The further you move from Kampala, the less you should believe it when people tell you that your destination is “just a short walk away”. I found this out the hard way on a hot Saturday afternoon, wearing sandals that were too small for my size 10 feet and walking along a road in the middle of Mabira forest.
Across the road was a bus that had been knocked off the road the day before. It was belly up and had slid partway down the slope, so from where we were standing, my friend and I could only see a small part of it. When she suggested that we cross to the other side to take a look, it was all I could do not to scream in frustration. Already we lost in Mabira forest. What did we want to disturb ghosts for? And what if we found entrails and blood all over the place? Then we’d have trauma added to the frustration we were already feeling.
Our destination was Rainforest eco-lodge in Jinja to attend an Afrikan yoga retreat that we had been allowed to attend for free in our capacity as writers. That were lost wasn’t our fault really. We had followed our Yoga instructor’s instructions to the best of our ability and would have arrived on time if we hadn’t taken the advice of a malicious conductor who told us that the lodge was still a long way off when in fact we were leaving its signpost behind at Namawojolo.
Unlike in Kampala where we would have been swarmed by curious bodamen, there were no motorcycles for hire that far into Mabira. Most of the taxis that zoomed past were full to capacity and the people that we could ask for assistance were few and far between. Besides, they kept giving us conflicting advice as to which direction we should take, telling us that the place we wanted to find was just a short distance up ahead only for us to walk for 10 minutes, ask another person and be sent walking back in the direction from whence we came.
We gave up and flagged down a taxi heading to Kampala and it was after a 15 minute drive that we reached the signpost of our destination. In what sick world is a distance that takes a taxi 15 minutes to cover “a short walk”?
Once there, the experience was great. The lodge is really beautiful, especially the large open room made of wood and stone that had been chosen for the yoga marathon. On one side, we could see deep into the forest and on the other, down into a well-stocked bar. By mid afternoon, my muscles were sore from all the shoulder stands and body twists, from bending so low and rolling my spine so much that I was sure that the next person I danced with would propose marriage on the spot.
One beautiful thing about yoga is that it strips away all your anxieties and bad energies, making you feel you truly own the space that you inhabit on the earth. Also, it’s the ripest space for giggling. The names of the positions, the farting anxiety you suffer because of all the exercise your usually docile innards are being exposed to and the breathing sequences that usually would normally leave you blushing. I miss Afrikan yoga. If I hadn’t gotten so used to getting my exercise for free, I’d totally start attending those classes again.