On this motorcycle safari through Uganda we try to get as many experiences as possible for ourselves. To achieve that, we didn't stay a second night in Kisoro. Today we wanted to continue to Lake Bunyonyi in the early afternoon. A tight program, because we all had a lot planned for the day.
Except for me, everyone on the team left at sunrise to visit the gorilla families in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the border triangle of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. On the other hand, I had planned something else and was able to sleep in peace. At nine o'clock the round and cheerful local Benjamin picked me up on his Bodaboda moped. Together we drove south out of Kisoro. The road quickly became a pothole and then a boulder field of volcanic rock. As his companion, Benjamin assured me that I shouldn't worry, he was very experienced on this path. In fact, he never stumbled. Leading the way on his motorbike was Omar, my guide and liaison. Because I wanted to visit the Ba-Twa. A pygmy tribe settled on the slopes of the Muhavura volcano after being expelled from the jungle in the 1990s to protect the more valuable gorillas. Apparently not many visitors came here, because the children, who were going about their young age's vague day's work along the way, were over the moon when they saw me. It's hard to understand how they perceived me as a foreign visitor at all, because I was wearing long trousers and a jacket and my helmet, so that only my hands revealed my white skin color. They ran after me with a ferocity that, even though they were only four-year-olds, I felt comfortable Benjamin could always outperform them.
Arriving in the Ba-Twa village, I was introduced to the school, storerooms and the two teachers. A little further up the slope, almost all the residents of the settlement were waiting for me. The chief greeted me and because the Ba-Twa are good singers and dancers, we danced and sang for a while. Then I was shown around a little further and explained why vegetable growing often went wrong. The pygmies have little experience as hunter-gatherers, and the manager of the relief project that takes care of them lamented how difficult it was to get at least some of them to till the fields.
Human huts were ugly to look at from the inside, for most people slept there on nothing more than a dirty grass mat and a few lumps of foul-smelling foam. The house of the chief and his wife was larger, but not more livable.
Due to its location on the unwooded mountain slope, the village looks far beyond the plain to the other mountains. This panorama alone was worth the bumpy journey. The encounter with a people who, until a few decades ago, largely lived the way our ancestors ten thousand years ago and now sang for me, moved me so much that, fortunately, hidden by my sunglasses, tears welled up in my eyes for a moment.