At this point, writing about Lake Bunyonyi feels about as redundant as telling your friend who just got bit by a stray dog to run and get a tetanus shot! Lake Bunyonyi is beautiful, everyone knows it, everyone has written about it, everyone has seen it. If at all, there is nothing as beautiful and artistic as the sight of the sun going down on all 29 islands. God is, indeed, a show off!
For the 1% of Uganda’s population that hasn’t had this pleasure for one excuse or the other, you need to pack a bag, a few friends, or not, and head over to Kabale. You don’t even have to say there long, although you will stay longer than you intend to, just soaking it in, rethinking all the wonderful moments in your life, and adding this view onto the list of the most breath taking things you have experienced. It is transformational. Tales of its extra ordinary magnificence have been told by many not without reason, it really is all that.
For my friend’s 25th birthday, we made the Kabale excursion. I still do not know what excited us most. A three-day-out-of-town-experience, the five of us hanging out non-stop without any distractions, or Kabale itself. Couldn’t have been the latter, almost everyone from this group hails from Kabale, another trip home shouldn’t have been something to write home about.
But it really was, sometimes it really isn’t the place, or the time, or the fun you are having, but who you are having it with…
Our little trip to Kabale morphed into the most amazing adventure simply because we had each other. I still haven’t laughed as loud or as long as I did that Saturday, I have never wanted to freeze time as much as I did then.
We crossed the border between Uganda and Rwanda at Katuna and had a couple of drinks at a local restaurant. We swung back a few as we repeatedly did the “one time”, an adaption of the popular dub you will see all the millennials doing at each song. One of the girls showed us how to do the one time (it really isn’t the dub) and we did the one time literally 1000 times in the duration of that trip. We sat on the white plastic chairs and drunk our Smirnoffs and talked, not even the scorching sun could take away an inch of perfection from that moment.
As we always do, we had some intense conversations. I wished we could stay there forever. Weightless and free like all that mattered was that we were there, in a little town where nobody knew us, tossing back a few in the middle of the day, laughing.
We traipsed through Kabale with our rented car and the most patient driver, we ate the famous Karecera Samosas (yes, they are huuuggeee) and moved uphill where we lived the Bunyonyi experience. I was breath taken. This wasn’t my first or even second time there, nevertheless, I was mesmerized. 400Km out of Kampala, reasonable price to pay for serenity.
They journey back was less noisy, definitely longer. One slept through it, two picked at random topics between natural hair maintenance and careers, One tweeted, Facebooked, whatsapped and whatever-else-smart-phones-are-used-for-lately the journey away but me, I watched every kilometer dwindle away (This could have probably been because I had left my phone in Kabale). I watched every tree, every hill and every valley fade into the distance. I watched the cars speed past, some at a really worrying speeds, I watched the tarmac. I thought of the people who, not many years ago, worked day and night to make this road such that a bunch of friends could smoothly drop their “busy” lives and whisk themselves off to tiny paradises for a weekend. I watched the little villages and towns, one after the other, all with the same dull and indifferent character. When I eventually got off at my stop, the familiar feeling of loss set in.
I would never have a weekend as perfect as that one had been, not even the loss of my phone made it any less. It was a special blend of comfort, familiarity, coziness, relaxation, bliss, fun and security. It felt like all the nuances of our little lives had been left behind the moment the journey begun and there we are, just five friends, being touristy and doing touristy things in their own home, it was remarkable!
I see a lot of women pulling other women’s hair, bringing each other down with a comment, deliberately or not. I have heard lots of talk, “girls are not loyal”, “girls cannot be trusted.” I see them shaming their own, day in and out and it truly saddens me, because we truly are it. There is no greater force than that of women who have chosen to do life together.
It really is crap that girls cannot be true friends. “I get along better with boys cause girls are too much drama.” It is a scam. Drama will follow you if you are dramatic. Keep your friendships clean and pure, protect them, nurture them and watch them bloom into the brightest gardens. Along the way, you will have a few road trips that will be fun, a few parties that may flop, a number of exciting adventures, many plans that get canceled and conversations you would much rather not have. Nothing will compare to that feeling of security and fulfillment that will wash over you when you know you have made good friends. And those friends will be women.