Having gone to bed early the previous evening, I was unable to sleep and woke up at 2.30am. I was really worried about what we would do if our luggage didn’t turn up. We couldn’t stay in Entebbe forever, but at the same time it would be very difficult to drive all the way to Mweya without any of our clothes or equipment.
Mrs Green and I reached the airport at 3.15am, which was the time when the plane with our luggage on should be landing. In typical Egypt Air style, they were half an hour late and the baggage handling company weren’t very helpful at first. I was told to ‘be patient’, but that was the virtue I was least capable of displaying. Eventually, a woman came and took our claim forms. Fifteen minutes later, she returned with a customs officer who wanted to check that what we said was in our bags was true. They were quickly satisfied and we were free to go. So at 4.57am, nearly 48 hours later than planned, we began our journey to Mweya.
I took the drive very easy at first mainly because there was no street lighting and the lights on the car weren’t very good to say the least. Central Kampala was like an ants’ nest even at 5/45am on a Sunday morning, but once we got on to the Fort Portal Road things began to improve. As soon as the light began to get better (at about 6.15am) I really put my foot to the floor and made rapid progress. One of the things I noticed at each town along the way from Kampala to Mudebende was they had erected a display at the roadside as you entered the town which consisted of banana trees, shields and spears. I’d never seen that before and as yet nobody has been able to tell me its significance.
At about 15km from Fort Portal, we ran into roadworks, which slowed progress dramatically. We stopped for breakfast at Fort Portal, which took about 45 minutes before Mrs Green took over the driving on the next leg to Kasese. Despite this being the first time she had driven in Uganda, Mrs Green did really well and was soon speeding along. As much of the road is single lane, a lot of overtaking is required and if you get stuck behind a lorry, it can really slow you down. Mrs Green soon mastered an aggressive overtaking manoeuvre and we made it to Kasese in just over an hour.
Readers of the blog will know that Kasese is one of my favourite places in the world; it’s a bit like the wild west, but everyone is very friendly. We filled up the car with petrol and bought supplies for making pizza and bread for when we go to Kafuro during the week. It was another hour to Mweya and we made it at just after 2.00pm local time. Hippo House was locked so we made an executive decision to go down to Tembo for a beer and wait for the other Twinning Project members, who we assumed were out somewhere. Actually, they were at Tembo and preparing for a tea party for the wives and children of the rangers. We walked back to Hippo House with them and brought them up to date on our adventures of the previous two days.
The rangers’ wives and children soon arrived. Karen Peach had prepared cakes and scones for them, which went down a storm. The Twinning Project had also provided a lot of play equipment for the children’s nursery, so a lot of people were made very happy.
There’s no room for us at Hippo House at the moment as there are nine Twinning Project members staying there, so we are staying in Guesthouse No 1, which is a minute’s walk away. When we got there we unpacked and checked that everything was still intact – thankfully everything was fine.
We met the others down at Tembo for dinner where we discovered that they had had an earthquake this morning, which measured 5.6 on the Richter Scale. Apparently, everyone was terrified apart from Amy Peach – who’s a geologist. She was very excited!
After dinner, most of the others went home, but Mrs Green, Steve Peach, Joe Williams and myself stayed for a couple of beers and took the mickey out of each other. Actually, everyone took the mickey out of me! I did find out that Karen Peach had delivered guide boxes -donated by ex – Liss pupils Milly Henderson and Kayleigh Park – and they had gone down a storm. I’ve been told that there are messages of thanks to be returned to the UK.
Tomorrow is World Ranger Day and we’re due an early start, so going to bed at midnight after a being up in the early hours probably wasn’t the best idea. I’ll report on World Ranger Day in tomorrow’s blog.