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 Mount Elgon Ranges Hiking Experience 

This Easter, I decided to not go home and enjoy it with family, but rather to go spend it in eastern Uganda with people full of fun. Please note that am a medicine student studying in the western part of Uganda. So this felt like a great opportunity to go have some fun,and forget about the usual busy demanding schedule in med school. Not forgetting to mention that we were attending a Medical General Assembly in Busitema university which happens to be in the East. Of course we learnt alot, but yet had a fair share of Fun!!!!!!!. Lots of things happened, but I choose this specific mount Elgon hiking experience which taught me something.

We had planned for the hiking a night before, and then woke up the next morning at 7am to fulfill all the dares and also to feed our curiosities about the hiking. One of our colleagues who had had a prior experience of the Elgon hike about a year ago advised us on what to carry for the journey. We started by heading to a restaurant for Heavy breakfast , did some shopping of drinks at a nearby supermarket, packed some snacks, and then headed for the mountain which is quite some distance from Mbale town. We were sixteen in number, got on eight motorcycles , and headed for the foothill of the mountain. Only excitement filled my heart. Our whole time on the bodaboda (motorcycle) , we screamed and took photos, recorded videos of ourselves…. I mean the excitement was too much to keep within. I carried with me a bag containing a few necessary stuffs, samosas, kebabs, water and soda and of course my Phone to cover every single moment. We first gathered as we waited for all the bodabodas to drop the sixteen of us, and then we together started our journey up. Taking selfies, screaming, it all felt fine ….until about 10 minutes into the hike when of course some people were at far distances than the rest. Before I knew it, everybody was ahead, and only Becky and I were left behind. These guys were walking so fast ,and weren’t taking any breaks at all, yet here I was taking three minute breaks for like every 10minutes I moved. So of course, we were left behind, and only screams were used for communication to know if we were still alive. About half way our journey up, Becky and I came up with a prunk that I had fainted so that these guys could come back and help. So she went screaming like …..”You guyssss, Violah has collapsed”. One of the members came back down running , only to find us laughing…it had kinda worked, because they had stopped as well, But, we were still far away from the main group. So this guy sticks with us and says he will hike behind us , but I later realized I was only lagging him behind. Becky had picked up herself, and was like half way the distance between us and the main group. Just as luck could have it, I noticed a young girl about 11years old , with bare feet, pale skin , she probably lives around this mountain because her pace was quite impressing. It seemed like she does it daily.So I told this colleague who had been hiking with me to leave me behind since i had company.Deep down, i knew i was tired and couldnt make my way up, but i didnt want to be the girl that went hiking but only gave up half way the journey…NO!. So i pressed on. While we were sweating like we had just taken a swim in the pool, this young girl only had a pale dry skin. What was most interesting about her was how she stood near me every time I rested, and only to proceed with her journey only when I started to move. The kavera that contained my drinks got torn, and my soda rolled down. I looked back , I couldn’t go back because I was already too tired, I decided to let it go, only for this young child to go back and pick it for me. And she said, “You really look tired, can I carry your bag for you?” God knows I wanted to give her my bag, but then, I was worried, with her pace and speed, she could have taken off with my bag through the trees….I said no to her help. All I let her carry was my big bottle of water. We continued slowly at a tortoise speed. I was so tired, Very tired, the highest point of Tired I have ever been in my life. I sat down, under the scotching sun, and started weighing my options….should I go back?, but I want to get to the top….how? I didn’t know how. I wished for a miracle lift or plane to show up. Then I thought about staying there until the group came back on their way down. But then, my ever thinking mind went to thinking about a Possible huge snake appearing , or a thief carrying away my bag, or many other unpleasant things. Remember, every other person in my group was far away, I couldn’t even see them or even hear their voices. The only people I saw were the locals digging, and people who had been up the mountain the night before descending. And they kept telling me how descending was harder than hiking. Nooooooo!!!!!!!!!! What was I getting myself into. Am already down on energy…I regretted why I ever did this. By this time, I had already taken out my most valued possession …..my phone from my bag , and given my bag to this young girl to carry. At this point, I was ready for anything. Ready for her to run away with my bag.

Then as luck could have it, I saw these two men digging at the slopes of the mointain. Even with language barrier, i managed to come so creative with language because Bagisu and Banyankole are both Bantu. We share some words . I made sure I got those words. I talked them into carrying me on their backs till the top of the mountain. I know how crazy this sounds, but I was not ready to return to Mbarara before getting to the top. I offered money, and these guys were so happy. Just so you know,I weigh more than each one of these guys, but the excitement money brings made them carry me one by one on their backs. They walked up the mountain like they were carrying any light something. Without difficulty, they carried me, we made conversation the whole time regardless of the language barrier issues. And in no time, we were at the top. I could see my colleagues waving and cheering on from a distance and of course laughing at how I could be on somebody’s back. I got down quickly , paid these guys and ran towards my friends, and of course we went about taking pictures and all. We found very many people at the top. Swimming at the waterfall, and others who had been camping there all night. We ate the snacks we had packed, drunk all the water and sodas, And in no time, it was time to slope back to the foothill of the mountain. I knew I had to be fast this time. I wasn’t about to be the very last person again. I had to stick with the fastest guys in the group, that way my pace would be set. Well , for me, sloping was easier than hiking. We tried all the possible manouvers including using our butts to slide down on the grass, and sloping backwards while crawling on our four limbs. But we made it. I made it!!!!!!. This time not as the last person in the group ,but somewhere in the middle group.. And of course we later got on bodabodas and headed back to the guesthouse.

At the end of the day, this was fun , but it had been an experience that taught me something I can never forget. It taught me never to give up. No matter the severity of the challenge. Even when you feel like you are in your world alone, with hardships, just look around, and look harder, there is always something that can turn out to be a solution. You just have to look harder.

No condition is permanent . pics below are from the journey we made. Right from the group selfie at the start, to the group pics at the top.

3 thoughts on “ Mount Elgon Ranges Hiking Experience 

  1. cheiiiiii
    still remember the fateful day….
    can still picture the men carrying u on their backs….too bad I was alone at that time…needed someone to laugh with

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