Finishing our safari in style in Jinja, Uganda

On our first morning in a cabin by Kibale Forest,this big baboon boldly came in through our back door and grabbed  bag containing a dozen eggs.  Our breakfast became his.

On our first morning in a cabin by Kibale Forest,this big baboon boldly came in through our back door and grabbed bag containing a dozen eggs. Our breakfast became his.

David Kay and I have been on safari in Uganda for the past three weeks. Our accommodation has varied throughout from a cabins by the rainforest where we cooked our own food using fruits and vegetables purchased from local trading centre kiosks, to the accommodation we have for our last two nights here in Jinja. In our cabin by the forest, we even had a huge baboon come into our “kitchen” and steal the eggs we were planning to have for breakfast. Today, we are staying at Surjio’s Guest House and Pizzaria in the upscale areas of the city not far from the place where the Nile River begins out of Lake Victoria – the infamous “Source of the Nile”.

The best food of our safari was curry at Aaswad's.  We are going back for  another Aaswad meal tonight.

The best food of our safari was curry at Aaswad’s. We are going back for another Aaswad meal tonight.

Last night we wandered along the Main Street seeking a restaurant that had been recommended to me by Hugh Langley. He said it had great food but an unfortunate name. Yes the place is called Aaswad’s Forever. The restaurant has mainly Indian food and we likely had the best meal there last night of our whole trip. So good, in fact, that we are planning to return tonight. Today rode a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) into the countryside to see the Bujagali Falls, listed in the lonely planet things to do in Jinja. Unfortunately the falls are no more…since a dam just below them flooded the area and raised the water level several feet. Dave has headed off to do white water kayaking on the Nile. I elected for something more sedate. I found myself on Main Street at 1 pm so I stopped at a little restaurant obviously catering foreigners where I had a midday treat of Apple and Passionfruit crumble with a big scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream and a cappuccino. Now this all sounds as if today I am living the life of luxury. Relative to most Africans, I am. But if you are willing and able to arrange your own travel and maybe take some motorcycles around town rather than a taxi, it is not that expensive. My lunch treat and coffee mentioned above cost me the equivalent of $6. Our dinner last night – Two large beers and a table ladened with delicious curried dishes cost us $16 each, including a tip.

The pool view from the patio in front of our room at Surjio's Guest House in Jinja, Uganda.

The pool view from the patio in front of our room at Surjio’s Guest House in Jinja, Uganda.

Our hotel, by far the most upscale we have taken will cost $120 for the two of us in a twin room and includes a full breakfast of fresh pineapple and banana, a Spanish Omlette with toast and a large bodum of coffee. Uganda is a land of great diversity and we have had that in our accommodation and food as well. We have been in places with no light, running water or indoor toilet and also in a hotel that is clean, comfortable, secure and with full amenities, including high speed internet WiFi. And with a little planning and flexibility, even comfortable upscale travel here can be less expensive than anything comparable at home.

Cappuccino, warm apple and Passionfruit crumble with  ice cream - $6 at Flavours on the Main Street of Jinja, Uganda.

Cappuccino, warm apple and Passionfruit crumble with ice cream – $6 at Flavours on the Main Street of Jinja, Uganda.

A taste of Migori, Kenya

imageI met Edward Kabaka a couple of years ago and we have worked together on several projects in the Migori region of Kenya. On the weekend, Edward came to pick me up and we went to Migori where I was able to visit three CanAssist project partner groups.

After dinner entertainment

After dinner entertainment

On Monday, Edward invited me to his home for dinner and his wife prepared a huge spread of food. After dinner the three youngest girls daughters and some of their neighbour friends sang and danced and recited poems for me. I thought how similar kids are all around the world, remembering my own putting on “shows” after dinner and thinking of my granddaughter, Emma, twirling around and showing me ballet moves.

I took the opportunity to get a photo of the food before we dug in. I am often asked what i eat while in Kenya. This meal had many of the common staple foods that i am offered here, although not usually all together as in this spread. In addition to rice and beans which were on another table we were served chapati, chips, tilapia, sukuma wiki (shredded kale), tomatoes and onion, indigenous greens, bananas and papaya.

The other common staple for Kenyans which we did not have this night is uglali, a corn meal boiled doughy mixture that replaces our bread and is usually served in a huge mound. In addition to being a filling basis for a meal, uglali often acts as an edible utensil. The dough is rolled in one hand, a thumbprint cavity is made in the ball and used to scoop up other foods. It all pops into the mouth.

I came away stuffed with food and friendship and lots of smiles.

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