Well, after a year of trying to join a Business Chicks Leadership & Immersion Program with a Hunger Project tour, I’ve finally arrived in Kampala, Uganda to see firsthand where all the money goes, especially for those generous enough to have donated during my fundraising process.
For the next two weeks that I’m between here and Dubai, I believe the temperature will likely vary between hot… and bastard hot! (Huge thanks to Danny Bhoy for the terms of reference there.)
I’d joined a flight with two other Trippers from Sydney and at our final arrival in Entebbe we jumped in a car with our gorgeous driver Ivan and headed for an hour to Kampala, passing Lake Victoria and the town of Kajjansi at about the half way point.
The rich red dirt is extremely fertile and along the ways saw all those crops that grow so well in equatorial regions – jack fruit, bananas, corn, sugar cane, guavas, and mangos. Ivan giggled when I tried to explain the rotting flesh smell of the durians I’d discovered in Malaysia and wasn’t keen to try one of those.
Street stalls on the way were packed with fresh fruits and the usual market items that make you wonder how anyone makes a living… from rainbow coloured bed frames, metal doors, glamorous dresses, mountains of mattresses, couches and lounges and pirate movie stalls… It’s all there!
We asked for a bit of music in the car along the way hoping for a slightly African feel and were bombarded by Daft Punk’s Get Lucky…. seriously?? (Guys, please note, if you’ve been up all night and need to sing about it, you’re unlikely to now get lucky. Go home, have a good sleep and try again another time!)
Security was tight to enter the hotel grounds, with our car being searched and having to each pass through a metal detector. Entering the hotel itself also requires bag scans and another pass through a metal detector.
But finally, by 3 pm local time, 30 hours after I left home, we’d arrived. Our rooms weren’t ready so we decided to sit and chill in Paradise restaurant on the grounds of the hotel, meet with another tripper, and down some non-airline food and a couple of gin and tonics.
I always like to try something a bit local and had a goat skewer (and completely forgetting about a recently diagnosed banana allergy) some bbq plantains. The vegan pizza was also a hit, full of taste and enough to convince me that life without cheese may be almost possible.
Bats in the palms were already chattering away and the giant grey crowned cranes for which the area is famous (and as featured on the country’s flag) were flying in and and nesting atop one of the big pines on the site.
I briefly met another tripper and our host in the Country, Daisy, then decided a quick swim was in order, followed by a shower to wash away the travel stains before an early, Travel Calm induced coma.