Mburo, Entebbe and Kampala, Wed-Fri July 9-11

Barbara and I took a two-hour game walk Wednesday morning, starting rather later than planned due to some extra driving along ill-defined tracks en route to the Lake Mburo park headquarters. On the walk we saw topi, water buck, vervet monkeys, water buffalo, mongoose, and lots of zebra and impala. To our regret we didn't see eland, that most majestic of creatures, either here or anywhere else on this trip.

Wednesday afternoon and early evening we unwound in the cooling breezes at the top of the Mihingo Lodge, in the dining area overlooking the swimming pool and Lake Mburo parkland. On the other side we could see Kacheera Lake in the distance. It's hard to imagine a more quiet and relaxing time or place. The food continued to be stellar.

On Thursday morning the 10th we drove out of Lake Mburo's Nshara Gate past herds of Ankole cattle and made our way through Masaka to Kampala and Entebbe.

The roads on Thursday were not as good as from Fort Portal to Bushenyi. What's wrong with this road picture? Well, in Uganda you drive on the left side as in Britain ... but here we are all the way on the right side of the road. We're dashing over to avoid potholes, of the kind that break axles, some of which you can see at the left. Notice the oncoming van in our lane. No problem, we'll zip back to the left just before he crashes into us, unless at that moment he unwisely lurches to his right to avoid the potholes you see coming up dead ahead ... and so it goes, hour after hour.

The Thursday drive to Entebbe was punctuated every few seconds or at most minutes by avoidance maneuvers. Many of these moves had to do with getting out of the way of massive buses that blast by you, stop later to add/drop passengers while you drive past them, then blast by you again soon afterwards, all the while spewing clouds of oily smoke that choke and envelop you. Some of the bus company names we noticed - having a lot of time today to do this sort of thing - were Perfect, Endigyito, Jaguar, Swift Safari, Kalita, Link, Kibaluma, Poko Poko, and Honest Coach.

Along the way to Entebbe on Thursday we stopped at St. Mary's College in Kisubi near Entebbe, known as the top secondary school in Uganda for boys. We met with the deputy headmaster to explore the possibility of Dominic transferring here for his A level studies (last two years of secondary school). It looks quite promising, and if Dominic continues to excel we will likely pursue this avenue in about a year.

On Friday the 11th we were driven into Kampala (by a warm and capable driver, Sulla Lwanga) to buy books, gifts and Kasiisi crafts. We had lunch with scholar Koojo Matthew, the very first Kasiisi/AFROKAPS scholar to enter university. He's studying business at Kampala International University. His days, like Dominic's and Hilda's, are intense. He lives alone in a small rented room that has no electricity. He gets up at 6 and makes millet porridge on his small portable gas stove in a common area just outside his room. Classes go from 8 to 2. Then he has lunch and takes an hour of relaxation. He studies in the library from 4 PM until 10 at night as a rule, and up to midnight during exam periods. We are humbled.

By Friday evening nearly all of the Weston educators had collected at the Boma Guest House in Entebbe once again. One of the safari vehicles went straight from Lake Mburo to the airport, separately. When the rest of us got underway for the short drive to the airport, who should be standing square in the road but Joshua, Moses and Beatrice! They had driven 200 miles from Fort Portal just to see us off! What an amazing and heart-clutching surprise! They escorted us to the airport and stayed there very late, until 11 PM, to see our plane bound for Amsterdam lift from the ground.

Which it did, and we left Uganda behind us once again. But never behind us in our hearts.

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