Wednesday 2nd September
My nomadic life continues. After two nights at Kumi I am now in Mbale for two nights, then back to Whitecrest in Kampala for one night and then to Banana Village at Entebbe for two nights. However the Mbale stop is voluntary for I am “on holiday” for 36 hours!
We, Richard and I, decided that we needed a complete break from the work at Kumi. It is our down week anyway and as all my jobs were completed by Tuesday afternoon I set off on the 40 minute trip to the Mbale Resort Hotel. Richard joined me 24 hours later after he had completed his tasks.
The hotel has two parts – there is a swanky five star part but which you can see from their website but also a low cost annexe. Guess which part we are in. I am staying in a small comfortable room with its own bathroom and everything I need for £20 a night B&B. If I were to go to the swanky side it would be £70 room only.
The best thing is that we have the use of all the swanky facilities including 20 acres of landscaped garden, swimming pool, health club, restaurants and a good view of the Wanale Cliffs, towering 9000 feet above us.
They are part of the Mount Elgon range (of which Sipi Falls is also part – see earlier blogs). I spent the afternoon sketching the cliffs from the garden accompanied by my own security man. He came to say hello and, unasked, stayed a few yards from me to make sure I was OK.
I struggle a bit with all of this. This country is so poor and most people are at subsistence level but here I am playing the wealthy mazungu. On the other hand I have been helped by about 10 staff here and I guess I am helping to keep them in employment. On the third hand, the money we have spent is far more than we usually spend to keep ourselves going and we could have given the surplus to poor people. On the fourth hand we need a break somewhere where we can relax and with food we can enjoy. I even had some red wine – the first for two months. I don’t know the answer.
I have not been off the hotel site today so I have no new funny signs to tell you about. For a change how about this for a legal notice in a national newspaper: “Illegality of the enthronement of a king”. It is a notice explaining that “the Government has become aware of the enthronement of one Cesar Augustus Mutenda as the king of the people of Kisoro in western Uganda” It goes on the say that kings can only be appointed under an act of Parliament and only after various papers have been filed. As Mr Mutenda had not filed any papers he is not supposed to be king.
The notice then appeals everyone to “stay calm and desist from violence” and stop treating him like a king. I have some sympathy for Cesar Mutenda because if his people want him as King I am sure he will say it has nothing to do with a government department in Kampala, hundreds of miles away. I hope he has some T-shirts made for his supporters to wear “Cesar for King.” The Romans would have approved.