Dawn of the Dreads

Trip Start Nov 26, 2005
Trip End Mar 08, 2006

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Flag of Uganda  ,
Friday, December 30, 2005

So we got to Entebbe (which, for future reference is more or less central Uganda), relaxed for a while, and then learnt of the program that had been planned for Christmas and the New Year.

"Zac's back, his Mum and Dad are here too, and we want to see them" was the collective cry, I suppose.
So the schedule was laid out...Christmas was to be in the West of Uganda near a town called Kasese. Then New Year's Eve was to be at my Dad's village in the East, and New Year's Day was reserved for Mum's side of the family (also in the East, but a good hour or so away). But before all that we had to travel to the East to pick up Mum to bring her back to Entebbe, to then go to the West.

It all sounded quite hectic, and those of you who know the roads in Uganda, will further appreciate the effort involved to cover that sort of distance. I will make a special mention of the road from Jinja (the source of the Nile) to Iganga. A humble distance of just 40 km, but potholes, dust, and large vehicles liberally using the whole width of the road (especially coming towards you!) make it seem like an endless death trap. Travelling and from the East, we got to know that road very well.

Christmas was spent at my Uncle's house in Kasese (the West). It's a large holiday house in a very remote area with a great view of the Rwenzori Mountains. There were a good number of us there for a few days and we all had to do our bit. I only wish I had a choice as to what exactly my 'bit' was to be.
Now, I'm not sure what your duties were on Christmas day, but mine was to kill the festive goat (!). Not something I've done before, or was particularly keen to do, but I rose to the challenge. Talking about rising, I had to in fact rise pretty early to do it as well. I'll spare you the details, but I have to say that in the end I merely helped in the process and didn't have to do the deed myself.

Goat was not the only thing on the menu that day. All the traditional dished were out in full force. The most staple of the foods (and one that I have eaten almost everyday since!) is Matoke - a special type of green banana that is steamed and served in various guises. You can see these bananas growing almost everywhere and in plentiful quantities at any market.

It was most relaxing there, especially getting the chance to spend time with my cousins, talking politics and playing darts. They hosted us very well indeed. We were there for a few days, there was no fixed schedule, and things just seemed to run with ease - even with the number of people there.
We spent the days either relaxing or exploring the areas around. We visited the hot springs near a place called Bundibugyo. The journey actually took longer than we spent there, but it gave us a chance to see some of the luscious green landscape of Western Uganda.

They had a generator at the house, so although it was remote we could enjoy some mod cons. Thanks to the generator our evenings were spent watching Boney M music videos and Nigerian movies! (Please try and watch one if you haven't already!).

So Christmas was rather relaxed and joyful - the African way.
Then came the busy New Year...

PS. The hair is more kempt now. The result of many comments. People here do stuff to their hair - the don't just let it grow like I have. Everyone has their own plans for it. Dreads are a hit with the younger folk, but could result in the elders ostracising me...
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