Caroline and I got up about 730am after our very poor first nights rest.
Breakfast was made after a very hung-over Nita staggered down from her banda demanding eggs on toast from a member of staff - I was mortified, Nevian (Lodge staff lady) was on her hands and knees clearing cigarette buts from the lawn at the time. I started to help her by picking up the empty beer bottles that littered the place and Nita went back to bed to wait for breakfast – the behavior of some of these volunteers is appalling. The staff are not here to clear up after us and it made me quite angry and embarrassed. So after breakfast of eggs, tea and bananas we decided to leave camp and go walking. No school on Saturdays.
So we loaded our rucksacks with camera gear, water and miniature soaps collected from hotels and set off up the hill over the road from the Lodge. In amongst banana trees we followed a trail leading up through the villagers plots and very soon were surrounded by children all wanting to hold our hands and say hello.
“Agandi” is a greeting of the Ankole tribe which is similar to our “hello, how are you?” and is usually met with big smiles and “I’m fine” in perfect English even from the tiny ones.
At the first house, we met a guy making bricks. He is building a new house and needs 10,000 in total. He makes every brick by hand! We spent some time with his family blowing bubbles, taking photos and catching avocados that he threw down from the tree in his garden for us.
The children from the first house (Tracy, Juliette and others with names I can’t pronounce) followed us for the next of hours as we visited house after house on our climb to the top of the hill. Also at the top, we met Patrick - Ex Ruhanga Lodge English teacher and now working in another school down the road. We took pictures of him and his family and promised to return with prints for him as soon as we could. He was not impressed with Mzungus coming and taking pictures and not giving them any - they think we take them home and sell them!
In the afternoon we both got on the back of a Boda Boda taxi (motorbike) into town (Ntungamo) which cost 4,000UGS (about 75p), to get some of the photos printed for Patrick. A few interactions with the locals and we found “Imanis” a photoshop where the lady printed our images from SD cards for 500 shillings each print (about 15p) a small price to pay for the look on their faces as we went back up into the banana hills and gave out the prints. The only problem was that when we had taken the photos earlier, all the subjects were in the same house, socializing, but when we returned, they were all back in their own house dotted all over the hillside, so a young girl called Arrin helped us locate them all by looking at the photos – exhausting work!
We had a lovely peaceful dinner on our own as everyone else went to a restaurant for a last night meal for the 5 volunteers who were leaving the next day. Beans and rice with hot cabbage and stashed red wine from the plane.
Wrote our journals all evening until the power went at 915 just as some of the others returned (apparently their meal was awful!), so we ended up going to bed at 930pm which is no bad thing as far as I'm concerned! What an incredible first day – met the locals, learnt some new Ankole words, hitched a ride on a motorbike and got invited to a local funeral tomorrow!