The Travelling Trooper Explores Lake Bunyonyi

Trevor and I headed for Kabale. We were going to be spending two nights on an island on Lake Bunyonyi–basically, two nights in Paradise.

Unfortunately, Paradise was a long 8 hour bus ride away.

Olive messaged me during the ride to let me know that Anthony was very happy to receive our money for the previous night’s bill.

When I arrived, tall Rasta Isaac was there waiting for me among the hordes of greedy boda bodas eager to scam the mzungu out of money. I walked through the crowd, hugged my new friend, and we were off to Paradise! But first we had to pick up some groceries…then we were off to paradise!

Our boda boda driver gave me a funny look; then the gas attendant gave me the same confused look. Isaac laughed and explained that they like me because they think I have hair like them. I was some sort of freak mzungu. I’ll take it.

After a 20 minute boda boda ride that crushed my tail bone, we arrived at the lake. We picked up a few more groceries, and then we boarded our speed boat. Isaac always rode with a specific guy because he also happens to be Isaac’s brother-in-law.

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The boat ride took a good 40 minutes. We made stops at other islands along the way. At one of them, Isaac offered me some sort of alcoholic drink made out of a grain called sorghum. I made friends with a guy working on the dock by offering him some of my drink. He was wearing a sweater with a Team Canada hockey logo on it. I showed him my Trans-Canada tattoo, which also features a maple leaf, and tried to explain that that’s my country. “Same!” I shouted, pointing at the tattoo and the logo. “Same! That’s Canada! My country! I’m from Canada!” He looked confused, so I tried again. “Same! Same!” The only thing I achieved was getting a smile out of the guy and teaching him the word “same,” which he was now repeating over and over again. I tried.

We finally arrived at the island just as the sun was setting. Isaac got to work making dinner. We were having a peanut soup with tons of yummy veggies.

Isaac set up the campfire, and we spent the rest of the night talking about various topics, including his project. He’s trying to build an orphanage for over 50 orphans on the island. The project is well underway. Hopefully he can find some sponsors and donors soon to help him get the project going.

There is no electricity anywhere on Isaac’s property. There’s also no sounds of life at night. It was quiet. It was perfect. I went to bed with soup and beer in my belly, happiness in my heart, and a smile on my face.

Casa de Isaac in the daytime:

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My very cool bedframe.

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The next morning Isaac took me to meet his mom and his sister. They live in a house nearby. We also walked by the future site of the orphanage along the way. His family was very friendly. They even offered me breakfast. And even though I’d already eaten at Isaac’s, I felt it’d be rude not to have some, so I begrudgingly stuffed my face with matoke. (Not that begrudgingly, though.)

Isaac had to go into town for meetings related to his orphanage project, so he left me in the capable hands of Joshua, one of his workers. Joshua took me on a nice little four hour hike of the hills. As usual, the descent was almost murder. I don’t understand people who can just casually walk down slippery slopes without ever slipping. I slipped on my butt at least four or five times. Man, I wish I had those Kili hiking poles.

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Joshua had to go run an errand when we got back to Isaac’s, so I went to lay down for a bit.

When he got back, we played a couple rounds of chess and checkers. Isaac had mentioned that Joshua was pretty good, and he was right. He had me on the ropes in the first game, but a pair of costly errors let me come crawling back to win the first game of chess.

Joshua had to run another errand, so I went to hang out on the dock overlooking the lake. I grabbed a couple beers, soaked my feet, and enjoyed the view. Then it started to rain, and so I went back to my room to finish my drink.

When the rain stopped, I saw Joshua manoeuvring a gigantic canoe into the dock. I told him I wouldn’t mind going solo. The peace and quiet would be nice.

That was a mistake.

I’d never been in a canoe that long before, and so I didn’t anticipate just how difficult it’d be to paddle on my own. I sat in the middle of the darn thing and paddled my heart out. No matter how hard I tried to keep moving straight, though, the canoe inevitably would start to curve one way or the other.

After a while, I gave up and decided to just let the current take me wherever the hell it wanted to. It was divine. Had the canoe not been full of dirty water, I would’ve gladly lay down and gone right to sleep.

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I eventually came to the realization, though, that this probably wasn’t a good idea. How did I expect to get back to land? I couldn’t handle the canoe when I was going WITH the current; how was I supposed to manage when I was going against it? I developed a system that involved lots of paddling and back paddling to right myself. I felt like Austin Powers when he’s doing a 100-point turn to try and turn his little truck around in a very narrow space.

A fellow canoeist eventually passed by and shouted out that I should move to the end of the canoe because it was easier to manoeuvre. That didn’t help.  I rowed harder when I saw the ominous grey clouds coming my way, and I eventually made it back ashore.

Joshua cooked up another batch of peanut soup, and just like that, my stay in Kabale had come to an end. The next morning, Trevor and I would be heading back to Kampala.

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