“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Thursday, 5 July 2012

A brief geography lesson

Uganda is almost identical in physical size to the UK and has English as its official language, but this where the similarity ends. It is found next door to Kenya, on the Eastern side of Africa, right on the equator, which I understand we drive over on our bus journey from the capital to the project (although I’m not yet sure which side of the road they are supposed to drive on).
It is a fairly flat country, with some enormous lakes, Lake Victoria being the biggest, and is home to slightly fewer than 25 million people (60% of them Christians).
The people share the land with all sorts of wildlife, the most exciting of which live high up in the hills of the “Bwindi Impenetrable Park” towards the South West of the country – the severely endangered Mountain Gorillas. I have wanted to see them since the first time I watched Dian Fossey’s story told in the film “Gorillas in the mist”, but sadly due to the schedule, and the cost of the permits (£600 to spend one hour with them once you have machete-hacked your way through thick forest all day to find them), the jungle trekking will have to wait until another time.
Like many African countries, Uganda has no shoreline and lots of neighbours (Kenya, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania).  Some of them are fairly stable nowadays like Rwanda and Kenya, but some of them not so – Sudan and DR Congo for example are considered by the UK foreign office as dangerous places to go and should be avoided at all costs. Uganda itself has had some turbulent times as most nations have, but apart from some on-going issues still playing out in its Northern regions, the land is relatively calm and attracting more and more eco-tourists each year.
We will be working in an area near to the Rwandan border in the south, halfway between Kabale and Lake Mburo, the nearest town being a place called Ntungamo – although to get there by bus from Entebbe airport will take us most of the first day.

No comments:

Post a Comment