Reflections in Uganda and Rwanda

Uganda and Rwanda, I had never been to this part of Africa and I was doubley excited. I had little to my imagination about Uganda but was I suprised when I got to the town of Jinja (source of the White Nile). There is nothing quite like your first boda boda ride (motorbike) …. Hair waving in the wind, squint eyes as you try see where you are going and of course holding on tightly to the biker. In Uganda, it is the cheapest and quickest means of getting round a city/ town. After a couple of days when the nerves had settled I even caught my self, texting someone from the back of a boda boda (not promoting this behaviour at all)

From seeing the source of the Nile in Jinja…. To eating my first meal of matoke (cooked bananas) and groundnut sauce, Uganda was quite an authentic experience. 

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Kampala, the city of hills was as busy as every African capital. The boda bodas do not give you time to breath and for 1000 UGX (less than $0.40), I was maneuvering around the city with ease. A simple observation is the yellow and red that has painted Kampala let alone the other cities and towns that I passed through , MTN and Airtel (telecommunications providers) are dominant in advertising and providing services such as mobile money. Such is prevalence of mobile phones, money transfer and even paying for a hotel bill can be done using mobile money services.

Life in Uganda was very much affordable and kind to my wallet, my favorite food of choice is the Rolex (egg+cabbage+tomato rolled around chapati ), for 1500 UGX ($0.45) for a filling roll.  Part of the preparation process of a rolex (below) on a metal casing containing, hot embers.

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I could not leave the Namayiba bus station (Kampala) without taking a photo of the seating area. Re-use of old bus seats as seating 🙂

bus station

One issue I have with visiting some of the tourist places that are advised, is the sad history that some have. I visited the Matrys Shrine in Kampala and after a detailed and intense guide from the tour guide, I was saddened and in a heavy mood. On such a long trip, I have seen some historical places that shows the darkness of man and this leaves a shadow on ones pysche. 

Rwanda 

Upon entering Kigali, what strikes me is the order and cleanliness of the city. There is very little litter on the streets, there is a strong armed police presence and there is order even at the bus station. Bus stations can be the most chaotic of places in an Africa city, but Nyabugogo (central bus station in Kigali) is different. Purchasing tickets for various destinations is hassle free. 

You cannot go to Rwanda without visiting the memorial for the genocide victims. A visit to the Kigali memorial, puts life into perspective and even a hard soul is softened by the stories, images and depictions of what happened. As I walk though the centre, I hear muffled sniffles as the emotions gets to two ladies….. My eyes are steamed up and moist with tears at the images and of children who did not survive. I wonder how man can be so cruel, man that detected the atom, man that can create 1000m high structures, man that can achieve what once was deemed impossible ( flying, going and living in space) can be so cruel,  sadistic and downright evil. In one of the videos, a survivor says ” we are all born with love and hate, depending on what you nourish, is what you become”…

View from Kigali Memorial

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A drive through Kigali

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On the road to Ntarama to visit a memorial site, I could not help but notice these men saving on some pedaling power. Oddly enough we passed police men stationed by the side of the rode and all the policemen could do was wave an index finger at the men as if they were naughty kids :-). Dangerous behavior but ingenious!

Kigali danger

Green for the foliage (bananas, sugar cane, jungle forest), yellow for MTN mobile provider that has painted every town, corner I went through yellow. I enjoyed my time so much in Uganda, i did not mind changing my route and heading back from Rwanda to Uganda instead of going to West Tanzania. I found myself at a little piece of heaven known as Byoona Amagora on Lake Bunyonyi, a bilharzia free lake. Located in the North Uganda, 20 km from the Uganda/Rwanda border, the lake has over 25 small islands and the calm waters provide a cool break from the Uganda heat. The lodge is eco-friendly and one is woken up by a cacophony of birds and bees humming as the sun rises. It was refreshing to be away from the urban noises i had gotten used to over the travels. 

Lake view

Vie from around the lake …

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No pictures will do the views justice and as one traveler said to me ” You don’t always have to take pictures, sometimes, just seeing is enough” …
Up next is Tanzania…
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2 thoughts on “Reflections in Uganda and Rwanda

  1. True indeed your journeys have taught you so much about life cultures etc “I am still learning” Michelangelo , age 80. So are you son there is more and more to learn.
    Enjoy the remaining journey.

    Like

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