WordCamp Jinja 2023 is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated events for WordPress enthusiasts in Uganda. As part of the support team, my colleagues and I embarked on a journey from Masaka and other parts of Uganda to Iganga a day before the event to ensure all arrangements were in place. Little did I know that this trip would be filled with unexpected adventures and interesting encounters.
My journey began with a four-hour drive from Masaka to Kampala’s old taxi park. However, things took an unexpected turn when our taxi driver dropped us off at Nateete Taxi Park instead. Determined to reach our destination, we asked for another taxi to the old taxi park but were led astray by a devious individual. It was during this time that I met Peace Akol, a final-year student at Kyambogo University, who was also caught in this predicament.
Have you ever experienced a similar situation while traveling? How did you handle it?
As we unwittingly boarded a taxi heading to an unknown destination, it became evident that something was amiss. When we finally questioned the driver about our intended destination, he confirmed we were not headed to the old taxi park. Peace needed to get to Butabika, and her limited funds added to our concerns. Eventually, we managed to find a boda boda to take us from Nateete to the old taxi park.
During our journey, we struck up a conversation, and Peace even shared her contact number with me. However, a stroke of bad luck struck when her number mysteriously disappeared from my phone, leaving me unsure if we would ever reconnect.
Have you ever lost contact with someone you met during your travels? How did it make you feel?
One of the highlights of the trip was passing through Mabira Forest in Mukono, where the lush greenery and serene atmosphere offered a refreshing break from our travel woes. Additionally, catching sight of the Jinja Bridge added a touch of awe to our journey.
What unexpected beauty have you stumbled upon during your travels?
Upon arriving in Iganga, I called my colleague Steven Ddumba, who had already reached his accommodation. We quickly connected and made our way to the places we had booked to stay. It felt like a mini-neighborhood tour as we explored the area.
The accommodation was both comfortable and affordable, and Annet, my host at the motel, extended a warm welcome to us.
What has been your most memorable experience when staying at a new place?
My initial purpose in Iganga was to prepare for WordCamp Jinja. We registered at Iganga Secondary School, the venue for the event, and engaged in discussions about the arrangements. Afterward, we explored the area, discussing our journey and experiences.
As evening fell, we found ourselves without electricity, and our quest for food turned into a challenging adventure.
What preparations do you usually make before attending an event or conference in a new place?
Finding a place to eat in the darkened streets of Iganga proved to be a daunting task. We inquired with locals, market vendors, and even boda boda riders, but no one could direct us to a restaurant. This led to a humorous realization about the locals’ culinary preferences, with questions arising about whether they cook their own food or rely on street-side options like kikomando (chapatti and beans).
What’s the most memorable meal you’ve had while traveling, and where did you find it?
We eventually decided to take a taxi to Iganga town in hopes of finding a restaurant. However, we faced another challenge, as the taxis were overcrowded, and boda bodas were scarce. The delay was explained by the fear among boda boda riders after a recent incident involving a stranger in the area during a power outage.
Have you ever encountered safety concerns during your travels, and how did you handle them?
After a lengthy wait, we finally secured three boda bodas and followed one of the riders to what we hoped would be a good meal spot. To our surprise, we still couldn’t locate a restaurant, and we ended up settling for food from road-side vendors, known as “Toninyira” (Don’t step in my saucepan). While the food might not have been the healthiest option, it satisfied our hunger.
What’s the most unique or unusual food you’ve tried during your travels?
As my journey to Iganga for WordCamp Jinja came to a close, it left me with a treasure trove of unexpected experiences and encounters. From the misadventures of taxi rides to the unexpected beauty of Mabira Forest, this journey was a memorable one that will be forever etched in my travel diary. The camaraderie with my colleagues and the challenges we faced added an element of unpredictability to this adventure, making it a unique and unforgettable trip.
To all those attending WordCamp Jinja 2023: When you reach Kampala’s Old Taxi Park, take a taxi to Iganga. Inform the driver or conductor that you are going to Iganga Secondary School. If you’re driving yourself and are unfamiliar with the area, it’s advisable to use Google Maps for directions. Mother Kevin Centre (Accommodation Centre) is located approximately 150 meters along the road to Iganga SS. Accommodation is available in the vicinity, and you can also order meals. However, for our trip, we chose to explore Iganga on our own.