One Big Fireplace-A tale of #koikoiIslands

I changed the title of this post so many times, as well as my mind about writing it.Then I remembered that  I promised to share.

I want to be dramatic and say, it’s because I was awash with emotions but the truth,  is I was deciding whether I should just post pictures, or go ahead and tell the tale literally.

Clearly I decided not to go down the ‘only pictures road’ because I have been in this country long enough to know when to leave issues of the generals to the generals.

So ladies and gentlemen of the blog sphere and beyond, allow me tell you about my trip to Ssese Islands last weekend in full measure, but first a history lesson:

You see before society sold its soul to DSTV and cable TV and long before family time became about taking and posting selfies with #familythings, and #MyFamilyIsBetterThanYours we used to sit around fireplaces and listen to our grandparents tell stories.(If you missed that then am sorry dotcom child life happens), but we have evolved.

Our grandparents if we are lucky to still have them today  are waiting for our annual visit to the village on Christmas day to see us  and when they  do, the fire place may or may not have been replaced by UMEME or solar energy and the time has to be divided between taking those selfies and posting them because  we have to make good use of that data bundle from #TheSmartPhoneNetwork

Which brings me to the point.

A little over a year ago, cool people got together with their cool other cool friends and decided to start telling Ugandan stories. I was invited by the same way you learned about Branjelina divorce or #savesomeone a.k.a social media.

Their name Kafunda Kreazy Kreatives (emphasis added)

Through an initiative dubbed #koikoiUg and a lot of help from their friends, Vivo Energy and Airtel Uganda these cool people decided to start telling Ugandan stories one awesome trip at a time.

In other words taking advantage of the biggest fire place in the world right now  as Collin a.k.a SpartakussUg a.k.a Daddy, passionately described it as.  Which in 2016 is Facebook, twitter,snap chat, Instagram, whatsapp and all their other social networking cousins

So on Friday 30th September 2016, I packed my excess luggage and headed for my second #kokoi trip, more affectionately known as #koikoiislands partly because I knew law school and all my assignments would still be here when I got back and partly because whats not to like?

I was really late, to get to the meeting point, because a thief decided to  exercise their ‘constitutional right’ to access my hand bag and all its valuables but, I  was beyond determined to go, so in retaliation, I didn’t even to the police to report or lets just say it was not a day where i felt I had it in me to deal with Uganda Police.

I will not bore you with the geographical details of the trip because quite frankly geography was not my favorite subject. Also  Joel Jjemba did such an awesome job writing a complete guide to Kalangala ( that’s the name of the district that plays host to the magnificent Ssese Islands) that I am unworthy to even give it a try.

When we got to the Islands, there was an actual fire place and this became the place where a lot of conversations, banter, dance moves, games,and stories happened during  the two  nights we spent at Panorama Cottages .


I am writing this under the assumption that you are sitting with me at the fire place, by that lake on a dark night.

The darkness is good because it gives the stars a sharp brightness, or at least that is what is going on in my head.

We are contemplating if its a good idea to go and get meat from the men manning the barbecue, but we cant bring ourselves to interrupt this peaceful nothingness, and we slowly disappear into a reminiscence  of the events of this trip.


It was a great long day.

We went out on a boat okay scratch that, we were carried onto a boat.

We had had a heavy breakfast, so the carriers were visibly struggling but we didn’t care.

We rode on that boat for two hours to Bukasa Island. We enjoyed the ride. The end of it came sooner, for us anyway.

Because the hotter it got, the more of an opportunity it gave us to show off our Shell Fuel Save water bottles in the name of hydration.

Plus we were sitting near very chatty people and The Kreativ Adikt was taking all these “out of a magazine” pictures of us, a job he effortlessly juggled with sending the boat rider bottles of beer for his taste buds’ pleasure.


If we are being honest we forgot we were on a boat a few times, only to be awakened from our oblivion by the vastness of Lake Victoria, or was it by the yelling of our rather eccentric tour guide Kassie.


We got off the boat finally, again by very manly hands, because well all our diverse skills don’t include, disembarking wooden boats without ladders and we love our legs too much to pull one of those ninja warrior moves.

We then walked 14kms through the forest and out of it, 1st to the Orthodox Church. When we got there, we were greeted by the magnificent beauty of the hand built church, overlooking the lake. image
We finally got some answers about the difference between the Orthodox Church and other religions.
They use the Gregorian calendar, so Christmas  for them is on 7th February. They also really like to show that Jesus was pierced in the feet when they do their prayer symbol, and yes they have existed on the Island since 1983.
The proof is in the vintage Land Rover in their massive compound. image
Before we could  ask if they know about the vintage car show in Kampala, we are already on our way, we had  a shrine to visit.
We were curious about the shrine or was that fear I sensed?
We shall go with  curious, although non of that curiosity was satsified because the care taker of the sacred home of all the spirits and gods of Buganda is very unrelenting in his resolve to give us any information we cannot even take a picture.
We understood because from our time watching spy TV series we learn’t , that there is a such a thing as classified information.

Well that was unfruitful, but we had a waterfall to get to.
The sight of it could have given us a warm enough satisfaction until we realized that we are allowed to deep our tired feet where the fall rests.

We both agree that there was no greater feeling than the one our feet experienced when they got wholly immersed in that nearly black ice cold water of the nanziri falls
It felt like tickles that could only draw silent laughter.
Too much would give the secret away.
We didn’t stay long, but at least were allowed to take pictures. We also had a boat to catch, but wait, its almost 7pm. And what is synonymous with 7pm, besides NTV Akawungeezi? 
The sunset. This time we cared to see it set, to finally understand the obsession with it, and also if you must know, camera people were pulling out all sorts of pauses to catch it. So we couldn’t help but fix our eyes on their target.

Then we saw it, glaringly bright,as if daring us to stare back with as much intensity.

We consented that it won the staring contest,

Instead we retrieved our sight to its rays, that held the water in such an embrace

Lake Victoria, is so lucky we thought,

It gets hugged by the sun,

It stayed that way for some time but somewhere in the middle of our ride back, the sun kissed the lake goodnight, and someone with the DNA  of a photographic genius
captured it.

We retired to that fire place and our beds in that order


It was our second and last day.

We were not about to leave an Island without visting a fishing village.

So we headed to Lutoboka fishing village, although Joan will insist its a shopping village.

Its not exactly marred in all sorts of grilled fish like we envisioned.

Its a miserable looking place, with semi permanent structures and circles of drinking buddies waiting for 5pm to sail out and catch some fish.

There also a lot of children and we started wondering, what inspires them.

How do they ask for more yet, they have been exposed to one kind of lifestyle?

How do they make better life choices?

Then we met Gloria, we talk about how she ended up in Lutoboka from Gulu with her mother.

She is in primary 5 and she wants to be a lawyer like her uncle.

I told her am actually in law school, but I skipped the part of I missed class for two days for the trip.

She was very impressed, and we talked like old friends about her dreams.

There she was a towering symbol of hope.

We had swimming pool to get to and a trip back to Kampala to take.

We agreed, our work at the Ssese Islands was done.

The story had been written in our hearts

To be told on this big fire place.
Till next time, thank you for sitting with me.
Photo Credit: The Kreativ Adikt

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