By Hadley Hobbs

We never thought we’d actually get this far in the trip but here we are…finished with our trek! After finishing up at SNEC we transferred to Lake Bunyonyi to spend one night at Edirisa’s Lodge before heading out. It was pouring down rain and the road was too muddy to drive so we ended up taking a very wet boat ride across the lake. LD’s yellow umbrella could only keep so many of us dry.

After a night in tents, we headed out on our hike/canoe trip. Our first day was mostly canoeing broken up by island hopping. Our first stop was to get fresh pineapple and passion fruit juice before heading to an island that used to be a leprosy refuge. Next stop Luxury Island. It actually use to be a doctor’s island who would travel everyday to the leprosy refuge but has since been turned into a resort-like place. After an amazing lunch we got to practice our cannonballs off the dock into the lake! Some of us even used our Dr. Bronners to take lake baths! Those count as showers right? By this point we certainly think so.

As we headed back out on kayaks we thought we were going to get caught in a serious thunder and lightning storm but the weather gods were on our side as it didn’t rain once our entire trek! We made it to Mama Bena’s for the night where we sat around the fire, told stories, and met her 105-year-old mom! Stepping out of our tents the next morning we were mentally preparing for our 18km hike we were about to conquer. We headed back on canoes to reach our starting point and then began our hike to our first stop, a local tribe high up in the hills. We bought crafts and practices our archery skills.

Next came the climb. While we were told the “hill” only took about 30 minutes, it seemed to take all day. Luckily around every steep step and turn we were rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding hills, islands, and the lake! We had lunch at the top and then stopped on our way down to watch a group of local dancers. After another quick canoe we found ourselves on Tom’s Island for the night. Greeted by cows, goats, geese, chickens, and birds, the small island was anything but quiet. After a dinner of crayfish and a sip of local “beer” we headed to bed in anticipation for our short canoe day ahead.

When we woke up Tom gave us a brief tour of his island and then we headed to Anna’s Island for crafts! We found many treasures there and even got to make our own bracelets (although some of us, including me, needed a lot of extra help in the bracelet making department). After crafts we paddled back to the lodge for a final trek lunch and then spent a well deserved rest afternoon lounging by the lake. Although slightly sore and sunburned, we got to see the most stunning views and get in some well needed movement. We made it! Trek conquered!