Driving west across Uganda to

by francine Hardaway on February 23, 2005

Driving west across Uganda to the Mweya Game Reserve, after bidding our friends in Kampala a festive farewell (we treated all our hosts to an Indian restaurant dinner and made some donations), we saw both the good and the bad: the terrible environmental pollution caused by cars and diesel trucks in poor repair and the rolling green tea plantations near Lakes Edward and George.

As we passed through village after village, we saw the same lifestyle — the market and strip center along the road, the children in their bare feet and colorful school uniforms walking to and from the schools, the women carrying bowls of bananas on their heads. We made a stop at a gift shop at the Equator, and I bought a wood print by a Ugandan woodcut printer who had been a Fulbright scholar in the US. Coincidentally, he showed up at the shop as I was leaving and explained to me that when he was in the US he had trouble painting because he couldn’t find the same inspiration he finds at home. His inspiration comes from the sense of community and family, and he thinks it’s being ruined by development.

We arrive at the Mweya Game Reserve at lunchtime, and were led to a patio right out of a British colonial movie. The outdoor dining overlooks the channel between Lakes Edward and George, and there were elephants drinking below us, and yellow birds eating the leftover food of the diners. I guess Uganda is one of the world’s best bird watching sites.

Me, I have already seen elephants, water buck, and baboons, as well as a room with old time mosquito netting. Very elegant, in-house massage therapist included, and a pool. What a difference a day makes.

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