Monday, September 29, 2014

Day Four! Tourist Day! Rotary International VTT 2014 - Kampala, Uganda

{This is a series in posts about our trip to Uganda for the Riley/Rotary Vocational Training Team. To start at the beginning, go to this post. Check out the team blog at If you visit the team blog, please leave a comment! The team loves to hear your encouraging words!}

Today was a tourist day! The Rotarians of Kampala-North planned a fun tour for the team. Nigel and his wife, along with Club Member Charlie, picked us up at the hotel at 9AM. Then, along the way, we picked up Oskar and his daughters, along with Harriet. Oskar and Harriet have been instrumental in organizing this Global Grant. I just love that I’ve been able to meet them and spend some time together after sending so many emails.

Oskar played tour guide for us as we left Kampala on the way to Jinja.

We turned onto Jinja Road which is considered the gateway out of Uganda. If you follow the road, it will eventually take you to Kenya. Along the way, we were able to get a feel for urban life. All along the road were stands of people selling everything from meat to furniture to lumber to metal gates to vegetables to shoes and more. Occasionally, you would see people with corn or coffee out drying in the sun. After getting a ways out of the city, we saw fields of sugar cane and tea. There were two or three actual markets selling hot food and the buses along the way would pull over and the workers would lift up food and drinks to the riders. It was one of the funnier sights but no picture.

I can’t even begin to describe it to you but here are a few photos of a back road on our way home. Others took pictures along the way as well and I took a video too but don’t have enough of a wi-fi signal to load it. It is so different than the US that I can’t put it into words.

The soil of Uganda is so red! It turns everything that color - even the vegetation! 

Oskar told us about the industrial areas and the effort to bring in business. We saw bottling companies and drug companies and others as well. Coffee is the largest export along with cotton. Apparently, there is a great book to read, “Good African Coffee.” He also pointed out the hospital outside of Kampala where the doctor not only sees patients but also drives the ambulance among other things. He said turnover is high. J

I was also able to get pictures of some new construction. The sticks and poles that are used are quite amazing. It gives a new meaning to “stick-built.” I’ll try to get some better photos.

We crossed over the Nile River and the dam. Apparently, in years past, security has been MUCH tighter with armed guards checking under vehicles with mirrors. This dam generates ALL of Uganda’s electricity so it is extremely important it does not get attacked.

We entered Jinja and then made our way toward the water. First, we stopped to see some monkeys.

Then we parked the car and found this Rotary sign.

Down to the river we went with our great tour guide Kenny. Kenny told us about the river and Lake Victoria along with pointing out tons of different birds on our boat ride!

There is a monument that was constructed at the point where the first white person saw the source of the Nile. Apparently, there used to be a plaque that said he was actually “discovered” the source of the Nile. The current President declared that the native people were the ones who discovered it! Very true!

Uganda’s national bird – a type of stork. I can’t tell you how huge these things are! See the bird on the right? That's smaller than our duck. 

These are a bunch of other pictures. This is a fishing area and apparently the lake/river have Nile perch that have been up to 550 pounds! What?! And, Kenny told us that fisherman’s wives are the fish sellers. I guess Tom would have to find a different wife! J

Drive Up Restrooms. I passed.

The blue sign marks “the source” of the Nile. The little huts actually are little shops that you have to walk through to get to the point of the source. Industrious! The team said that the last time they were here, the water level was much lower and you could just walk out to the spot. You can see here how close the water is to the shops (we were standing in them).

So, the “source” is apparently at the spot you see the little ripples. This is where Lake Victoria exits and where it is mixed with additional spring waters. The Nile is actually 30% spring water and 70% from Lake Victoria and it takes about 3 months to get to its final destination at the Mediterranean Sea. It is the only major river to flow north.

This is Harriet, a Kampala-North Rotarian, and Steph.

And some fishing boat photos.

And, then another monkey! One of the team members played with it and fed it which we all thought was crazy!!!! But, she survived. J

After the boat rides, we went to the Jinja Sailing Club for lunch. What a beautiful spot right on Lake Victoria! I had the grilled tilapia and it was delicious! I opted out of the full fish version though and just went with the filet.

I loved the “Mocktails.” How American!

A group photo was taken but I don’t have it yet. Here is a photo of the table!

A fun time was had by all but apparently we all missed the wifi. We all hit our phones as soon as we hit the lobby.

Dinner was at the mall next door at an Indian restaurant. You know what they say… When in Uganda, always eat Indian food. J It was actually really good even though I went a bit overboard on the spice!

This was a great day of building goodwill and better friendships with the Kampala-North Rotarians. So thankful for the chance to be together!

To the hospital tomorrow for the first operations!

1 comment:

  1. Love it Sara! What an awesome experience. So proud of you. Love, Dad