Monthly Archives: May 2018

Uganda 2018 – 10th May

Thursday 10th May – Ascension Day 2018

Today is Ascension Day, we have not climbed a mountain but we are living at approximately 1800 metres (around 6000 ft) above sea-level and the two villages we visited today with Bishop Cranmer and Hope are much higher. Hopefully that counts!

In the morning we travelled to Nyakimanga a small highland village right on the border with Rwanda, I guess it is about 2000 metres above sea level. Our parishes in the UK funded a water tank for this village at harvest-time 4 years ago. Jo and I visited in October 2013 to see the village and to see where the tank would be built (it was the dry season). Children were walking long distances to collect water and so were unable to attend school.

I visited again in April 2015, when the tank was under construction. It was the wet season and the scenery was much greener.

In July 2015, Bishop Cranmer sent a photograph of the inauguration ceremony for the new tank.

Today we have been able to see the tank completed and see just how important it is to local people.

Nyakimanga is in the south of the diocese. Our afternoon/evening visit took us to the northwest of the diocese and meant travelling out of the diocese on the main road to Kabale and into Kigezi Diocese, before turning off onto murram road and heading back into Muhabura Diocese. This was another visit to a family in mourning.

The Uganda Railway – Part 2

Although the featured image bears the title ‘Zanzibar’ it is actually a picture of an early wooden trestle bridge on the Uganda Railway at Mombasa. The picture is probably taken in 1899.[1] The card itself is dated 1901. The pictures were taken by Coutinho Bros. Photographers of Zanzibar. The picture of the railway is taken from “the lead in to the wooden trestle bridge built across the creek for the Uganda Railway between Mombasa Island and the mainland in 1896.”[2] This only remained in service for a short time, being replaced by an iron pile bridge, which itself was only in service until the 1920s. Pictures of this iron bridge are shown below. The crossing was called the Macupa (Salisbury) Bridge. The first picture was taken in 1903, the second in 1909 …

More about the History of the network of Metre-Gauge Railways in East Africa

A. Uganda Railway: The Uganda Railway was, first of all, a means of reaching Lake Victoria from Mombasa. Construction of the railway line started, as we have noted in the first post in this series,[3] just before the turn of the 20th Century. The Uganda Railway Company lasted until 1927 when it was reorganised and renamed as the Kenya-Uganda Railways & Harbours Company.

The terminus at Lake Victoria was called Port Florence and was named for the wife of the railway engineer, Ronald Preston. On 20th December 1901, Mrs Florence Preston took a hammer to symbollically drive in the last spike of the last rail immediately on the shore of the Lake.[4]

Within a year the name of the settlement had reverted to that given by the Luo people. The Luo called it ‘Kisumo’ (a good place to look for food). Kisumu was not the first port used by the British on the East coast of Lake Victoria. They first established Port Victoria, but by 1898, British explorers decided that the location of Kisumu was favourable. It was at the cusp of the Winasm Gulf and at the end of caravan trails from Pemba, Mombasa and Malindi and had great potential for access by lake steamers.

Almost from its inception the Uganda Railway developed shipping services on Lake Victoria. In 1898, it launched the 110 ton SS William Mackinnon at Kisumu, having assembled the vessel from a kit supplied by Bow, McLachlan and Company of Paisley in Scotland. A succession of further Bow, McLachlan & Co. kits followed. The 662 ton sister ships SS Winifred and SS Sybil (1902 and 1903), the 1,134 ton SS Clement Hill (1907) and the 1,300 ton sister ships SS Rusinga and SS Usoga (1914 and 1915) were combined passenger and cargo ferries. The 812 ton SS Nyanza (launched after Clement Hill) was purely a cargo ship. The 228 ton SS Kavirondo launched in 1913 was a tugboat. Two more tugboats from Bow, McLachlan were added in 1925: SS Buganda and SS Buvuma.[1],[5],[6]

The amazing story of the delivery and construction of the SS William Mackinnon is covered elsewhere but is worth reading. The ship was dismantled into a series of parts, all but two of which were less than the weight designated for an individual porter. The parts made their way across the interior by porter long before the railway was completed.[7]

Boats, ships and steamers are not the main focus of this post, so let’s get back on track! Here are two images of the railway which I have found on another WordPress blog.[8]. The first shows construction in progress the second shows the railway passing through a small local settlement.

There is an excellent collection of photographs relating to the construction of the Uganda Railway on this link:

Just a few of those images are reproduced here … three examples include the arrival of the line at its first station out of Mombasa, Chamgamwe, just 6 miles out of Mombasa. It was opened on 15th December 1897.

Voi (below) was 100 miles from Mombasa.

Nairobi Station was 326 miles from Mombasa and is shown in old postcard pictures below.

The railway continued through a series of smaller stations to Kisumu. Once the railway reached Kisumu, access to Lake Victoria was transformed, and an 11-kilometre (7 mile) rail line between Port Bell and Kampala was the final link in the chain providing efficient transport between the Ugandan capital and the open sea at Mombasa, more than 1,400 km (900 miles) away.[1]

Branch lines were built to Tikka in 1913, Lake Magadi in 1915, Kitale in 1926, Naro Moro in 1927 and from Tororo to Soroti in 1929. Lake Magadi provided a strong commercial interest as it proved to be an excellent place for harvesting naturally occuring soda.

Lake Magadi is the southernmost lake in the Kenyan Rift Valley, lying in a catchment of faulted volcanic rocks, north of Tanzania’s Lake Natron. During the dry season, it is 80% covered by soda and is well known for its wading birds, including flamingos, it is a saline, alkaline lake, approximately 100 square kilometres in size and an example of a “saline pan”. The lake water, which is a dense sodium carbonate brine, precipitates vast quantities of the mineral trona (sodium sesquicarbonate). In places, the salt is up to 40 metres thick. The lake is recharged mainly by saline hot springs (temperatures up to 86 °C) that discharge into alkaline “lagoons” around the lake margins.[8]
I enjoyed a visit to the soda works at Lake Magadi in 1994, sadly by car and not by train!

The Soda Works

A soda train on the Magadi branch in Kenya refers to the Uganda Railway as ‘The Lunatic Express’, as do a number of different sources.[1],[9] It was first given a similar moniker as early as the late 19th Century. The Uganda Railway faced a great deal of criticism in the British Parliament, as many MPs felt that the railway was a Lunatic Line:

What is the use of it, none can conjecture,
What it will carry, there is none can define,
And in spite of George Curzon’s superior lecture,
It is clearly naught but a lunatic line.
— Henry Labouchère, MP, [1],[10]

“Political resistance to this “gigantic folly”, as Henry Labouchère called it,[1],[11] surfaced immediately. Such arguments along with the claim that it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money were easily dismissed by the Conservatives. Years before, Joseph Chamberlain had proclaimed that, if Britain were to step away from its “manifest destiny”, it would by default leave it to other nations to take up the work that it would have been seen as “too weak, too poor, and too cowardly” to have done itself.[1],[12] Its cost has been estimated by one source at £3 million in 1894 money, which is more than £170 million in 2005 money,[1],[13] and £5.5 million or £650 million in 2016 money by another source.”[1],[14]

“Because of the wooden trestle bridges, enormous chasms, prohibitive cost, hostile tribes, men infected by the hundreds by diseases, and man-eating lions pulling railway workers out of carriages at night, the name “Lunatic Line” certainly seemed to fit. Winston Churchill, who regarded it “a brilliant conception”, said of the project: “The British art of ‘muddling through’ is here seen in one of its finest expositions. Through everything—through the forests, through the ravines, through troops of marauding lions, through famine, through war, through five years of excoriating Parliamentary debate, muddled and marched the railway.””[1],[15]

The modern term Lunatic Express was coined by Charles Miller in his 1971 “The Lunatic Express: An Entertainment in Imperialism.” [9]

B. Kenya-Uganda Railways and Harbours: In 1927 the Uganda Railway was transformed into Kenya-Uganda Railways & Harbours by the British colonial administration. The railway system in Kenya & Uganda operated in this guise until 1948. during this time the railway system was further expanded. In 1931, a branch line was completed to Mount Kenya and a significant extension to the mainline was made from Nakuru to Kampala in Uganda. This line made the route to Kisumu less significant. Nakuru Station had significant marshalling yards. The first image is an early picture of the station and its sidings. The second picture shows the station building built in the mid-1950s. This new station was opened on 14th June 1957 by the then Governor of Kenya Sir Eveleyn Baring. As can be seen it was of an architectural style redolent of buildings in the UK in the 1950s.



C. East African Railways and Harbours – 1948 to 1966: in 1948, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania came under the same British Colonial Administration. Following the terms of the Versailles Treaty in 1919 Germany lost all her colonies worldwide. The colonies became the mandate territories of the League of Nations (currently United Nations). Victorious nations surrounding the mandate territories were allowed to administer them on behalf of the League of Nations. The railways of the three colonies/ protectorates were amalgamated.

D. East African Railways Corporation – 1966 to 1978: following independence, the three East African Presidents Jomo Kenyatta, Julius Nyerere and Milton Obote met in Arusha and came up with the Arusha declaration in 1966. In the declaration, it was resolved that efficiency in parastatals needed to be improved. One of the parastatals identified for reform was East African Railways & Harbours. It was decided in this meeting that harbours be divorced from the railways administration. This was done purely for the purpose of efficiency. In 1969, the name changed to East African Railways Corporation.

E. Kenya Railways Corporation, Uganda Railways Corporation and Tanzania Railways Corporation – 1978-2006: by the late 1970s, the distrust between the three East African leaders, Nyerere, Kenyatta and Idi Amin had reached fever pitch. This was partly due to the different political ideologies that the three leaders practiced. Additionally, Nyerere and Amin believed that Kenya was benefiting more from the East African Community than Tanzania and Uganda. Personal differences between the three leaders culminated in the break-up of the East African Community in 1977. The break up led to the birth of Kenya Railways, Uganda Railways & Tanzania Railways as separate entities.

F. Rift Valley Railways – 2006 to 2017: Rift Valley Railways (RVR) took over the operations of the Kenya and Uganda Railways on 1st November, 2006. RVR was established on October 14, 2005, when the Government of Kenya and the Government of Uganda jointly tendered through a bidding process, a 25 year concession for the rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of the railways then run by Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) and Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) respectively. The concession was terminated in October 2017.[16]

G. Uganda Railways Corporation – 2017 to …….: The railways of Uganda and Kenya are now back under government control. Kenya is already developing a standard gauge railway system and it is very possible that with Chinese investment , a standard gauge system will extend across Uganda  and Tanzania into Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There may be more about this in a future post.

The existing lines within Uganda are in the hands of a renewed Uganda Railways Corporation. The transfer finally occurred in February 2018.[18] Commuter services in Kampala are due to resume in 2018, now that the railway is back in Ugandan hands.


1. Wikipedia, Uganda Railway;, accessed on 6th May 2018.

2. Old East Africa Postcards;, accessed 7th May 2018.


4.; A Hundred Years Down the Drain;, accessed 9th May 2018.

5. Stuart Cameron, David Asprey & Bruce Allan; SS Buganda. Clyde-built Database, accessed on 22nd May 2011.

6. Stuart Cameron, David Asprey & Bruce Allan; SS Buvuma. Clyde-built Database, accessed on 22nd May 2011.

7. Ian H. Grant; Nyansa Watering Place, the Remarkable Story of the SS. William MacKinnon; The British Empire;, accessed on 9th May 2018.

8. Wikipedia, Lake Magadi;, accessed on 9th May 2018.

9., The Lunatic Express;,accessed on 9th May 2018; & Charles Miller, The Lunatic Express – An Entertainment in Imperialism; The History Book Club, 1971.

10. Peter Muiruri, End of road for first railway that defined Kenya’s history; The Standard;, accessed on 9th May 2018.

11. Henry Labouchère. “UGANDA RAILWAY [CONSOLIDATED FUND]. HC Deb 30 April 1900 vol 82 cc288-335”. Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 10 March 2012. I am opposed entirely to this sort of railway in Africa, and I have been opposed to this railroad from the very commencement because it is a gigantic folly. . . . This railroad has been, from the very first commencement, a gigantic folly.

12. Joseph Chamberlain. “CIVIL SERVICES AND REVENUE DEPARTMENTS ESTIMATES, 1894–5: CLASS V. HC Deb 01 June 1894 vol 25 cc181-270”. Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament, accessed on 10th March 2012.

13. Currency converter; The National Archives, accessed on 10th March 2012.

14. Daniel Knowles; The lunatic express. 1843; The Economist, 23rd June 2016, accessed on 15th July 2016.

15. Winston Spencer Churchill,; My African Journey; William Briggs, Toronto, 1909, p4-5.

16. Uganda, Kenya, failed railway deal, (Rift Valley Railways); The Monitor;–Kenya-failed-railway-deal—RVR-chief/688606-4140902-15aa6p0/index.html, accessed on 10th May 2018.

17. Isaac Khisa; The Independent (Kampala), Uganda Railways is back!, accessed on 10th May 2018.

18. Amos Ngwomwoya“Passenger train services to resume on Monday”Daily Monitor. Kampala, 23rd February 2018, accessed on 10th May 2018 & Alfred Ochwo, and Mercy Ahukana (27 February 2018). “Kampalans welcome revamped passenger train services”The Observer (Uganda), Kampala, 27th February 2018, accessed on 10th May 2018.

Uganda 2018 – 8th May

Tuesday 8th May 2018

Just over a week left in Uganda and today we travelled from Rukungiri to Kisoro. A full journey on tarmac is an unusual experience! A journey that used to take perhaps 6 hours on murram roads took around 3 hours today.

We set off from Rukungiri at about 8.00am, a little late because of a flat tyre, and were in Kisoro soon after 11.00am. Even on tarmac the journey can be quite draining. English people complain about road humps, but our have nothing on Ugandan ones!

Fierce rumble strips which have the vehicle bouncing around

precede a road hump which can be as much as 500mm (18 inches) high! And although painted when first installed, they become much less visible with age.

We travelled via Ntungamo (

and Kabale

before joining the newest tarmac on the route, the mountain road between Kabale and Kisoro. The road was completed about 2015 and climbs out of Kabale before dropping back down to the end of Lake Bunyonyi and then rising again to pass through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and then dropping down again to Kisoro which is at a height of over 5,000ft. Pictures of the new road are below. …..

En route, we stopped for a short while at the head of Lake Bunyonyi.

The water from the head of Lake Bunyonyi sets off on its journey toward Lake Edward and eventually into the Nile!

The pictures below are © Helen Suk and show Lake Bunyonyi from above.

After the mountain road, Mt. Muhabura and Kisoro were a welcome sight!

Once we arrived at Muhabura View Guest House we spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying the views in Kisoro.

Uganda 2018 – 9th May

Wednesday 9th May 2018

We took a walk round Kisoro today. On the journey we took pictures of one of the water tanks that our Parishes funded through harvest giving a few years ago.

One of the other projects which the Good Shepherd in Ashton has supported in the past is Potters Village.

We then dropped in at ‘The Coffee Pot Cafe’ for coffee and cake –

In the afternoon we went with Bishop Cranmer on pastoral visit in Gisororo, a village about 7 kilometres from Kisoro on the Kabale road.

As you will see in tomorrow’s post we will then be visiting the other water tank that was funded by harvest-giving.

The Uganda Railway – Part 1

From late April to mid May 2018 my wife and I were in Uganda. This was my 6th visit to the country. On the first, in 1994, I travelled to Kampala from Mombasa on the railway. It was a fantastic journey in a slow moving train with silver service in the dining car and with beds made up for us by staff each night. There were two separate trains, a njght train from Mkmbasa to Nairobi run by the then Kenya Railways and a train from Nairobi to Kampala run by Uganda Railways.

The track is metre-gauge.

This short series of posts tells the story of the line to date and looks forward into the future. In recent times the railway system in Uganda has had a chequered history and had been relatively badly managed, as you will see. The present network is in a delapidated state. The network is shown in the image below.

The country has about 1,350 kms of railway lines and most of it has not been operational for over 25 years. Repairs had been completed on the Tororo-Gulu line and were still ongoing on the Gulu-Pakwach Line in early 2014.[1] The railway originating at Mombasa on the Indian Ocean connects to Tororo in Uganda, where it branches westward to Jinja, Kampala, and Kasese and northward to Mbale, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, and Pakwach (to the south-east of Arua and on the northern edge of the Murchison Falls National Park – the Pakwach Bridge crosses the White Nile close to the town).

There was no chance, in our recent visit, for me to check out the railway system. After a very short stay in Kampala we spent the rest of our time in the south-west of the country in Kyegegwa, Rukungiri and Kisoro.

Back in 1994, I was taking slides and being very careful not to exhaust my supply of film. How much things have changed! I do have four pictures, taken at Mombasa railway station, of coaches from the early to mid 20th Century which were stored among slightly more modern stock, at least three seemed still to be in use. …..

The last photo above is courtesy of Jennifer Wu (, those below are some early postcards of the station in Mombasa.

The Early History of the Line

The Uganda Railway was built during what became known as the Scramble for Africa, (the struggle between European powers for dominance in Africa). It provided a strategic link between the coast at Mombasa and the Great Lakes region. In doing so, it effectively secured British domination of the region.[2],[3]

The Uganda Railway was named for its ultimate destination. Its original length of 660 miles (or 1056 kilometres) lay entirely in what we now call Kenya.

Work on the railway began at the port of Mombasa, in what was then called British East Africa, in 1896. The intended terminus at Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria was reached in 1901.[2],[4]

Construction was carried out principally by labourers from the Indian subcontinent, 32,000 of whom were brought in because of a lack of local labour in very sparcely populated areas of East Africa. The horrendous truth is that the line was built on the lives of those labourers. 2,498 workers died during the construction of the railway.[2],[5] An artists impression of the work is shown in the image below (courtesy of Charan Kundi).

Many of the labourers returned to India but 6,724 decided to remain after the line’s completion, creating a community of Indian East Africans.

The railway is, almost in its entirety, single-track. A massive logistical exercise was put in place to import from India a very significant amount of steelwork – rails; fishplates and bolts; keys; and girders. Over 1.2 million sleepers were also required. To secure the necessary throughput of materials, Kilindini Harbour ws created in Mombasa. “The railway was a huge logistical achievement and became strategically and economically vital for both Uganda and Kenya. It helped to suppress slavery, by removing the need for humans in the transport of goods.” [2],[6]

The railway line had a significant impact. It effectively created Uganda and Kenya as the countries that they became. As we have already noted, the railway defeated the slave trade in British East Africa. It allowed heavy equipment to be transported with relative ease.

The use of indian sub-continent labour resulted in a very significant minority of Asians in East Africa. These Indians worked as “dukawallas” (shopkeepers), artisans, traders, clerks, and, finally, lower-level administrators. Excluded from the middle and senior ranks of the colonial government and from farming, they became a commercial middleman and professional community.[7] The British administration encouraged European settlement and farms were set up for coffee and tea production with the railway available to ensure easy shipping to Europe for processing. As the numbers of settlers and farms increased native populations became alienated from their land and seeds were sown for the later struggle for independence. At the same time, inceeases in white settlement made demands on the railway. New small stations were required to allow transportation of agricultural produce. These stations included: Nakuru, Naivasha, Tigoni, Kijabe and Sigona.

In addition, the railway contributed to increased urbanisation. Many of today’s towns in Kenya, and some in Uganda, have reulted from the presence of the railway. Mombasa urbanisation can be traced to the start of the construction of the line. Nairobi was a rail depot placed in the middle of a swamp, and is now the capital of Kenya. Other towns for which this is true are … Kikuyu, Naivasha, Nakuru (where the main line splits, one branch going to Kisumu and the other to Uganda), Nanyuki, Eldoret (originally called “64″ its distance, in miles, from the railhead at the time), Kitale (a small farming community in the foothills of Mount Elgon), Kisumu (then called port Florence, a city and port on Lake Victoria allowing ferry transport between Kenya, Tanganyika (modern Tanzania) and Uganda), Port Bell (a rail-linked port, near to Kampala, on Lake Victoria allowing ferry transport between Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda), and Jinja.

Tourism also began to develop. “The railway provided a ‘modern’ means of transport from the East African coast to the higher plateaus of the interior. US president Theodore Roosevelt is one of the notable people who had safari adventures aboard a train in the early days of the use of the Kenya-Uganda railway.”[7]

The railway also opened up the interior to systematic government programmes to attack slavery, witchcraft, disease and famine. [7]

We have already heard that close to 2,500 of the 32,000 workers on the line died during its construction. There are two particular causes worthy of significant note.

The first concerns the death of a number of conctruction workers in 1898 during the building of a bridge across the Tsavo River. Hunting mainly at night, a pair of maneless male lions stalked and killed at least 28 Indian and African workers – although some accounts put the number of victims as high as 135.[2],[8] The picture above shows one of the two lions and Lieutenant-Colonel John H Petterson who killed it.

The second concerns resistance from locals. Building the railway met local resistance on various occasions. A major incident was the Kedong Massacre, when the Maasai attacked a railway worker’s caravan killing around 500 people because two Maasai girls had been raped. An Englishman unconnected to the railway, Andrew Dick, led a counter-attack against them, but ran out of ammunition and was speared to death by the Maasai.[2],[9] At the turn of the 20th century, the railway construction was disturbed by the resistance of the Nandi people led by Koitalel Arap Samoei. He was killed in 1905 by Richard Meinertzhagen, finally ending the Nandi resistance.[2],[9]

Some of the socio-economic background to the construction of the Uganda Railway will be considered in later articles in this series.


1. Lucy Styles, Uganda Railway Assessment, January 2014 (updated to June 2015);, accessedon 8th May 2018.

2. Wikipedia, Uganda Railway;, accessed on 6th May 2018.

3. Richard T. Ogonda & George M. Onyango; Development of Transport and Communication. In William Robert Ochieng’; Historical Studies and Social Change in Western Kenya. Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers, 2002. p219–231.

4. Richard T. Ogonda; Transport and Communications in the Colonial Economy. In William Robert Ochieng’ & R. M. Maxon; An Economic History of Kenya. Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers, 1992. p129–146.

5. Christian Wolmar; Blood, Iron & Gold: How the Railways Transformed the World. London: Atlantic Books, 2009.

6. Frank Richardson Cana; British East Africa. In Hugh Chisholm. Encyclopædia Britannica. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press, 1911. p601–606.

7. The Enzi Museum, Construction of the Kenya-Uganda Railway;, accessed on 8th May 2018.

8. Man eating lions – not (as) many dead; Railway Gazette International. 27 November 2009., accessed on 8th May 2018.

9. David Kaiza; End of Lunatic Express; The East African. 21 September 2009., accessed on 8th May 2018.

Uganda 2018 – 7th May

Monday 7th May 2018

A little shopping in the morning was followed by a trip to an apple farm, or more precisely an apple tree nursery, where we were asked to give a short talk to trainees about how apples are farmed in the UK! Not exactly in line with our expertise but …….

In the afternoon, Stephen and Roger travelled to John and Alice’s home village, Katwekamwe, a few miles outside Rukungiri.

Katwekamwe Church

Views from the hill behind the church at Katwekamwe are below.

Jo’s strongest memory of Katwekamwe was that this was the place where she first experienced an auction after the morning service. Many gifts from local people were made in kind and then at the end of the service they were auctioned off to add to the value of the Sunday collection! The next couple of pictures come from that auction in 2001! At the time, the church had no window glass and no floor. The auction raised some money towards the cost of a floor.

We finished the day with a roast leg of lamb for our evening meal.😊😊

Uganda 2018 – 6th May

Sunday 6th May 2018

Stephen and his daughter Martha.

A friend holds Stephen and Brenda’s first child, Ethan

We attended All Saints’ Church in Rukungiri this morning. Jo preached at the English speaking service at 9.00am, which included a baptism.

Roger was the second of two preachers at the vernacular service at 10.30am. Alice had the unenviable job of translating for a very excitable preacher!

We finished the morning services at about 1.30 pm. A long day’s work! ………

We spent much of the rest of the day relaxing, apart from a short walk to see Gables Vocational Training Centre, another of John and Alice’s projects and one which Ashton-under-Lyne churches supported by contributing to the cost of a borehole and hand pump.

Uganda 2018 – 5th May

Saturday 5th May 2018

After a long day travelling yesterday, we took our time getting up today.

We then had a bit of time around Rukungiri.

Coffee beans being dried in the sun close to Rukungiri Modern Primary School.

The view from our bedroom window.

Rukungiri – A: Rondavels Hotel; B: Gables Technical School; C: All Saints Church; D: Rukungiri Modern Primary School; E: Rukungiri Modern Nursery School; F: the house Roger stayed in in 1997.

And we were able to visit the two parts of Rukungiri Modern School, the Nursery and the Primary Schools. It is school holidays at present, so any pictures of children in school unform in this post are from earlier visits or photos taken by others.

Sheep grazing on the playing field at the Nursery School.

Rukungiri Modern Nursery School above, Rukungiri Modern Primary School below.

Banner from Manchester in 2013.

School Kitchens!

School toilets!

We also visited the home that I, Roger, stayed in with John and Alice in 1997, which is now used by a carpenter.

A plan to travel to Katwekamwe, John and Alice’s home village was postponed because of rain.

Uganda 2018 – 4th May

Friday 4th May 2018

We left the farmland at lunchtime. In the morning John took us on a drive along one of the boundaries of the land that has been purchased. While we were out I asked him about how the project was set up. The pictures below are taken from different points on the boundary of their land and are taken on the zoom setting on my phone camera. The farm buildings are close to the horizon in each picture. They sit in the middle of the land …..

The land that has been purchased is of a very significant size and, as well as providing a good food supply for the primary and technical schools in Rukungiri, it is intended that an agricultural field school will be set up at Kijongobya (in Kyegegwa District) which will work alongside Gables Technical School in Rukungiri and broaden the possible courses of study for those young people who do not go on to higher education.

All of John and Alice’s projects have been set up with trustees and are managed by that group of trustees. They also have a charity in the UK which is run independently by people in the UK …… Rukungiri Orphan Partnership. ( and on Facebook.)

The vision is clearly John and Alice’s, and John is now 67 years old. It is difficult to imagine him retiring but it will happen one day. Between them they have set up teams of competent people in each of their projects who now run those projects without a great deal of interference from John and Alice. John and Alice are working with a group of younger people at the farmland at the moment training them to take on particular management roles. It is too early as yet to appoint an overall manager of the framland project but ultimately that will be the plan …….

They have also set up a school in Kijongobya working on the same principles as Rukungiri Modern. We have already shared some details about Kijongobya Modern Primary School in an earlier post.

One of the boreholes we have helped to fund will supply both the school and the village with water. The next phase of that project is to purchase a submersible pump and generator and to build a pumphouse for the generator and to protect the borehole. You have seen pictures of the water tanks (in an earlier post) which are ready and waiting for the pump.

We were planning to bring a group from Ashton Deanery to Uganda in 2017 but people found the likely cost prohibitive. We planned a two night stay at the farmland as things were a little more basic year or so ago. But we thought that a couple pictures of our room at the farmland might give a good impression of what it might be like to stay there. If you were ever to think about doing so!😇

We also thought that a couple of maps might help place where we have been for the past few days ……

On this first map, Kampala can be seen on the extreme right and the village of Kijongobya is marked by the blue ‘flag’ it is about 25km south of the Fort Portal road at Kyegegwa. The grey/black line to the left of the picture is the international boundary with the DRC (the Democratic Republic of Congo).

This larger scale map shows the Katonga Game Reserve, ths Katonga River and Kigongobya District (still marked by the blue ‘flag) in a little greater detail.

This last map shows Rukungiri in the centre (red ‘flag’). Mitoma which is marked onnthe first map above can be seen to the north-east of Rukungiri, Lake Edward to the north-west, the international boundary is visible on the left of the map. The towns of Kabale and Kisoro appear to the south along with Lake Mutanda and Lake Bunyoni. The international boundary south of Kisoro is the border with Rwanda.

And some pictures of people ……..

Us with John and Alice

Jo with Specioza, Stella

Leon and Elius

Elius and Roger

We travelled via Mbarara to Rukungiri, arriving at about 8.00pm.

We had a quick meal and then retired to our room where we had our first showers in a week. That sounds worse than it is. At the farmland, we were provided with buckets and jerry-cans of hot water to wash in, and in a while the bathrooms will be equipped with showers. Water pressure will be low, as a high level water tank has still to be installed at the farmland, and there will need to be more than solar power or wood fires to heat water!

The night time temperatures in Rukungiri are lower which means getting to sleep is a little easier. Although I’d (Roger) have to say that I am sleeping better here than in Ashton!😴

Uganda 2018 – 3rd May

Thursday 3rd May

Pedigree long-horns

A goat being sold!

Alice bringing wood for bean poles.

Matoke being prepared!

The local milk carrier’s motorbike.

In the picture above the cattle are pedigree long-horns. Many Ankole long-horn cattle will have brown or grey horns and are not pure-bred. John hopes to improve yields of milk by cross-breeding high-quality Ankole cattle with Fresians and Holsteins. He also wants to maintain a pedigree herd which will mean that the planned agricultural field centre on the site will be a centre of excellence for the breed. Their horns are amazing, almost completely white and much larger than the less pure-bred examples elsewhere.

After a bit of a lie-in we went to Mpara Market via the petrol station and the mill. At the mill, we paid for the grinding of three large bags of flour to make Posho – 75,000 Ugsh or £15

At the market we were shadowed by someone the whole time who was looking for an opportunity to commit mischief, we were also of interest to quite a few people who had not seen white people before!

The track from the farm to the road.

Long-horn cattle about to set off from the market!

The livestock route from the sales-pens to the lorries.

In the evening, Vicar and Lay Reader came round to say farewell. We showed them pictures of Ashton-under-Lyne and Droylsden. In the early evening we took a few pictures around the farm. …………….

Peeling beans!