I had booked my place on the Take-A Break Trip to Kabale in March, and I was excited. I contacted several people online, at the workplace, and on Whatsapp. Many promised to tag along, but as the days approached, the number of friends kept dropping. DISCON (Rotary International’s 98th District Conference) was happening in Mbarara, and I had an assignment in ‘The Land of Milk and Honey’.
The Departure Day
I woke up in the Isingiro district that Friday morning, wrapped up my assignment, and set off for Kampala. Upon arrival, I went straight to my Friday routine, which included visiting the barber and, changing clothes in my back, getting ready for the trip. Only three of the hundreds of invited friends were tagging along.
We met at Lugogo Forest Mall, and the two coasters buses took a while to arrive. During this time, small cliques of people who knew each other gradually formed. My three friends, Ciata, Esther, and Jerry, had come, and we were chatting when I noticed another familiar face. I was wrong. I had walked up to a lady I thought I had met and knew, only to find out this was a different person.
When the first bus arrived, most people ran to it and booked seats. Only a few of us remained at KFC waiting for the second one, but that would be quiet. So we thought. To get the back seats, Jerry and I assigned ourselves to run on the bus and book the last seats on the coaster. The plot worked, and I landed the back seats. I beat two strangers then who are now friends to this position. Along the journey, I did my best to be courteous and make amends.
Journey to Kabale
We set off very late and were behind schedule. Most of the people on the first bus were friendly; they were loud and happy. Each bus came with bottles of Nile Special beer which was passed around. We had several stopovers for toilet breaks and just to stretch. After Masaka, my body clocked out, and I took a nap. The rain made it easy for me to sleep until we arrived in Mbarara. As we drove through the city, I was wide awake, noticing my surroundings and the people around me.
We made a stopover in Ntungamo for refreshments and to stretch. At this time, we had made some friends and were beginning to get comfortable with the ride. As we drove into Kabale town, everyone was awake and alert. I was not happy when we missed the stop in the city to get the famous Kabale samosas. Soon, we were off the tarmac heading towards Lake Bunyonyi. At last, we arrived at Hawk’s Eye Lodge which oversees the beautiful lake.
At Hawk’s Eye Lodge
Like most of the team, I was surprised and unprepared for the steep walk up the hill to reach the reception. Moments later, with heavy breathing and some rants, we arrived at a waiting breakfast. At the same time, we were assigned our rooms. The clouds formed, and it started raining. Everyone dashed to their accommodation.
With my three friends, we waited out the rain but decided to take photos in the rain. The WhatsApp group was silent as most people were asleep. Moments later we parted ways to freshen up for the activities after lunch. I was reunited with friends like Gift, Lucky, and Don all this time. We were ready for several adrenaline activities in the afternoon.
During lunch, it was announced that we would converge at the foot of the hill to get on a boat ride on Lake Bunyonyi and zip-lining on one of the islands. My two friends walked to the rooms, and I walked downhill with the new friends who made the bus. These ladies were on fire and danced to the boat. We had a photo shoot at the lake, and then took turns to take a boat ride to the island.
On the Lake and Island
On the lake, we visited the punishment island (in 18th century Kigezi, unmarried girls who got pregnant were considered a disgrace to their families, so, as a punishment, these girls were taken to a tiny island called Akampene in Lake Bunyonyi where they were abandoned to die), and zoo island and enjoyed a boat ride with beautiful friends.
On the island, the main activity was zip-lining on the lake. I was excited and arrived just as my friend Gift was zip-lining across the lake. On the zip line, you move from one point of the lake to the other suspended on a steel cable to which you are attached using a harness that is linked to the cable by a clip.
You cross the lake, climb up to the platform and return to the starting point. I was excited after watching her. My friend Ciata was already climbing on the platform. I watched her gather courage, and off she went across the lake. At the moment, I was recording the videos on my phone and later geared up to take my turn. After getting up the tree, I thought about the many things that could go wrong, and I descended. My friends called me a coward, but I live to die another day.
Back on Land and the Night
When we arrived from the island, we had several photo moments at the lake and later moved up the hill back to our accommodations. We freshened up and got ready for the Nile Special-themed evening and night. After dinner, I interacted with my friend and new friends, and we had a cake cutting and several drinks. At the fireplace, there was music and conversations. Being a cold night in Kabale, I went off to bed at about 9 pm. Most of the team left the fire in the early morning of Sunday.
Early morning, the team went on a hike to the lake viewpoint. I was excused to climb up the hill, so instead, I joined a friend at the swing. We had a case and spent most of the time talking and catching up. Soon, the WhatsApp group was buzzing with invitations to breakfast. I contacted the group, asking who had hot water in their rooms. I was not ready for cold water since my room had a plumbing problem. Yes, I got one and ran there immediately. I was fresh for breakfast and the rest of the day. After breakfast, I had many photo moments and made a simple movie with my newfound friends. Later we walked together and off we went to Great Lakes Museum which is situated in Rwahi
(Ntugamo) along the Mbarara – Kabale Highway.
The Afternoon and Travel to Kampala
After a refreshing tour at the museum, we were off to Mbarara, where we had lunch at Igongo Country Hotel. The food was very delicious, and I had the good company of Daphine and Anita. Moments later, we were off to Kampala, and the bus was full of life. We danced, sang, and enjoyed each other’s company. The trip was over just when we strangers were getting to know each other. We exchanged contacts and have since been in touch.
My Take A Break Trip to Kabale was worth it. It was a break from my normal routine, and I met new people. I visited many places and was fresh for a new week. My three friends had a good time and looked forward to the next trip. For my hundreds of friends who were a no-show, they felt they had missed the fun and break. I am working on my TikTok vlog about the trip. Today, they want to tag along on my next trip. May be this time, they will show up.
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