Horses, you guys !!! horses in plain site, a nicely laid out pool, warm towels for our hands and glasses of lemonade , this was the life, we had arrived !! Without waiting for further instructions ,the tour to the house began: at the book shelf ,to the fire place, to the different sculptures and pictures intentionally placed in almost every visible space, to the rooms oh God the rooms; huge beds, white linen, dope set up, eeeeeh, this place is heaven. Claiming to take it all in at once is a lie, one can not behold such beauty and remain the same. our host meeting us at the dock , led us to the beautiful house that was to be our home for the next week. We took a few pictures with the team as two gentlemen helped carry our luggage up those nicely woven stairs lined with bougainvillea flowers. This Chef ! was about to propose to him but he is taken. who cooks like that? its even illegal to be that good , anyway if there ever be need to ask for cause of death for any of us, good food is a good enough reason!!
Excitement happens to the best of us. Besides visiting the Sucessspark Brand facebook page about 6 times in one night and not being able to stop drawing pictures of what this place would look like, calling to confirm morning transport to the departure point and making sure everything needed for the trip had been packed , referencing with a checklist almost every second, there was no missing out on this writer’s retreat at whatever cost. The night seemed longer than usual, but morning finally came, with light drizzles bouncing off the roof gently causing the smell of dust to bounce off the thirsty ground. oh how the smell of raw soil is lovable ( every African gets this feeling) it does things to the senses, anyway where were we? Yes, after the morning routine, it was time to head out , ready to conquer the writing world. The driver was rather early, he must have had a premonition that there would be hellish traffic…..who sits in traffic jam for two hours to a place that would ordinarily be 20 minutes??? Good God!! Uganda really needs a solution to this traffic nightmare.
The mind wanders a lot in the face of stagnation, it was time to call one of the organizers to let them know the possibility of making it on time was becoming an illusion considering cars had not moved an inch for about 30 minutes. She sounded excited to receive the call over the phone and in a jovial tone said,”its okay, you will be travelling with the rest of the team in the second shift”. Upon arrival at the beach house slightly after 9:00 am,10 minutes after…to be precise, a lady sat at the bar area with earphones plugged into her ears and eyes lost in her phone. she looked up as i approached and after exchanging pleasantries, Fiona mentioned that the rest of the team had gone to the nearby shops to find something to eat. Taking a seat beside her and scanning through the ‘ghost town looking’ beach house in Ggaba, the broken boats at the dock, men moving up and down ferrying Jerrycans with boat fuel and Malibu stalks lingering was a familiar site. The boat delayed by about an hour and thirty, but the group of five newly introduced people were bonding so well,casually laughing about the locally translated movie that was showing on the extremely loud television at the bar, comparing notes on the practice of Yoga and switching seats every now and again in restless anticipation of the trip.
The boat arrived eventually after Crystal called to find out what the delay was about and and we were helped into luminous orange life jackets and onto the boat.The speed boat seemed too small to carry us all with only three visible seats and what seemed like the sailor’s seat, but miracles still happen, we all sat, Fiona and Peter taking the two seats at the back, Crystal sharing the Sailors seat while Zahara, Jan and yours truly took the long bench-like seat at the front, said a silent prayer and off we went . Large water bodies make imagination want to explode with millions of possibilities of what was Going through God’s mind when He created such beauty. The waves were raging against the nicely inflated speed boat, one would think such a boat wouldn’t stand a chance against those waves but even they couldn’t stop us from taking a few selfies.The sky so clear with collected clouds one could use as a canvas and Of course Zahara , the first prize winner of the “confidence in the future photo contest ,capturing every moment with her camera that not only fell for our faces, it couldn’t get its focus off us.
Watching the birds bounce off the water , the peace and calm that comes with looking at water for a long while was slowly overtaking us, Fiona had to dose off as my mind began to wander again , asking questions; why was the lake so dirty? there were Jesa milk empty packs floating, the water hyacinth was everywhere, why would anyone litter in a lake ? what could one do about it ? the movies we watch where people fight on water, how do they do it with all those torrents hitting at them? Startled from the deep thoughts, the boat had stopped! In the middle of nowhere, who does that? Fiona scram, asking if we were out of fuel , if we were going to drown and on and on and on……there was a bit of panic as the sailor replaced what seemed like fuel and explained why the place was named “one minute south” – “this place is one minute south of the equator,” he mentioned calmly. My colleague knowing the discomfort of such abrupt stops had braced the heart for such happenings so the panic was not as bad, we all later laughed about the incident, made a second abrupt stop although this wasn’t as frightening as the first and eventually we were in sight of the Island.
The retreat Kicked off with getting to know each other, telling stories and learning about the essentials of Writing and keeping a journal, character profiling, setting, plot ,dramatic tension, building conflict and soooooo much more. The minds are exploding with so much wisdom and to think that people don’t know about such retreats !!! So much to learn about writing, about life ,about this beautiful nation. The pool at the end of the day was a must visit, looking at it was so inviting, hearing the whispers of the water was so luring a dip was inevitable and the reward , my..oh my! relaxation indescribable. The week seems to be flying but the wisdom from this place is for a lifetime. I cant wait to buy my book! (Wink)