As I headed to this land in Kyaggwe County, I chose to ignore old tales that characterise this part of Buganda Kingdom. Tales of night dancers who do their business in broad daylight.
We are packed hip-to-hip in a rickety and rattling commuter taxi whose shock absorbers have long given way that every pothole on the road is felt on my innermost being!
I choose to sympathise with the driver who must bite his lip each time he engages a gear. The other thing he must be dreading is negotiating bends for the apparently worn out steering wheel is very stiff. He is not excited about the slopes, for the taxi breaks are loose.
The driver, given the state of his vehicle, must however be grateful that there are still roads in Uganda with no traffic police presence. He could also inwardly be excited that there are still individuals like us his passengers, about 20 in total, in the taxis licensed to carry 14 passengers, willing or maybe have no choice but be his clients.
There are fewer taxis on this ‘highway’ meaning that if one misses one taxi, they will have to wait for hours before another comes by.
On the way however, nature is serenading. At Kyabuwali for example, fountains of clear water sprout from the ground, wetting the surface as it flows downhill are a irresistible. If you have travelled around Uganda in places like Kyankwanzi or Rakai where residents walk miles in search of water, finding free flowing water here is something to thank God for.
Majority of fellow passengers seem not to recognise this gift of nature maybe because they are not first time visitors to Buikwe District like myself.
In fact one woman in the third row seat dozes off. She clutches her stack of paper.
But it is not long before her hands get loosen up under the power of sleep. The wind takes aantage and blows away them away through the window.
Jumping out a speeding taxi
No one cared about her flying papers. It must have been something valuable. She wakes up after wind had blown hard on her face and in one wake shouts at the driver to stop. But before he could, the woman jumped out of the taxi, in pursuit of her papers.
She fell with a heavy thud and sustained injuries on the shoulders, on knee and bruises on the palms. While she is consoled by some of us, others blame her for being reckless.
Couldn’t she have waited for a minute or two for the taxi to stop, one woman charges. Consoled or rebuked, what comes to mind is that one cannot afford a nap while travelling on the road to Buikwe.
It may not be papers flying out of the window like this woman’s but you need to watchfully take care of your legs, your eyes, your whole body on this bumpy dusty 13.5km road.
Kabaka’s gardens with no single tree
To get to Buikwe town, the road penetrates several sugarcane plantations, telling of one of the economic activities residents are engaged in.
And just before the town, is a non-functional railway which made me think that after the proposed construction of new standard railway gauge, this part of Uganda will be much easy to reach.
Buikwe maybe at the periphery of Buganda kingdom neighbouring Busoga Kingdom but Buganda patriotism is much alive here. In the centre of the town is a piece of land about 10X15ft planted with garden flowers branded “Ebimuli bya Muwenda Mutebi II”, translated as Kabaka Muwende Mutebi II gardens.
The ‘gardens’, fenced off with a line of chains and pavements painted in white and blue, Buganda Kingdom colours, have the kingdom’s emblem conscripted. The gardens have no trees but are a good sight nevertheless after a bumpy dusty drive.
Buikwe is a small town in south-eastern Central Region approximately 62km, by road, east of Kampala and 13.5km, by road, southeast of Lugazi, the nearest large town. According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the district covers a total area of 1,244.7 square kilometres and a population density of 345.1 persons per kilometre as of 2012.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor