Sunday, July 3, 2011

Spring Hike

Inspecting spring construction in Mbale brought a new experience for us. Look up at Mt. Elgon and just below the horn is where we were headed for an inspection, not down in a gully but up on the mountain..
You wind your way up the mountainside through trade centers on dirt roads -
There it is, that's the trail up the mountain to the spring. May not look like it from here but it is straight up. High humidity causes the trail to be muddy and slick.
Starts out pretty good with the trail leveling off for a ways but before long the grade gets much more steep.
On the way up we meet a young man fetching water.
He has made a nice wheelbarrow type carrier for his Jeri can out of limbs bound with reeds to hold it together.
Pretty ingenious and it works. Seems better than carrying it on your head.
On top a natural spring was flowing but you could only get the water by dipping your Jeri can into the little puddle stream it formed. Of course the water is contaminated once it sits in the puddle. The protected spring was under construction and not yet finished. It will service all those living on the side of the mountain.
Once on top the view is incredible allowing you to see clear to the next country.
While hiking up we walked through many gardens where people were working.
And families doing their wash. No washing station for this spring as there was no room to put it on the steep mountain side by the spring.
On top we found a man who was collecting herbs and bark for natural medicine.
Ssimbwa bought some bark to steep and make a tea to treat asthma.
Most of the housing here are made of sticks and mud walls with thatched roofs.
Latrines were pretty spartan with just a hole in the ground with a frame woven out of branches and then covered with banana leaves.
When we got back to the truck we purchased two bunches of matoke bananas (we don't cook matoke but that infamous shopper we travel with, who fills up our truck with all kinds of things, he eats matoke every day), a box of tomatoes and a bag of carrots. We had won as all this produce had been picked that morning and the farmers won because they didn't have to take their produce to market to sell.
We didn't by the sorghum that was drying in the dirt. That was being dried to make the local brew.

A beautiful hike, reminiscent of a hike we took several months ago when we were passing through Mbale. Ahhhhh but that is another entry for our Uganda adventure.

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