We arrived in the evening on September 24th to the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life. Byoona Amagara on Lake Bunyoni. We awoke this morning in our delux geodome – a hut made of leaves with a completely open front that views out onto the lake. From the patio you can see several islands that are part of this lake and people paddling their dugout canoes to school or the market. From the patio you walk down to your own private bathroom and shower, with hot water from their solar heater. This place is bliss.
Sadly the deluxe geodome was already booked for the nights of the 25th and 26th so we were forced to downgrade to the regular geodome – equally fabulous in terms of view but using shared bathroom and shower facilities…and the roof at the entrance was a bit lower and if you forgot to duck you hit your head. We spent as much of the 25th enjoying the delux geodome before we were asked to shift over. Once we had moved we had lunch at the fabulous restaurant on site and then went to find a good book at their library. The place is outfitted to be a relaxing spot for weary travellers, with a library and “cinema” with movies showing at your request. I spent most of both days sitting on our patio enjoying my book, or sitting in the dining room writing in my journal while waiting for more food. Ryan had promised me a couple of days to chill before moving on to the adventure part of our trip. It was much needed and I wasn’t ready to leave when it came time.
Ryan, meanwhile enjoyed the peace and quite for about a millisecond and then wanted to do something – shocking right? Luckily the island is small and there isn’t a lot he can do to get into trouble, so he went off on his own to waner the island paths. On the 25th he walked and met a man fishing for crayfish for the hotel for dinner, and also met Ivan the goat herder who lives in the small village on the island. He insisted the next day that I join him to see these things, so on the 26th we walked and saw the various viewpoints on he island. We walked up to the Itambira village and met John who guided us through the small area and pointed out things of interest, like the “hotel” and bar, the small homes, the crops of sweet potato and sweet bananas as well a matooke (a kind of banana). He brought us to the water and showed us a crayfish pot that was full. He told us about living on the island – only 15 adults live here along with 20 children…of which we met 4 very smiling, dirty faces. He brought us to his sisters home and she showed us a mat she is weaving from banana leaves – the details were amazingl intricate and the light very dim. The villagers were kind and welcoming, saying hello and telling us what they could of their lives.
So far, this is a wonderful introduction to Uganda. The people here seem remarkably kind, especially when you consider the relatively brief amount of time they have experienced political and economic stability. They are warm and welcoming, and happy to help lost tourists trying to find their way. They clearly love their country and they seem to genuinely want for us to love it as well – and we do.