Buvuma is one of those Islands that you rarely hear talked about. This October, the Mountain Slayers Uganda visited Buvuma for an island hiking experience.
Getting to this beautiful and neatly laid out island is no mean feat. A ferry that you have to queue up for to ensure you don’t get left behind, crammping onto it and fitting yourself into any available space, a few seats available BUT the anticiapation of what awaits you on the other side is all the calm you need.
I will not delve into the details of how we got there, the hiking experience, the swim in the refreshing fresh waters, celebrating my sister’s birthday or even the fact that Fluffy (our family mutt) came along the trip and was such a spot. It’s the acts of kindness that the Buvuma locals presented that blew me away – literally!!!!! Maybe this is such a normal thing they do and I was going through my own “the world is hard” moments that I got yanked out of these thoughts by all this kindness.
So, I didn’t hike but accompanied the guys mostly so I can relax and get some fresh air and sunshine onto my skin. A few of us remained at the campsite (including Fluffy) to achieve the “get rested, get refreshed” mission. We even offered to drive along with Mwanjje (our bus driver) to take food to the lunch-spot for the guys that had gone hiking. The bus could only reach a certain point so we had to jump off and carry the food the rest of the way – walking. We did all this with gladness; however, I couldn’t help but keep some of the acts of kindness that kept falling upon me the entire time:
One of the workers at the campsite offered to jump onto the bus and help us find our friends at their lunch-spot. Being very unfamiliar with the place, we didn’t even know where to start. The gentleman saw us confused and even attempting to use our GPS systems to locate the supposed lunch spot. On discovering that we needed help, he set down everything that he was doing and offered not only to direct us but to come with us. As we were about to leave, he quickly run back to where he was doing his work and a few seconds on re-appeared with a small cluster of bananas. “Ggamwe (these are for you)” he mentioned as he handed the cluster to us. I can’t explain how this made me feel and the possibility that I felt a tear or two welling in my eyes. (I didn’t even get his name…). On getting to a certain rough patch where the bus couldn’t go on ahead, this kind sir even offered to carry some of the food on his head as he guided us to our friends. At this point, I was dumb-founded and couldn’t say much. Anyway, we got off and decided to walk and since the carrying of the food had been taken over by Mr. Kind stranger, I carried the bananas for us to snack as we walked.
Along the path as we walked, I found a lady in her mid-thirties walking her kids home. She probably was coming from the market as she held a small shopping basket. The children looked tired and hungry so I did the most natural thing I thought to do – gave each one of them a banana as I reassured them that they possibly would be getting home soon to eat. I greeted the lady too and thanked her for taking care of her children. Little did I know I had sparked something in her heart (read on to see how)…
As we walked on, we found a gentleman that looked like he’d had one too many to drink at that time of the day. He was pretty loud and interacted with anyone but kept walking on with his dog – “Longido”. We must have looked like pretty interesting people that he decided to walk along with us – pretty sure he had no idea where we were heading but he came along anyway. He had quite some interesting tales and stories up his sleeves. What kicked me off again was him offering to carry Fluffy the rest of the way even if this was going to make him look strange to his village mates. The man carried tired little Fluffy all the way to the lunch spot not giving a care about what others were saying. I highly doubt it was the too many drinks he had had. This is probably who he is – very helpful.
Two acts of kindness following each other got me looking up in the sky and smiling – WHY? – because I’d spent the better part of that week laced in moments of self doubt, moments of grumbling to myself how some things were not going right, I was even down, sick. These acts were surely a message to me.
Onward we went, two kind gentlemen walking with us one carrying our food, one carrying our little exhausted dog and telling us all kinds of stories – we finally arrived at the lunch spot with the food. Our hiking people ate up quickly, we had a good swim (lunch spot was a beach) and then sat to bask in the sun.
An hour later, we hit our way back to where we had left the bus as we watched the hikers continue on the trail. At this point Longido’s “Owner” our other kind friend (he was now a friend) had told us all the tales locked up in his head and decided it was time for him to head back to where he didn’t remember he was going to. He’d made our experience quite interesting. We bid him farewell and continued on with our walk. As we got nearer to the bus, I was snapped out of my thoughts by a lady that came running behind us holding something in her hand. She was calling out to us and so we stopped walking to hear her out. “Ani kumwe yawade nze n’abaana bange amenvu?” (Who amongst you gave me and my children bananas?) – I was pretty scared on hearing her ask this. “Could they have been food poisoned, could one of them have choked, were they rotten?” were all thoughts running through my head. Boldly, I stood out and responded “yenze” (It was me). She immediately gave me a big hug and then presented to me two eggs in a colorless polythene bag “weebare nyo kyewakooze, gaano gavamunkoko yange kumakya” (thank you very much for what you did, these two were hatched by my hen this morning). I stood in shock at what had just happened and what had been happening the last couple of hours. Her smile as she presented to me the eggs is etched on my heart. The walk back to the bus – I don’t remember that actually as I was busy speaking to myself and speaking to God who had just reminded me through three kind people that I didn’t need to walk around carrying a grey cloud over my head.
The rest of the trip kept presenting me with such moments of kindness and I can happily say, I left all the sad feelings I carried on the Island because I was constantly being reminded that there is good out there and that there are good people out there. No matter what life has thrown at them, they choose to be kind even to strangers.
I found kindness in Buvuma and it taught me to be grateful no matter what!