For years now my plans to attend this project have not been fruitful as something has always come up at the last minute, I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way this time round.
On Thursday 9th October 2015, I packed my bags and by 7:30 pm I was at Chinese Restaurant Centenary Park which was the designated venue for departure. The first coaster arrived at about 9:00pm and by the time I got onto it; most seats were either occupied or booked. At 10:00pm the first coaster set off and news reaching me indicated that there was another coaster on its way, so I waited and as I was at that, I made an order for chapatti and gravy. The order took longer than usual and by then I was holding the coaster from departing.
At 11:00 pm we set off and as the chapatti and gravy made rounds from seat to seat, I realized that everybody was equally as hungry as I was given that the 5 pairs were done in a blink of an eye. The journey was smooth but the merry making was ecstatic due to the excitement of discovering the unknown. Periodically stop overs were made to answer natures call and also get some bites and drinks (gonja, meat, soda and liquor).
Fort Portal is far but never have I spent 6 hours to get there, we arrived at 04:00 hrs at Lisieux guest house, registered at the reception, picked room keys and slept soundly. The Breakfast was rather peculiar, a choice between African tea, hot water, steamed banana fingers with offal’s or white bread was what the chef had to offer. Due to the various levels of hunger some Rotaractors that I will not mention chose to serve all that was on the menu and in their defence claimed mbu ‘tumalayo ssente zaffe’, literally meaning maximization of costs.
Since it had been raining all morning we found ourselves behind schedule but at around 10:30 am, we set off for Canon Apollo P.T.C. We took ourselves around this rather clean place, it is well organized with trimmed lawns and you can easily tell that the management isn’t of Ugandan descent. There’s surely a child in each one of us and this was evident as we took turns playing with the make shift airplane, vehicle, motorbike and swings but this came at a cost. Little did we know that the grass was infested with red ants and whoever wanted to take a selfie like Peter Andrew Mugarura aka Slim from Rct Kla City got a fair share of bites from the now rather angry red ants to the extent that some people had to undress not fully just to make sure that they had no ants crawling underneath their clothing. Luckily by the time all this drama happened I had already taken enough selfies while rejuvenating the kid in me.
We later got into the hall where we were welcomed by the sight of banana stems this time used as decorations and plant leaves placed along the window panes, I guess that’s the way very important persons are welcomed in that part of the Country. After calling fellowship to order and going through the norms of Rotary, we listened to a lecture on climate change by the Deputy Managing Director of National Forest Authority Mr. Gilbert Kadiro. As much as his lecture was very informative, by the time he was done many people in the audience were in slumber land, he went on for what seemed to be forever. We were joined by Rotarians and Rotaractors from RC and Rct Kabarole, Interactors from Nyakasura School all dressed in kilts and Fort Portal S.S dressed in green suits. Mr. Gilbert emphasized the need to plant more trees due to the fact that the rate of deforestation is higher than that of
reforestation thus in the next 30 years Uganda will be a semi desert.
We planted trees in the P.T.C compound as a memoir of our visit and to the rest were given to the School’s Director for further planting later on. Lunch was served at around 14:30hrs and we were glad to see it, for we needed some energy boost. There was a variety of foods mainly those filled with starch and we did justice to it. After that we headed to the pitch for games Rtns and Rctrs versus the students of Canon Apollo P.T.C in Volleyball, Football and Basketball. As members of Rotary we need to engage in more sporty activities so as to keep fit, we were humiliated 4-0 in football, even after substituting half the team no improvement in possession was recorded, lost narrowly by 3 points in basketball and I didn’t get the volleyball scores but what difference would it make anyway.
Walugembe Doulas Pres Rct Kla North will leave to tell this story of how he almost lost his right eye due to a hot slap from the students point guard and not even the rants of foul play from the crowd coupled with his antics of playing dead by lying flat on the court, could influence the empire’s decision to continue with play. These students were hard
core and they put all the energy accrued from the consumption of sweet potatoes to good use.
We conceded defeat but that didn’t stop us from heading to flower gardens to celebrate not our triumph but our display of resilience to challenges. All this was organized by the Rotaract Club of Kabarole and while there we danced and ate white and goats meat and washed it down with a range of drinks up to about 9:00 pm when we headed back to our rooms, freshened up and headed to a place known as ‘Kanyaasi’ where the celebrations continued.
Saturday Morning we woke up to heavy rains but after breakfast it was time to say bye to beautiful Fort Portal and hit the road to Mbarara. We stopped at King Fisher Lodge Kichwamba to marvel at the beauty over there, then at the Equator which most Rotaractors didn’t know existed. While at the bridge crossing from Kasese through Queen Elizabeth National Park, the military officers refuted us from taking pictures and literally chased us away. This explains why our Tourism Industry lags behind yet Uganda has numerous attractions, since when is it criminal to take pictures while at a bridge?
The journey from that point on was long but the next stop point was exciting, at 17:00hrs we ate lunch at Kabagarame, a place with numerous grass thatched huts resembling the manyatta’s commonly found in the Karamoja region. The menu was roasted white meat with steamed matooke and kalo. After filling our stomachs we headed to Igongo Country Resort, we reached at 19:00hrs and fellowship was called to order and Mr. James Tumusiime was recognized for his dedicated service in the publishing sector. He shared his path to success and gave the youth some hints on how to succeed in life and these 4p’s have guided him through his lustrous career; People, passion, persistence and profit. He showed his gratitude by hosting us to a cocktail party which we gladly accepted and enjoyed. It also happened to be his wife’s birthday and her two sons surprised her with a cake, she was speechless and excited at this gesture. We sang the usual happy birthday hymn as she cut the cake which we also consumed. Rotaractors from Mbarara Community and Mbarara University of Science and Technology were in attendance.
Supper was served at about 23:00hrs, that’s after another hour on the road to the location. We ate the tasty food and then set off to Generation Suites. There was a mishap at the guest house and half of us had to relocate for the rooms at that guest house were full. This didn’t stop us from heading to Club Las Vegas at about 02:00hrs once we had settled in.
On Sunday at about 08:00hrs we checked out of our rooms and ate breakfast then got into the coaster for Kampala. We got off the main and onto the road heading to a forest reserve belonging to RC of Mbarara Community where one coaster got stuck in the mud and the likes of Kabenge Rct Kla City and Ddungu Martin Rct Nateete displayed
Coaster rescue skills as they together with the help of other Rotaractors pushed the bus out of the pool of mud.
The next stop was at the forest reserve where we planted more trees and donated the rest to Rct Mbarara Community and continued with our journey. By 16:30 hrs we had arrived at Centenary Park tired but glad to have been part of the team dedicated to greening Mt. Rwenzori and restoring back the ice at the top.
Silver Jubilee President
Rotaract Club of Kololo
Sponsored By The Rotary Club of Kololo