Friday, October 26, 2007

Lake Bunyoni

On my last weekend, I went to Lake Bunyoni. Dr. Mugyenyi was nice enough to drive me as a day trip. His wife and his sister came too, and it was a nice day.

We planned to leave at 8 am. Which became 9am. So we left at 12pm.

On the way there, we stopped in an agricultural town where swarms of people came running up to the car bearing big bunches of onions. Occasionally someone had cauliflower or garlic, but it was a serious Onion Town. On the way back, we stopped in Carrot town – swarms of people ran to the car bearing trays of large, fresh, Bugs-Bunny-type carrots. The price was an entire tray (maybe 20 or 30 huge carrots) for 1500 Shillings – about 80 cents.

Lake Bunyoni was truly stunning. Supposedly, it is a very hilly/mountainous area that had a large river near it. Then a rock collapse or something created a natural dam in the river, and all the water flowed into this large valley and became Lake Bunyoni. That’s what Dr. Mugyenyi told me, anyway.

The Lake is quite large (and reputedly very deep), and winds around various islands. We stopped at a camping area, walked around the grounds and had lunch (chicken & chips). Then we hired a boat to take us around the lake. It had a motor, but we had fun pretending to row.

No one but me knew how to swim, so there was a lot of drama surrounding the life jackets before we took off. Dr. Mugyenyi just kept his close by, but his wife & sister wore them throughout the ride.

One of the very small islands is called Punishment Island. It was where unmarried pregnant women were taken as punishment for getting pregnant. It was a tiny, barren island with only one tree, and it was expected that the women would die of starvation. When they did die, it was usually drowning from trying to swim away. Dr. Mugyenyi told me that young men who were poor and couldn’t afford a dowry would wait until a girl was dropped off on Punishment Island, then would swing by in a boat, “rescue” her and take her as his free bride.

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