The Ssesse trip has been happening for years now thanks to a partnership by two Rotaract clubs; Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central and Kampala Ssese Islands.The relationship that has resulted from this has seen an annual charity project conducted in Ssesse islands every year.
The trip was scheduled for 10th October 2019. We boarded ghetto bus from Jevanjee gardens, Nairobi at around 7pm. This was a long road trip; I slept at some point and lost track of time. We arrived at the Busia – Uganda border at around 2am and after immigration check up we were allowed to cross over to Uganda.
It was a three hours’ drive from the Busia border to Kampala. I must say, my strained relationship with Safaricom was renewed as they were the first to welcome me to Uganda! On the otherside, Uganda Rotaractors were eagerly waiting for us and after a very warm welcome we were taken to a nearby hotel for refreshment.
Our problems started when communication was difficult due to language barrier, luckily I found this gentleman having matoke and the meal was served with avocado. I need not say more that the green avocado seduced me and ordered the meal. We were told the famous meal was known as Katongo, which came with a large piece of meat and of course the Avocado. I was so sure that these guys just knew a way to my heart. The service was not as fast as we are used to (in Kenya) but the Katongo was worth the wait.
After our meals, we boarded the vans to Entebbe, where we boarding the ferry to Ssesse Islands. The ferry trip was 3 hours and we literally took the opportunity to network, make new friends from different backgrounds and finally have fun in the spirit of Rotaract; there is no party like a rotaractor party!!!
We docked at Ssesse islands at around 6pm and we were welcomed by cool Ugandan music; clearly Ssesse is one location known for Enjoyment, different hotels ready to welcome the guests and too many motorbikes ready to fery people to different locations and of course vans from different hotels. We arrived at our designated hotel and sorted housekeeping. The meals were amazing and there was always “katongo” in every meal, they would serve with the peanut sauce which was just something different but still yummy. Ugandans don’t play with their bananas.
The project tool place at a nearby school. On the project day it rained heavily however this did not stop us the project went on as planned. The project entailed a medical camp, classroom boards painting, sanitary towels distribution and stationary donations.
There were different rooms from which registration, consultation, tests and drugs donated by the The Rotary foundation administered to the patients was done. I got to be a pharmacist for a day with the help of professional volunteers and much respect to medics as the job is not easy. We had a few more local volunteers to help with prescription translation.
We also got to identify common problems affecting the people at the specific area, sanitation being one big problem. But we were able to advice and educate. There was a small literacy and basic education training done by different volunteers. I cannot forget to mention just how much passion I saw in different Rotaractors and Rotarians who dedicated and sacrificed a lot to make this possible. And some even went an extra mile to have one on one conversations with different pupils at the school. We had an opportunity to mingle and interact with the students at the school.
As the project went on there was singing and dancing! The beautiful Ugandan girls had sisal costumes on and the beauty of them dancing as the sisal costumes swayed from right to left was mesmerizing. We all learnt a move or two while at it.
The day finally came to an end after few speeches, stationary handover and guys playing football with the pupils. Thereafter, we went to the hotel and later meet together for dinner where party after after started beside a bonfire beside lake victoria. The DJ kept us entertained the whole night.It’s was such a mesmerizing scene and the mix and unity of different cultures was felt. Different songs, dances, cultures from different countries and as well as different dance moves were experienced hence the name “Ku-sessereka”. Everyone was so comfortable in their space and environment. There was a stand by vans in case one wanted to sleep but lo! people were there to stay.
The highlight of the night was skinny-dipping; you did not do Ssesse right if you did not skinny dip. Memories of childhood were brought up to life right here. Amidst all these, there was a bonfire still lit to warm people up.
This was my first time at Ssesse islands. I am happy I went with Rotaract and I am happy to have being a part of such a passion and dedicated group. I had fun and experienced Ssesse differently and I am glad that we got to make a difference together.
Always a Rotaracter!
Article by Purity Nderi – Member| Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central