Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter from Kampala!

Happy Easter from Kampala, Uganda! We came to visit our friends L and E from A-100 (and because we found a great flight deal). Even though it's the rainy season in Uganda now like it is in Kenya, we still found ways to have a good time in the nation's capital for our long Easter weekend (thanks to Kenyan holidays).

We had no idea how huge Lake Victoria was beforehand. Even from the plane, it was all we could see for a long ways.

Our first night, we went to Ndere Cultural Center for a dinner and show. The dinner featured Ugandan food, which had a lot of similarities to Kenyan food with a few things we hadn't seen before, like groundnut sauce, which tasted kind of like a watery nut butter.

The cultural performances included songs, dances, and traditional instruments and ran over three hours. They fit in quite a few segments in that time, including a dance where women balanced many (up to seven!) pots on their heads at once! Not one pot dropped the whole time.

Later in the weekend, we got a chance to explore Kampala some more. We visited Mengo Palace, which belongs to the King of Buganda, the kingdom within Uganda that includes the capital.

The main building wasn't the only point of interest on the palace grounds. The most powerful part of our tour was visiting Idi Amin's torture chambers.

The cells were above the tunnel's ground level, and the base of the tunnel was filled with a layer of electrified water to prevent escape when they were still active. Even though the chambers haven't been used since the 1970s, you could still see the former electrified water line when we visited.

They've preserved the chambers very well, and we could even see the footprints in the chamber where they stacked the bodies of those who had been killed. Our guide told us over 100 prisoners could be kept in one of these cells at a time. It was a morbid experience but one worth remembering (and unfortunately far from unique in world history).

After driving past some beautiful cathedrals and historical churches (one from which we snapped the first photo of this post), we dropped by the Gaddafi National Mosque. As the name implies, the mosque was actually funded by the Libyan government under Muammar Gaddafi's leadership. It's truly an international work of art, though, with Libyan carpets, Egyptian chandeliers, Moroccan woodwork, and Congolese wood.

From the women's prayer section on the upper floor, you could really see the beautiful Arabic calligraphy on the chandeliers.

We visited the Bahá'í Temple in Kampala as well, which had beautiful grounds. We learned quite a few new things about this faith, like the fact that it has no spiritual leadership but treats all members as equals.

We then enjoyed a relaxed Easter Sunday, with church and a bottomless brunch. Especially after the nonstop action of our Australia and New Zealand trips, our chill vacation in Uganda was oh so welcome! We hope your Easter was as nice as ours!

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