Today we did a 23 kilometer walk down of a route called the seven hills. Kampala is built on seven original hills of Nsambya, Kibuli, Nakasero, Old Kampala, Namirembe, Lubaga and Lubiri. We started our walk at 5 a.m. and we were done by 9:06 a.m. We kept a brisk pace and the weather was lovely. And we thank God that He kept us safe.
The walk was an interesting one for me because it brought back so many memories of my childhood. As we approached Nakasero Primary School – I remembered that I was an Old Girl of the school. I attended my Primary One in that School. And before that, I attended Kampala Kindergarten, which was right next to Nakasero Primary School. I also remember that we used to have Sunday School classes in Nakasero Primary School, while the ‘big people’ (non children) went to All Saints Cathedral. We walked round the lower side of Nakasero Primary School, and we pointed out the route through a valley where we would walk to get from All Saints Church to Nakasero Primary School for Sunday School.
We walked to All Saints Church and past the main hall, which at one time also doubled as the place for Sunday School. I remembered our Sunday School teacher of long ago – Ms Mwambu. She was tall and light skinned and always seemed to have a heavenly glow about her. The one thing I did not like about the church hall in those days, was that there were foul smelling bathrooms right behind the hall, and that smell could knock Jesus out of you as you were trying to concentrate on what the Sunday School teachers were saying.
We walked down Nakasero, onto Kyaggwe Road – a road my siblings and I used often, because in those days, we walked to school. The area at the bottom of Kyaggwe Road has changed very drastically. While walking to school back then, we would walk through the field of a school called Kyaggwe Road Primary School. Now there stands a mall where the school once was. I wonder who gave away the school. I wonder where the school was relocated.
From Kyaggwe Road, we walked up through Old Kampala. As a child, I loved roasted groundnuts like a problem, and my Mom made the best ones in town, so much so that, on the days when we packed roasted groundnuts for snack for school, I would start nibbling at mine as soon as we left home. Often, by the time we got to Old Kampala (near the Sikh Temple), my groundnuts would be over, then I’d start asking my sister Gloria, if she could share hers with me. Sometimes shhe shared with me, and other times she didn’t. We passed near some flats where my cousin, Johnson Bekunda used to live. And we also passed by another set of flats where John Kimbe used to live. As we walked to school, we would call out to John, and then he would come from his flat and walk to school with us. John was a friend of Collin Kakiza and Steven Shalita, who in those days, attended Nakasero Primary School.
Old Kampala Police Station was always a place of trauma for us. In those days, the station was quite run down. As we walked in front of the station, we would often see or hear prisoners being beaten. I will never forget the day we passed by the station, and there was a man who was hanging upside down, his legs tied with ropes and as he dangled like that, he was being beaten. That memory has never left me.
We walked from Old Kampala through Bakuli and up towards Namirembe. I will never forget a gentleman called Garth Hewitt, who came for some mission of sorts, and who sang the song “Oh Namirembe, Oh the Hill of Peace”. It was a great song! We walked by the bottom of the Namirembe Cathedral Hill, near Mengo Primary School which is where I sat my Primary Leaving exams. We then passed near Mengo Hospital, which is where I was born, and where I used to go to see my dentist called Dr. Kenneth Chapman Mwesigwa. Mengo was also the hospital where my dad spent quite a number of months after a bad road accident. He had a broken leg and was in a cast for a long time. But luckily for us, he recovered fully.
We walked through Mengo, and then towards Lubaga Hill. I have only been to Lubaga Cathedral once in my life time, when I had gone to attend a Kampala Singers concert. From Lubaga, we walked to Lubiri and then back through the Clock Tower to Nsambya Hill.
Today was a great walk for me through memory lane. We will hit the road again for our next long walk in two weeks. The long walks help us build the stamina and endurance we shall need for the long treks up the Mountain.
Rwenzori Mountain, here we come!