For hours, I have been grappling with a Rwenzori bottle, hands taking turns, gulping mouthfuls of water, until it is heated up from my hands. The sun rays are descending down onto my face and filtering through the width of my Afro bed. Drips of sweat are slowly emerging from beneath my hair and sloping down my forehead. I have contended enough heat under the scorching sun.
Meanwhile, angrily trying to fend off these blocker-boys from clinging onto my bags-pushing me and almost, wrecking my luggage as they scramble to get me loaded on their dirty vans. It annoys when at often such moments I won’t avoid getting myself stuck in trouble.
Why on Ugandan street won’t I walk in my own freedom to board a taxi?
Sprouting from every corner, a sudden grip straining my arm is a stack of rough hands grabbing from these hustler boys. Warning! Getting out from the grip of these sweaty and oily and yet still rough palms must always have to cost a little waste of some energy, sometimes some property and would be time, but for today, it is not a problem because I already was prepared to lose a lot of it.
Whether or not need help, these boys will always run after you until one of them has to eventually win and then to finally see myself wowed by a strange dark spotless cork crowing from the hands of my neighbour. Like always, sitting with birds in the car is something usual-a one rare passenger he hen on his road trip! I rarely see dark corks! Well, today I have to be next to one.
Oh my God! He jumps off the hands of this old woman and staggers a round above our shoulders before he makes a crush landing back into the hands of the troubled woman.
Oh my eyes! My nose! Oh my ears! How about my shirt!
What happens when you travel with birds in the car, or sometimes a small goat that moves swaying its tail in your face? Ha! Well then, we would assume as well; in other vans; it might have been a greedy pig striving to snatch my “rolex” or a huge perhaps pregnant sheep troubled with inertia every now and then colliding her nose back and forth head on with mine! Sh*t! And that’s a typical Ugandan voyage whether or not you are clad in busuuti, gomesi or a fine shinning shoe- for as long as the many times of having avoided suffering a cost of your private means would cost you as much.
By this time, as I brace myself for more trouble ahead, a terrible phobia of a daunting trip is gradually consuming me, wondering if where I am seated is just going to keep only one half of my ass in comfort of soft sponge! And that the other half -irking-would keep in such a terrible plan of comfort!
Where else in this continent do we share such peculiar skits of travel? Sometimes it’s not just a hapless painful ass, my nose; it’s a foul of stinking breath from someone’s mouth and a faulty window that fails to open for a cool air or a loud phone call stuffing unsavoury messages into my ears and more often a thunderous bung when the van suddenly hits a pot hole and so on…
Reaching for possible help, in the hope that the conductor offers a relieving option and then you yell a pathetic tone.
“Conductor, ahabwenki nimutupakira nk’enshayo z’omwani? blah blah…”(why are you fitting us like bags of coffee?)
At first even when he hears, he won’t listen and then you keep on pressing him -until tending to ruffle his feathers? His roar. You won’t like it.
Kigezi, you only have to bark at the conductor because whether or not they will bark at you. Your darling pleasantry often has to fall on a hard rock. Those who sympathize will nap you only if you are ready to contend a breath of molecules bubbling in the gaseous exchange between you and him. If you too sniff some herbs, together you might get along, but if otherwise, you might collapse!
If you won’t endure the pain any further, you may not collapse though. One by one gets to their destination and there is the hind seat, you may shift to join a cluster of neighbours on the other side snoring in the day with their heads falling back on the head rest and mouths to the air, saliva oozing onto the chins.
But one more snag; those hind seats if you recall, are so resting right on the tires that their movements usually have to influence your own in a case when unsteadily you run over a hump. And then you will jump and jump and jump… and each time you might hit your head on the roof.
Today am heading to the other side of Western Uganda, and after spending about my entire morning lamenting, mumbling and yelling and sweating off and dusting off here I am finally pulling off to a finer surface of the road en route to Kigezi.
I have been raving and ranting for the past stint of my journey but here, even though I am not seated in the ideal comfort, I am greatly soothed by the serenity of nature that passes by the window. I can easily settle with my past ready to forget the ordeal of those appalling hours and enjoy this journey henceforth.
Today coincidentally is Earth day. I did know it for my first time in one of my Facebook notifications this morning. I get to go then and find out how interesting this is gonna be.
I find my neck turning all around and my face mellow with a subtle smile, though sometimes I am out of control and if no one else is paying attention, I will utter the excitement to my own self. Even if people may wonder if this young I could be a victim of soliloquy or so. Take my smile or not, I am passionately in to what I am seeing right now. Period!
The wonders of nature! Though this time I seem to be all by myself alone wondering. The seductive nature and all its charms adorning a look of ecstasy on my face.
If you heard of places like Rwenjeru, Muhanga, Kamwezi, Kamatunguru, they don’t make sense in your geography. Today, I will tell you what illumines my integrity as a Ugandan of a very rich African heritage. I will tell you how I keep my lips retracted, teeth exposed for hours smiling broadly at the blend of culture, topography and mankind. I will tell you how I gaze in awe and shed a tear of admiration.
God’s people, land, plants and peculiar skies, all of them I keep a little record of pictures and videos in my phone and I can’t wait to be back home and share my inspiration with you.
Where I have reached now, I am amazed! I thought it was the old fashion of the walking sticks! Every man is holding one. Initially indigenous as it appears, it’s a lot strange and worth a wonder. I used to regard it an old custom of the cattle keepers a few thoughts ago before I realized that indeed before now, I was so naïve. Later on, it filters harmoniously into my mind that such a localized custom remind us of rich culture as my eyes get acclimatized to seeing one man after the other with more and more sticks snapping the terrain. I even appreciate how they walk with them into the car. This is so beautiful for me to see!
There’s a lot more for me here. Sometimes I wonder how in all this time, I have been far away from my own neighbourhood only to be inspired just a few days ago!
Well this is not surprising, just appreciating how diverse my country is.
The spectacle of the country side is keeping me awake when suddenly I turn my head round and instantly through the window upwards I see a towering steep of rock that appears as though about to trample on our vehicle! I can’t help but think magic, wondering how these roads were carved out of this scary amount of rock!
Further up front, I see a narrow white lining winding about a wide hill and I think am looking right ahead of where am going. It’s a long distance though the gentle meander of the road spiralling round the wide mass of hill will create such a semblance of a short distance as though about to reach where I see. And far from below lies a natural, beautiful aerial spectacle of homes seen as like in an air craft. Oh my God! Who doesn’t like this view?
Speeding along a long regular stretch of tall trees standing on both sides of the road, I see through them a shining spot of the setting sun which at last I see falling gently above a hill a speck on my distant right. I have been watching this sun as it passes ahead and changing directions.
I have been watching the beautiful roadsides of my country coloured with a dominant greenery of blossoming shrubs, gentle inclining planes…and long winding roads which little of them am sure will stick loose in my mind. I must attest to the testimonies and acclaim the common Glory that paints the brand of the “Pearl of Africa”. Sometimes I believe that the most beautiful places in the world are not the ones we know or those we hear about, but perhaps the ones that we have not yet seen.
As I speak now, I have been connected with nature and am in love with someone like it or someone else I do not know, or at least I feel like two strangers that have fallen heels in love on a journey. I feel like there is something that has happened to my life. How do I share my feelings? I feel I would like to. And if you will resonate with me, you will understand that whatsoever meets the eye in the in vitro art of mankind, the original earth shall always remain the ultimate offertory with the most beautiful things to admire.
To love yourself and others is sometimes a strength born of the gifts of loving and connecting with nature. The emotions and the smile it elicits are as a result of being in love with them-a spiritual connection with God’s creation and connects and relates with your strengths to the people that are connected with you. I felt it that way.