It is not always easy to recharge my phone, so I am a little behind in blogging..
A few days ago now, I went from Kabale to Lake Bunyonyi, arguably one of the prettiest spots in Uganda. It was a steep climb up and down, but it was worth it. I stayed at a place called Bugombe Camp, and even if my intention was to camp, the manager wanted none of this, and offered me a beautiful room for the same price as camping. One of those rooms that made me feel like just staying there and not going anywhere!
But I at least visited the Friday market, which was small but interesting to see, with people from all around the lake coming by boat to sell their stuff. I also went for a walk and ran into many kids who wanted money or pen. They are generaly not aggressive, just a bit intense at times. One time, to my surprise, after the usual ‘give me money’ that I tried to ignore as much as I could, a little hand grabbed mine, and we walked silently together almost all the way back to my camp.
My original plan for the next day was to go from Lake Bunyonyi to Bwindi National Park (where mountain gorillas can be tracked for about $1000 for an hour with them) but a little google maps inquiry gave me an estimated 1900m to climb, and I knew it would not be a good idea. So I found out that there was an eco-friendly homestay in a different area of the lake, 17 km away, on my way to Bwindi. A pretty remote place, but I was happy about that, as the other area was nice but very touristy.
So I went back up the hill, and continued onto a beautiful road, up and up and up again. It was delightful, very scenic and locals were very friendly too. They even got very excited when I was about to take the wrong trail.
Finally I arrived at the incredible Amasiko Homestay, owned by a very interesting Dutch/German man and his Ugandan wife, lovely people and equally lovely staff. The place really is eco friendly and I could not resist staying in one of their cabins, instead of camping: it has an fantastic view on the lake, a big baclony with sofas to chill, and the perfect place to set up my hammock!
But i didn’t get much of a chance to use it, because by chance, that afternoon the village was celebrating the ‘approval’ of a future wife for a local young man. I was told that in this area, when a man wants to marry a woman, the bride to be has to spend a certain time with her future husband’s family to see if she is well behaved, works hard, knows how to cook, etc. Eventually if the family accepts her, there is a celebration, before they get married officially, and this is what was happening. Two other Dutch travelers and myself were invited to that event. How could we say no! This was such a privilege!
So around 3 pm, we went to the house, already several people were there and some of them already pretty drunk! As highly respected guests, we were asked to sit in a seperate small room in the house. They bought us food, drinks, etc. We waited for about 3 hours, but that was also nice because we had a chance to ask Wilfred and Nice many questions about Uganda. Eventually we were invited outside, and for a good hour there were speaches, gifts, music, etc. We couldn’t understand anything but it was such a treat to see all the women dressed in beautiful colours. Once the girl was officially accepted, an old lady started singing, and then many guests started dancing but a real hardcore physical dance, involving much stepping and stomping, my body was hurting just watching them. Then the intensity lowered a bit and it was so awesome to watch them dance, and Oh! do they know how to dance!
Then we were offered more drinks, and were put back into our small room… But soon we were out again and started dancing too. Even very small kids are amazing dancers, and soon again a little one grabbed my hands and we danced together. This little girl had stars in her eyes. I don’t know which one between she and I had the biggest smile, but I can certainly tell you who was the better dancer.
We left the party to go home and eat our dinner. Us guests felt so thankful to have been invited to such a special event. I smile thinking that I could have paid a certain amount to go on a cultural tour of the village or on a boat trip on the lake, but being part of this special feast was free and priceless. Something you cannot plan. It’s just chance: being at the right place at the right time.