• Another level of reality

    On one of my recent rest-filled afternoons, I was reminiscently absorbed in my mind visions. These were visions of my high school teacher of geography, on the chalk board, describing the alps in Switzerland. She vigorously asserted that an “Alp” referred to a high mountain pasture, often with a structure where cows are taken for grazing. More still, she confidently described the alps as a crescent shaped geographic feature of central Europe that ranges in an 800 km arc from east to west and is 200 km in width. The range stretches from the Mediterranean Sea north above the Po river basin, extending through France from Grenoble, eastward through mid and southern Switzerland. The range continues toward Vienna in Austria. The countries with the greatest alpine territory are Switzerland, France, Austria and Italy. She did not leave out the fact that the alps were rolling with all sorts of peaks, valleys, gorges, snow caps and all kind of rough terrain you can ever imagine.

    During that afternoon, entombed in nostalgia, I was able to forge another level of reality out of the descriptions. I concluded that there is a need to refer to the Kigezi highlands as the alps as well. This was because the vision of what the lady was describing had a 90 % perfect match to the Kigezi highlands where I come from. With due respect to the climate and extent of the alps’ ranges, they undoubtedly have the potential to be Kigezi highlands. On top of my visit to Kigezi, this is how I came up with the idea of revealing the lost alps of the universe to the world.

    KIGEZI imbues Uganda with a sense of Switzerland

    A seven-hour drive to western Uganda, on a public means bus, is rather imbued with a grandeur of awe conjoined to high level risk in the highlands. From the start of a district called Mbarara, the scenery is characterized by a range of high rise hills. The ranges grow into fiercer scenery as one goes more and more to the west. The highway track finds its way through the valleys of the hills and dangerously in the hill tops. Arrival in another district of Ntungamo is met with even a more aggressive scenery. The hills are as curvy as those my high school teacher of geography was describing during the lesson on alps and closer to the road than in Mbarara. At a place called Kabalagga, in the district of Kabale, the range of hills take on a form that non ordinary human being can decipher. The roads wind in such a way that it is as if one is returning to where they came from. Such kind of nature’s intriguing behavior is typical of the alps’ ranges.

    After traversing Kabalagga with ones’ heart on tenterhooks, one arrives in Kabale town. A few kilometers from the town, towards the Katuna border of Uganda with Rwanda, we find a U-shaped corner in a town called kicumbi. Turning this corner requires a fearless driver because as you head to Rwanda, the corner is preceded by a steep slope. This implies ones’ vehicle has to have a braking system that is ready to tackle a multi-pronged obstacle in nature. That is to say, the vehicle should be ready to withstand the gravity pull of the steep slope and thereafter withstand the high centripetal force in the U-shaped corner. I had only seen such incidences in Hollywood movies not until I took the initiative to tour my ancestral district in Kabale. This awe-filled visit aroused the desire in me to reveal to the world what I believed to be the lost alps of the universe, located in Uganda, Africa