This past week Peace Corps celebrated its 50th Anniversary in Uganda. There were three functions held throughout the country in different regions leading up to the main event in capital. Since we are in the West, we were invited to the Southwest to celebrate in the town of Kisoro. Kisoro, is really south and is within a short car ride to Rwanda and borders the Congo. So the ride to get there was long and took 2 days each way.
Since Matt isn't here, Ashley decided to go and visit other volunteers for the weekend before heading down south.
First stop for the weekend, Fort Portal. Time traveled 3 hours by car and bus. Fort Portal is an amazingly modern touristy city; there are paved roads with parking, muzungu (white people restaurants) and a lot of nearby natural sites to visit. Since it is so close, we will be going back again and possibly often.
|At one of the Crater Lakes outside of Fort Portal.|
|View of the villages outside of Fort Portal; you can see the Rwenzori Mountains in the back.|
After spending the weekend in Fort Portal , a group of about 10 of us headed to Kisoro. Time traveled 10 or so hours in a van. The positive side, we rode with another volunteer’s organization and they stopped at the equator for us to take pictures and even slowed and stopped when we drove through the outskirts of Queen Elizabeth for us to take pictures.
|At the Eqautor|
|We saw elephants driving through Queen Elizabeth|
|Passed a channel on the way and saw locals out on boats|
|Beautiful view through Queen Elizabeth|
Finally we made it to Kisoro. It’s a little colder than I expected, it actually felt a little like fall maybe even the start of winter. The town itself is absolutely beautiful, probably one of the most beautiful places in the country. To get into town you take a road into the mountains that twists and turns and once at the top you go down into a little valley. There are volcanoes (dormant and inactive) surrounding the entire area with three large ones towering in the distance. Some of the volunteers even went on a day hike up one, it took about 8-10 hours; this will be done when Matt returns, no need to do it twice…right? We spent the week attending the celebration with even an appearance by the U.S. Ambassador, doing some hiking (up a smaller hill), trip to the lake with a bbq, eating some good muzungu food, catching up with other volunteers and even had the chance to attend a parade for Uganda's Independence Day. Overall, amazing trip and when Matt gets back we will be going, thinking maybe for Christmas.
|One of the Volcanoes.|
|Cultural dancing and singing at the 50th Event.|
|View of the Volcanoes from hike.|
|View of lake we had a bbq at from hike.|
|Ugandan Independence Day Parade; this is a just the band, there were probably 500 people in the actual parade.|
Almost forgot about the trip back home. Coming back we took a different route that let me out in a town approximately a hour to an hour and a half from home. Being dropped of in the middle of no where, I was instantly bombarded by boda men (motorcycle transport guys who really want to give you a ride). Luckily, a lady who got off with me showed me the way to the taxi park. The downside when I arrived at the taxi park....no taxis were going to my town, figures. My only options: take a taxi car or a motorcycle, only real option taxi car. It only took a second to find the one car headed towards my town. I should know by now when they say "we will leave soon" it really means "we will not leave for a good amount of time, just relax and get comfortable". That's what I did, I got in the passenger seat sat down and waited. Luckily there was a young boy already in the backseat with his older brother that kept me company. Remember, there are 4 passenger seats in a car usually and the driver kept saying we only need two more and we will leave. Well two people came and we still weren't leaving. Finally another, there were five of us and we started to leave, but I should have known it was too good to be true. Apparently, someone needed to be picked up from their house. Ok, so I'm sitting in the front with no one else, thankfully, and in the back the boy his brother and four women. Good we can go, but of course we stopped yet again for two more. Now, there is a larger woman in my seat, I'm now sitting on the shifter and another woman is sharing the seat with the driver....can we go now? Yes, we were finally on our way, but wait, what's that? A woman with a baby on a boda (motorcycle); she wants in the taxi. So there you have it folks, 3 in the front plus the driver, five women, one man, one boy and baby in the back down a dirt road filled with boulders and large holes. And I'm not allowed on motorcycles?