Glimpses from the Road

Some people think of each photo before they take it, contemplating the shadows, the light, the profile of the people. As a member of the iphone generation, I just point and shoot. Often from the window of a car as I pass by interesting – or what I see to be typical scenes of daily life.

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Kisoro: A corner in the Pearl of Africa

Kisoro is a sleepy town in the Southwestern corner of Uganda. About 500 kilometers from Kampala it is primarily a passing point for travelers going to Kigali, Rwanda or for those who are willing to shell out 600 USD to do a ‘gorilla trek’ in one of Uganda’s national parks.  Nestled in the Virunga mountain range, with spectacular views of 3 mountains shooting up 11,000 feet in the sky, I felt the warmth and friendliness of Ugandans creep out. It is a slow movement in comparison to the boisterous and occasionally annoyingly friendly greetings of West Africans, but Kisoro made me realize that perhaps my West African bias will melt away the more I spend time outside of Kampala.

Aside from paying an arm and a leg to see gorillas for one hour or mountain climbing (topic of my next blog), it appeared as if Lake Muyenga is a less visited tourist destination. And for selfish reasons, I was very happy about it. I spent a day virtually undisturbed day walking along hillsides, through small villages and mountainous fields to get to the lake shore and a well kept but seemingly rarely visited eco lodge.

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View of the lake from the hillside behind my hotel. One of the perks of Peace Corps that they don’t advertise is that you have massive network of amazing and friendly tour guides for the rest of your life- I wouldn’t have found these ‘insider’ spots without my PCV guide.

 

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A group of kids had followed me for about half my walk to the lake side. Once I made it to this peaceful swimming dock they all whispered, we are not allowed to follow her and scrammed. I was able to swim and sketch in peace.
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Coming from the island in front, this boat pulled up next to me to unload 4 women my mothers age. The captian, a barely 7 year boy, skillfully turned back to make another peaceful journey.

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Any bird watchers dream place, the lack of tourists and large hotels made Lake Muyenga a perfect spot, so long as you dont mind some more rustic living.

Traveling from West to East

As I arrive in Kampala, Uganda my initial shock is that they are driving on the wrong side of the road and that there is a working stop light in the country. Fighting exhaustion, I ask the driver numerous questions about ethnic groups, fishing, herding and the main local language, Luganda. As I struggle to keep up conversation, I think about how different, quieter and more ambivalent to my presence he is than West Africans. I reflect back upon the time when I followed the Pulaar girl featured above. How she brought me to her home, offered me dirty water and a place to sit, telling me where she comes from and what she does, all with sign language and my 10 words of Pulaar.