Uganda – Kabale and Rwasesi

We left the White Horse at a reasonable hour and walked down the hill to the main road in Kabale (see picture below) having left a quantity of washing at the hotel to collect after our trips to Rwasesi and Lake Bunyonyi.

TheDrain went off to Stanbic Bank to change travellers cheques (a process which took the best part of an hour, as each cheque needed to be individually photocopied, money counted twice by hand and twice by machine, all under the supervision of a second teller), Feeble and I went to find postcards.

As we were in the Post Office, Joram (a friend of one of F’s Uganda friends) happened to be passing and popped in (a pleasantly random occurrence).
Benon arrived in his car, saw that changing traveller’s cheques was taking quite some time and went off to collect Trust, Brave and Pearl from Kabale Primary School where they are boarding. When they came back, we all piled into the back of the car and went to Rwasesi (about 22km away).

Passing along the road we stopped to buy some vegetables from roadside stalls. We also passed the site of a coach crash. Apparently 2 people died as the coach came off the road (travelling too fast in the dark at 5am it seems). Dangers on the road are marked out by placing branches in the road as markers.

The next day and a half in Rwasesi was really special. Lots of sitting on the verandah, watching the world go by (and the world going by watching us). A very nice location to read some of the books which I had brought with me, or scribble over my printouts of Judges.

Benon, Judith and family were extremely hospitable – enormous quantities of food at regular (and slightly too frequent?) intervals – main meals included matoke, spaghetti, rice, Irish (i.e. normal, as opposed to sweet) potatoes, chicken, ‘soup’ (chicken stock-ish), cauliflower and courgettes, pineapple for afters. Breakfast and breaks comprised chapattis, omelettes, home-made popcorn, bananas, roast groundnuts.
The children were very happy to be at home and enjoyed the food a lot (normally posho and beans/rice and beans every day). Main meals were rounded off with a small drop of (lethal!) Cypriot Altar wine. Lots of Ugandan tea and chai (kind of hot milk with tea leaves). I even managed a couple of cups of weak black tea. Hot water and hot milk stored in thermos flasks and brought to the table as required.

Benon and Judith have a very posh house by local standards – they have electric lighting, a landline telephone (mobiles far more common in Africa apparently), a courtyard out the back leading to the kitchen (wood fires), and the long drop (two – one for adults and one for children) which has a concrete floor, and a couple of bricks on which to stand. Water is not too far away – about 200m, and is used very carefully. Thus, a real treat to have jerry cans of hot and cool water with which to wash in the morning. The house has a very clever irrigation system which channels all the waste water from the kitchen / wash room / rainwater round the house and down into the field where they grow their food.

On Weds, due to the recent rain, Benon decided that a trip to Kamuronko (where F worked in 2000) was not feasible as the road would be too slippy/muddy (a very, very steep hill), so instead, we walked into Rwasesi village to look at the church. As we walked up the hill, we passed a couple of young children at the water tap (“How-are-you?” “I-am-fine.How-are-you?” – much giggling). After visiting the church we stopped off at the Primary School to visit the headmaster and sign the visitor’s book. The headmaster’s office is decorated with lots of (mostly) handmade posters (the dangers of AIDS/school leaving exam results going back to 1970/photos of all the school children with their roll numbers – looking slightly like criminal mugshots). The school year starts in January, so Trust (currently in P6) is about to take her final exams in Kabale PS, which will determine how good a school she can get into. She may need to travel as far as Mbarara (2 hours drive) to go to a good school.

(Poster in the room outside the headmaster’s office: No smoking, drinking alcohol, x, y, z, sex abuse or telling lies allowed in this school. Not sure whether to be disturbed or amused by the order. Probably a little of both).

After dinner on Tuesday, the children treated us to a display of singing and Bakiga dancing. Video of one of the songs below (the dancing is currently too large a file size to upload – will try to tweak)