So, every trip has to have a lowlight. I think it is a rule. Our safari low-light was our “nature walk” in Bwindi National Park. We spent the day driving from Queen Elizabeth to Bwindi on bumpy mountainous roads. After we settled into our cute little lodge we were antsy to do something. The lodge said that they could take us on a nature walk.
We like nature!
We like walks!
We thought it was perfect.
Except we soon discovered that this walk was less nature-y than we were led to believe.
The guide from the lodge took us on a tour of a local village of Ugandans who had been displaced from their homes when Bwindi became a national forest.
In theory this still could have been an interesting walk – I love learning about cultures and how others live. The lowlight part of it is that it felt very much like the people were on display. I didn’t like that at all. I don’t want to be the mzungu tourist who peers into the lives of people for amusement. And I’d hope that most people don’t want to play that role. We hoped that this uncomfortable feeling was primarily due to some “lost in translation” moments between the guide and us. He made some jokes that we didn’t find funny at all, and we mostly thought, “how did we end up in this awkward situation and how soon can we get back to our lodge?” We were expected to purchase some handmade goods, but I brought no shillings with me, because I had no idea what we were going to end up doing this afternoon. And our guide kept on telling me to take pictures. So to try and stop the level of awkwardness from increasing more, I did as I was told.
That being said, the guide did first stop off at this own house and introduce us to his family. He showed us several of his village’s water sources, which was cool, and I snapped some pics to show the kindergartners when we have our freshwater unit and we learn that the availability of freshwater is dependent on where you live.
I like learning about the way others live, and so I appreciated that aspect of the afternoon. The rest of the stories of our walk I am not including in this post, because I don’t want to relive the uncomfortableness anymore. I want to learn, see, and experience in a way that is honoring and respectful to others.