Today we made the trip to Bukorwe, a three hour plus drive in either direction, but one that would be worth it as we always receive a warm welcome from the school. Additionally, we hadn’t heard a great deal from Vicent, the Twinning Project Coordinator at the school and it would be good to catch up with him. Everyone was up at five in order to be ready to leave by six, but in typical African style we didn’t leave until 7.20am because we couldn’t buy fuel until 7.00am.
Once we hit the road this didn’t appear to matter as with Steve at the wheel we quickly left the Mweya peninsula and joined the road down to Bukorwe. We dropped Stu off at UWA headquarters as he was going down with Mustafa, one of the rangers known as the ‘Lion Man’, to track climbing lions near Ishasha. At first the road was in good condition, but after 30km it deteriorated into farcical conditions. Steve needed all his driving skills to negotiate the massive potholes and uneven terrain. How the Sauna Wagon managed to cope without falling apart I’ll never know.
After three and a half long hours we finally reached Bukorwe where we were given a rapturous welcome. Vicent was in fine form and very pleased to see us. After a quick breakfast we were given a tour of the school and visited each class. Every class had something prepared for us and the girls were given several gifts of flowers. We were also entertained with many songs. I took the opportunity to go out onto the school field and throw a rugby ball around with the boys while Amy was mobbed by the girls when she did the same. Happily, my skills were in better shape than a few days previously at Katunguru and I was leaping like a salmon to take the high balls they kicked into the air.
We had a very pleasant lunch then passed on some gifts that Clanfield had sent over with Karen. I took the opportunity to make sure that Vicent’s laptop and internet connection were working ok and also began to show him how to blog. Yowasi will be leading some more formal training when the Ugandan coordinators next meet.
As usual there was a round of speeches and I was required to contribute representing the British teachers. What was really clear to me was how much the staff and children at Bukorwe value the Twinning Project.
We left Bukorwe after 4.00pm (by this time Stu had joined us) and began the long journey home. Once again Steve did an incredible job driving, but eventually the Sauna wagon stalled and this time it wouldn’t restart. We were left out in the middle of nowhere with some admittedly spectacular views. A decision was made to leave the Sauna Wagon to cool down for half an hour before trying to jump start it. However the first couple of attempts failed. In desperation we asked Karen to sit in the driver’s seat while the rest of us pushed and this time it worked. Steve drove like a maniac to get back at a reasonable time and we finally made it back to Mweya shortly before 9.00pm. We drove down to Tembo where we were greeted as if we’d been away for years.
After a great meal everyone else went back to Hippo House except for Stu and me who were chatting away. W suddenly became aware that in the outside area there was a leaving do for one of the park staff, Josephine, who we had got to know fairly well during the week; in fact we had been chatting with her about music while we were eating our dinner.
Stu and I wondered outside to witness proceedings where we were made to feel welcome with beers and kind words. As is customary there were speeches and it was announced that there would be a speaker from the Twinning Project. I looked around and Stu had disappeared. Therefore I had to give a speech extoling Josephine’s many virtues. Worse was to come. It was then announced that There would be official dancing from UWA representatives, Josephine herself and me from the Twinning Project. Stu had still not reappeared; he’s good at disappearing at convenient times. To heighten my embarrassment all the girls who were eating inside came out to watch the muzungo make an idiot out of himself. I duly obliged!
We finally headed home at 12.30am. It had been a long, but challenging day. Saturday promised more fun with our party for the rangers.