Day 9: Village Walk

Today we were allowed to sleep in, until 8, which is a rare luxury. The reason was that we had chosen a Village walk. Most of the group were going to Rwanda for the genocide museum, but we felt it wasn't necessary due to Vedran's background plus we would need a Rwanda Visa.

The day was absolutely gorgeous, one of the best so far. The tour started with a canoe ride across the beautiful Bunyonyi lake to a nearby village where we got to meet the locals.

We got company by local children as soon as we arrived in the village. The children were so cute, but some asked for sweet and pencils right away. Fred explained that they used to be afraid and run away as soon as they saw white people. Later they pinched the white people before running away. They expected that the skin would be very soft and smell good. Today they are more comfortable and want to hold hands.

We had so much fun, visiting the school and church. Then we went to the local bar, which was just a small shack, and tried banana gin and local porridge.

Our guide Fred told us a lot about Ugandan history, his personal history and about politics. We listened for hours and quite enjoyed it. Fred was a good storyteller. He explained to us the political parties in the coming elections. He was also very open about his standing point and he was voting for one of the opposition parties. The current president had been on the power for 30 years and it was not allowed by the constitution. For that and other reasons, he would vote for the opposition. He showed us different hand signs used by the parties and the people on the streets.

After the bar, we visited a local shop (really small one) and purchased books and pens for all the kids. As we were walking around looking at the spectacular views, all the kids followed us and held our hands. Dilek got two new boyfriends. ;-)

Thereafter we had lunch at a local home. The house was on the top of the hill and made of concrete. The lady of the house was a widow with 10 kids. She cooked the most delicious meal for us. Everyone enjoyed it. The lunch was vegetarian and very good. Many people in this village eat meat only at Christmas. Chicken and pork meat are the most expensive. In another village, they eat dogs and that is the most inexpensive meat. Vedran was thinking that perhaps he too would eat dog meat if he only ate meat once per year and lived here. Most people back home would disagree and be disgusted, but perhaps do the same in these conditions.

Then the family showed us some of their crafts and started teaching us to make bracelets out of banana skin. We immediately took a few of the best crafts (handmade pot coasters) as great souvenirs and something we actually could use in our home. We were also hoping to influence the rest of the group to buy something. One of our biggest travel regrets have been not purchasing souvenirs from locals in Fiji and Easter Island and we were not about the make the same mistake here. We all got to keep the bracelets and the family seemed happy.

After the crafts, it was time to meet the kids. They had prepared a long session of singing and dancing for us, the older children as well as the really small ones. Fred explained that they were just interested to perform for us and didn’t want anything in return. It was so much fun and totally adorable. It was at this time we noticed something was up with Lana and Dana. Dilek accidentally sat in front of them as the kids were singing, and they both made a grunting noise. And both of them refused to participate in the football game we had planned with the kids. Dana also gave a lot of strange remarks to Dilek throughout the day. It seems Lana cannot get over the tiff with Vedran and Dana is just really insecure. Oh well, back to our story.

Vedran had purchased a football in Nairobi, which we brought to the village with the intent to 1) recreate the Tanzania football match with the kids 2) give the kids a present. We initiated a football game which the kids LOVED. We had seen their own “football” earlier during the walk and it was just a bunch of strings tied together to form a sphere.

Dilek, Vedran, Sam, and Carl played. The other girls had decided that this was somehow exploiting the kids (or something like that). But the kids had fun and so did we. We gave the ball to the kids and told them to share it, which they promised to do. After that, all of us distributed books and pens. The kids liked them but somehow wanted more. Even those who already received pens wanted more. Some seemed upset that we didn't have enough sweets, like any normal kids in other words. But all in all, we had a marvelous time and the children were adorable.

After the football game (around 16:00) we were supposed to have been back at the camp. The time simply got away from us because we had had so much fun in the village. The guide told us we were also supposed to visit a Pygmy village in Rwanda but that would take one hour there and one hour back, meaning we would be late. But we were all up for it.

This meant that we actually crossed over to Rwanda for a brief moment, but we didn't get any stamps in the passports since it was just by the border on a village visit which they are very used to. Unfortunately, because we were so late, the pygmies had already gone. There were only a few old people left and no one could teach us the planned activity of tying a bow and shooting a bow. Instead, the older Pygmy townspeople put on a dance show while the kids were holding our hands. This activity took place by the harbor of another Rwandan village, with Rwandan people looking on at the pygmies. This made some of the people in the group feel like the pygmies were a bit discriminated and they didn't like this part. Vedran & Dilek, however, felt that this was closer to the truth of this place and we wanted to see it.

After that, we returned to the camp, took a long hot shower, had dinner and fell sound asleep