Skip to main content

The Bakiga Window: Oraire Gye Nyabo?

The luggage bus makes it to the border, en route to Kabale, Uganda.
"Oraire gye nyabo?" I ask the lady at the passport control desk. Her response is to giggle at me before starting to process the pile of twenty-six passports - a heady mix of nationalities with and without visas depending on who you are and where you're from. I am assured later that my pronunciation of a standard greeting that translates as 'how did you spend your night, madam?' is perfectly fine, but it is the fact that it is a mzungu saying it which has raised a giggle.

It is Sunday 10th April and we've left Rwanda and are now waiting on the Ugandan side of the border to be processed and allowed into the country officially. In past years we've all had to fill in forms individually and queue up to be seen one by one. This year we have a pragmatic border controller who is willing to process us in one group. Thank the Lord - we are on a tight schedule today!

Having made our way through the winding roads of Rwanda, we find ourselves in Kabale district in the southwestern Uganda. The weather is increasingly hot and the sights increasingly familiar: the hawkers in no man's land trying to exchange your money for you, the border police with their stern faces and the endless lines of trucks seemingly waiting forever to go through customs, but never moving.

Our small luggage minibus has successfully navigated its way through both the Rwandan and Ugandan border checks ahead of us and was waiting on the Ugandan side. After a quick chat with the driver, Grigorios and Hanka I dispatched the minibus to get to the hotel in Kabale before us.

A short while later, the passports are done and the friendly Ugandan border controllers are happy to let us through. The students are all looking exceptionally excited now as I load them back onto our Toyota Coaster. 

With many of them having been asleep for most of the spectacular journey through the Rwandan countryside, they've awoken to fact that we are now many miles from the airport home and even further into the heart of Africa. This is where our African experience really begins.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

From a Crooked Rib by Nuruddin Farah

Cover image. © Penguin Books. I stumbled across Nuruddin Farah’s novels when searching for something written by a Somali author. Perhaps due to the conflict that has raged for years in Somalia, it is very difficult to find much from Somali writers published in English. From a Crooked Rib was published in 1970 and tells the story of Ebla, a young, orphaned, illiterate nomadic girl, who runs away from her encampment. She takes the decision to leave upon learning of her Grandfather’s intention to marry her off to an older man within their Jes (a group of families living in an encampment together). She firstly escapes to a town, Belet Amin, where she finds her cousin and his pregnant wife. She also finds a guide and confidante in a character known only as the widow. Things seem settled until, yet again, Ebla finds her freedom compromised by a male character – this time her cousin, whose wife and child Ebla has been nursing. In her haste she leaves Belet Amin with the w

The Bakiga Window: Taufiq Islamic Primary School: Part II

In a manner so typically Ugandan, Yasim approaches silently and politely asks whether he can have a word with me – it is one of those ironies that a word has to be had in order to have a word with someone. Irony aside, he has heard back from the Sheikh and arranged an appointment for me. It is Wednesday 20 th April and once more I find myself en route to Taufiq Islamic Primary School. The morning started in the usual way: waking up sleepy students, ensuring that everyone had 'taken' breakfast and had a supply of bottled water, and then walking with the group down the hill, into the town. At the foot of the hill, the group scattered into many fragments, with everyone off in search of their own adventures. I head straight on, past the noise of the metal workers, over to Taufiq. After having had to beat a hasty retreat last week , I was unsure of who would be in my reception committee. Teacher Bright was the first to greet me, before taking me inside to m

Beach Huts, Southwold, Suffolk

Sleeping beach huts on Southwold Beach, Suffolk. Safely back from my annual visit to Rotterdam, my parents invited me to spend a few days with them in a small holiday cottage in Southwold, Suffolk. Give or take driving through Newmarket a few years back when studying at Anglia Ruskin University, I'd never really seen much of the county. Southwold itself is a beautiful seaside resort which happens to be the home of Adnams , a well known brewery, which means that for a small place there are a healthy number of pubs - suddenly Dad's choice of location made sense . On the early afternoon of Wednesday 20th February  I took a walk to the Harbour Inn to meet my parents for lunch. The pub was just under two miles away from Grace Cottage , where we were staying. This gave me the opportunity to take some pictures of the sea. On our way towards the see we also spotted  Georgie Glen  from Waterloo Road humming happily to herself on the High Street. Southwold is lovely,