Big Game in Uganda?

We’ve been in Uganda almost three months and it seems to have flown by.

Much of that time has been spent with the Amaha We Uganda team in the Kasese District, the southern section of the Rwenzori Mountains.

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It really is a beautiful region but so difficult to capture the saw-tooth nature of the multiple parallel mountain ranges and valleys. Most of the higher ranges are usually obscured by either low cloud (meaning it’s raining heavily), heat haze (meaning it’s about to rain heavily) or mist (meaning it’s just finished raining heavily). In between the rainstorms it’s mighty hot and humid.

There’s no Big Game where we’re staying between the Congo border and Kasese, although Queen Elizabeth National Park, about 40km away, has it’s share.

But there are a multitude of colourful smaller beasts.

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In Kasese town though the Big Game is everywhere. The locals never seen to get bored with it (although I have to say it’s of no interest at all to me) and they crowd the pavements in a desperate attempt just to get a peek through a door or window.

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This ‘Big Game’ was Arsenal. The Ugandans are nuts about football and the most popular entertainment at the weekend is the English Premier League, which they watch on live feeds from Sky Satellite TV.

Everyone here is a Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool fan. and they watch with a religious fervour.

Not my cup of tea. Our last 2 weeks in Uganda were taken up with more strenuous activities than sitting around watching footy.

We had a few more day-trips to meet women’s Co-op groups: still raving and singing about how their lives have changed since the Fuel Briquette project got going.

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And we visited a local bridge that has been treacherously damaged by the floods (another problem caused by mountain deforestation and soil erosion).

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The bridge is the only river crossing for 4 villages and around 1,500 people. They must walk 7km downstream to use this bridge. The upstream bridge has been washed away completely. Then, young or old, healthy or infirm, they walk another 6km to get to the local market, clinic or hospital in Kagando.

A round trip of about 26km. Most people do the trip on foot. Even if One or two of them can afford to hire a Boda-Boda (taxi-bike) it has its challenges

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We also spent quite a while at Amaha We Uganda’s Good Samaritan Centre.

IMG_3357.JPGHere, 5 days a week for a 3 month period, around 25 youngsters begin to learn a trade. Under the guidance of 4 specialist teachers some are just picking up the basics of hairdressing…

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…others are in groups learning knitting, tailoring or shoe-making (cobblers – no really, its true!).

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Most of our time however has been spent knocking the new AWU library into shape before the team can occupy their new offices and the Community Centre can be opened to the public.

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Yes, that’s right… me doing manual labour! Who’d have thunk it?

Three days of hard graft later and the yard is prepared for a small building project we have planned…

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…the library building is ready for its final coat of render…

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…and the outside wall is getting a coat of paint ready for the signwriter…

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We’ve got one week left here then we’re booked on a flight to Zambia to see a couple of pals.

It’s going to be pretty manic before we go.