Valley College and Lake Mburo, Tue July 8

With heavy hearts Barbara and I departed from Fort Portal and our old friends.

Our new friend William (Apuuli), who brought us out from Kampala, now drove us down the well-maintained tarmac road south from Fort Portal. We went along the Ruwenzori Mountains, through the town Kasese, across the Western Rift Valley, over the Equator, and back up the rift escarpment to the town of Bushenyi.

The high Ruwenzoris were by far the clearest we've ever seen them. Snow was faintly visible in south-facing high cirques that are protected from the sun. This was a magical moment for me. I've read that these mountains were pivotal in the evolution of humanity. The rain shadow they created extended the savannah hundreds of miles west from Tanzania's Olduvai Gorge and Eastern Rift mountains. The Ruwenzori shadow may have accelerated, or even been the direct cause of, the emergence of humans several million years ago.

We stopped at Valley College (actually a secondary school) in Bushenyi to visit Akwandonaho Dominic, who was the star of the Kasiisi video from 2005, and other AFROKAPS scholars. It was an emotional reunion to say the least. How many times we think of these children, who work so hard and who represent a sane, globally-aware future! How difficult it was to leave them after less than an hour, not to interfere unduly with their intense schedules, which start at 4:30 AM every school day and go deep into nights of studying. We met one of our own scholarship students, Birungi Hilda (sister of Kukunda Martha), for the first time. Here we are with Dominic and Hilda.

Late in the day we ended our journey at Mihingo Lodge, perched high atop granite cliffs in Lake Mburo National Park. Our dinner of rosemary bread, chicken, rice and vegetables was exceptional.

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