of Uganda. Our camp was basically a night club which for the first night was fine since we all joined in the spirit of things and got stuck in, however by night two after drinking to 4 am and rising at 7 am (by which point the tents were hotter than fire) None of us really much fancied a party. Im not a party popper and when the mood is on me I can drink and party as good as the next man but the important thing is the choice. Choice to party, choice to go home when your done. Trying to sleep in the middle of basically an outdoor rave was not my idea of a great idea. We had it all at this campsite. From Noisy sex in neighbouring tents to people vomiting IN there tents. Think 18-30's pub crawl and you won't be far wrong.
Some of the had chosen to go white water rafting but I had opted out of that activity, partly because at 150 US I thought it was over priced and partly because i wasn't entirely over my cold and getting drenched by rapids didn't seem to be a fantastic way to finally kick it into touch! I spent the day doing laundry of all things and sleeping while it was a little more quiet! I have to say Jinja did nothing for me, its was just a beer fuelled couple of days of touristy tat in my opinion. It came as a relief when we left and headed to Lake Bunyoni. Here we had an opportunity to trek into the mountains between Rwanda and Uganda and visit a local Pygmy tribe. Also known as the Batwa the Pygmy people were displaced from the homes in 1991 when the government declared the area a national park. Of course no recompense or assistance was offered and these people now scratch a living out of the mountainside. No power, clean water and a lack of education are some of the problems they face. We stocked up on balloons, snacks and set out for there village with our guide. I found the trek suprsingly difficult going, in part due to the altitude and largely due to amount of crap still clinging to my lungs from the cold I was puffing and panting like an old steam train not far into the trek. Im ashamed to say on arrive I was too blown out to blow up the balloons we had brought along for the kids. The look of disappointment on one youngsters face will forever haunt me to this day. We were treated to a local dance and a quick tour of the very modest village. As mentioned poverty tourism doesn't sit well with me at the best of times but I was in this case confined that the money raised went to aid the people. Small things like 10$ buys a tin roof for there huts. Given the amount of rain we had seen and the climate in the mountains this alone must be something of a blessing the people lucky enough to procure one. In turn and in thanks for the villages dancing and signing we did our own dance, a comical version of the Hokey Cokey and invited the children to join us, which they did enthusiastically mimicking our movements! I had purchased a small knitted monkey in a charity shop for Aids Orphans ealier in Kenyan and I saw how eagerly one of the children was eyeing it. Of course I had to let him take it and the look of delight on his face was certainly worth it! I also shared out some ciggerattes with the head man. A few hours later we headed back down the mountain to the lake to board our boat for the return trip.
About half way across the lake the heavens opened with a real traditional African rain storm, In seconds we were drenched and our boatman decided to pull over at a nearby island for shelter. To my surprise a group of young lads appeared and led us up the hill to there house, there (presumably) young mother then proceeded to drag all the furniture out of her modest hut and into the lee of a building for us to sit on. This was hospitality at its most humbling. Rushing to help the woman carry the heavy wooden benches she embarrassingly refused my offer of aid. Sadly she didn't speak english so we were unable to communicate and express our gratitude, Its a small kidness like this that makes a truly great impression on you when your away from home......