By Kate Robertson
Frieda Park recently wrote about our site visit to Ruhanga. After surviving the long bus ride from Kampala, we wished we would have packed up our mobile Solar Sister office and set up shop in the green hills of Ruhanga. Late nights working with no electricity in rural Uganda would surely not stop us. All we would have needed were a few Nova solar lamps sold by Solar Sister’s entrepreneurs. They would definitely do the trick of illuminating a makeshift workspace.
Unfortunately, our group’s vision of moving to Ruhanga was short lived. We’d have to survive on the memories of home visits, hikes, and freshly cooked red beans. In fact, here we are on a beautiful morning hike to the top of Ruhanga’s highest hill. To reach the top, we passed through tiny communities and banana plantations and chit-chatted with children we encountered on the way. A couple of us threw out words in the local language, Runyankole. It is amazing how powerful a smile and a simple attempt at ”hello” and “thank you” can be. We were met with giggles and funny looks as we botched the pronunciation of most phrases.
When we reached the top, the apparent lack of oxygen to the brain turned us goofy as we spent much too long choreographing this picture, which hardly does justice to the lush, green hills that surrounded us. In retrospect, we must have come up with the pose to demonstrate our gratitude for being in Uganda and having the opportunity to participate in this Thunderbird TEM Lab with the support of ExxonMobil. If you can’t tell, it spells TEM, Thunderbird Emerging Markets…
Off to see the “go-gos”, otherwise known as the near-extinct mountain gorillas on the border of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. They know we are coming and have told us they will be awaiting our arrival with Ugandan specialties including matoke, red beans, chipati and warm cassava root. We hope they are ready for a photo shoot, “Team Bzungu + 1″ style.