By Jason Tyler
Hey! Hoping this finds everyone back home doing well!
We’ve had an eventful past few days at SNEC and Lake Bunyonyi.
We arrived at SNEC, a school for special needs students in Uganda, on March first. While there we volunteered in the classrooms doing activities with the students and helped rebuild a veranda around a classroom building. It was a lot of hard work but our group still finished strong!
While at SNEC, we had the added responsibility of preparing all of our own meals. We planned them out and went grocery shopping in town before going to SNEC, and worked hard making food over a gas stove three times a day! It was actually really good food, to be honest.
We left the school on the morning of March 6th and spent a day in town before driving to Edirisa that evening to prepare for our trek. Edirisa is located on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi, which is probably one of the most gorgeous places in the world!
The first day of our trek started with canoeing. We stopped for fresh pineapple and passion fruit juice on one island, and for lunch on another. After lunch, we had the opportunity to use a rope swing! It was amazing, even though some of us (me included) barely made it over the water before falling off. Then we canoed to Mama Benna’s where we saw baby chickens (so adorable!), ate a delicious meal, and spent the night in tents.
The second day was easily the hardest! We trekked 12 miles on foot up a mountain. It took hours and included a lot of really steep uphill hiking. On the way up, we stopped to meet the Batwa. We shared a wonderful conversation and listened to their history. Then we danced together and learned archery! When we finally reached the top, we were rewarded with an amazing view and Snickers bars. Not the bite size ones, either, full-size Snickers. Totally worth it! Some of the particularly talented members of our group did headstands, and we ate a picnic lunch. Then we trekked all the way back down the mountain and canoed to Tom’s Island just before sunset. We had a meal of eggplant with peanut sauce and crayfish around a campfire and told stories before going to bed.
The third day, we woke up and walked to the highest part of the island with Tom to hear his, and the island’s, story. Then we started canoeing back. Before returning to Edirisa we stopped at Ann’s corner to visit a local craft maker. She taught us how to make beautiful braided bracelets out of papyrus! When we got back, we spent an evening swimming in the lake, catching up on showers, and resting before our trip to Rwanda the next day!