Sunday, March 26, 2017

P-Day in Kampala

Yesterday was our first official P-Day in Kampala.  All the other weekends we have been on the road or in Mbale so we wanted/needed to have a p-day without sitting in the for long periods of time in the car..  Well, if wishes were fishes.......I'll get to that in a minute......

First thing in the morning we both kinda just slept in.  Sorta.  Rick woke up early and didn't want to wake me so he went out on the couch to answer emails.  I lounged in bed watching the day dawn and the rain fall.  We had planned to go for a morning walk but the rain kind of nipped that in the bud. 

We just enjoyed being in the apartment for a few hours with nothing really pressing us.  I did make up a batch of cookie dough to use for our Sunday activities.

We had a wedding to be to by 11:00 and when we arrived at the Kololo Chapel we discovered that it had been postponed.  The person getting married is a son of Agrippina and Charles a couple in our Mbale Branch.  Although we do not know her son very well we were excited to see the family.  Since  there was no wedding after all we got going on the day's business of seeing some sights of the city.

First, after fighting the traffic and finding out where we were going an hour had already passed.  We finally pulled up to the Gaddafi Mosque.  It is a Muslim Mosque and trip advisor said it had a great view of the city.  It is built on top of a hill in the middle of Old Kampala.  It was finished in 2006 and boasts chandeliers from Egypt, stained glass from Italy, carpets Morocco, and wooden doors from the Congo.  When we first got there I felt a little naked because my head wasn't covered.  All the other women were.  We noticed a tourist tent when we drove in so we went that direction.  We were able to procure a guide, whose name is Ali, and a hijab for my head and off we went inside the mosque.

As we were going inside the speakers started ringing with a man calling people to prayers.  This is a common occurrence in Uganda.  There are many Muslim people and five times a day they are called to prayers.  If they are near a mosque they go in and pray.  If not they stop whatever they are doing and pray where they are.  The different times for prayers are....5 am,  1 pm,  4 pm,  7pm,  and 8pm.

The calling for prayer songs are cast over very large speakers so you can hear them from far away.  We hear them regularly in Mbale at 5am.  I kinda feel bad for those who live really close to the mosques because wow!  every morning at 5 am?  Who needs a rooster when you've got that?
It was interesting when we walked into the mosque (which was very beautiful inside).  I could see a man clear on the other side of the building singing into the loudspeaker.  I was fascinated and wanted to get a closer look.  I got only half way to him when his 'song' was over.  We had a lot of questions about the Muslim faith and Ali was very good to answer them.  


Inside the mosque.  T
This part of the mosque is only used on the Muslim sabbath which is Friday.  The men are on the main floor while the women go up into the balcony.  When I asked why,  Ali told me it is done that way so that the men and women do not get 'tempted' while they are coming to pray.  They want to be able to stay focused on their prayers.

Their Holy book of scripture is called the Qu'Ran.

This tower is where the loudspeakers are calling people to prayer.
We walked to the top!....... all 280 steps!

 A look down to the bottom......

We had a wonderful view of Kampala from the top!  We could walk around 360 degrees and see the whole city from there.  As you can tell it was REALLY windy being up that high!

After the mosque, on recommendation from Elder and Sister Tower, we wanted to go and visit the Clere Resort.  It is supposed to be the nicest hotel in Kampala with beautiful grounds and a wonderful view of Lake Victoria.  Well, our GPS took us to the wrong place so we decided to go with "plan b" and drive towards Entebbe to walk around the Botanical Gardens.  

Well, long story short.  We got into some TERRIBLE traffic and when we finally reached Entebbe we had to get something to eat before going any further.  After grabbing a bite at the Protea we had only an hour before dark to find and experience the Gardens.  We eventually found them and had about a 1/2 hour to walk around.  It was a really nice place with huge trees and driving and walking paths.  We stopped and watched a few vervet monkeys and enjoyed the flowering bushes. (while trying to stay out of the mosquitoes way)  This place would have been much better had we been able to get there earlier in the day.  

Then it was time for the trek home.  Kampala is just 30 KM drive from Entebbe.  Those thirty KM took us TWO HOURS AND FOURTY FIVE MINUTES to get through.  It was sooo long!  So many taxis and Bodas on the road at a standstill.  We crawled pretty much the whole way to Kampala!  We didn't get home until ten o'clock!  In hindsight, looking back on our decisions for the day we should have looked harder for the Clere Resort and stayed closer to home.   

Here we are at the Botanical Gardens.  Woot Woot!!

On our way home from Entebbe we got a call from Sarah Butali, a branch member in Mbale.  She was needing a place to stay so we invited her for the night.  It is quite comical trying to talk to people on the phone.  You would have to see it to understand but we basically have to speak very slowly pronouncing every word very clearly and then usually they just say "I am not getting you!"  So we have to repeat the process over a couple of times using different words.  

Sometimes we try to have them spell words for us so we can understand what they are trying to say.  Do you know that V, B D, E AND P all sound the same when someone is trying to spell something.  Rick will say something like "P as in Paul?" and then the person on the other end of the phone just giggles because he doesn't understand what YOU are saying!  Holy Cow!  
So frustrating and So funny at the same time!

Anyway,  this was our p-day in Kampala.

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