Mountain Slayers Uganda: 7hills

22_compressed
Suzan, Latim and Diana catching up as we walked through Kololo

Last weekend on Sunday, I , plus a group of 30 people, embarked on the longest walk I’ve ever made by far. We covered a distance of about 23KMS in approximately 6 hours. I was able to do this in the company of the Mountain Slayers Uganda who organized the walk.

33_compressed
Some of the slayers making the last stretch to the Lubiri. Palace of the Kabaka (King) of Buganda.

I was introduced to this group by a Brian, a friend who is already part of the group. Mountain Slayers Uganda are a group of people who are passionate about traveling, mountain climbing and hiking. The group was started in 2015 after Paul Lumala, one of the founders, had an amazing experience climbing mountain Rwenzori. The group has been to a number of places in and out of Uganda some of which include mountain Mt. Muhavura, Sempeya Hotsprings, Mt.Rwenzori.

27_compressed
The squad making the ascension to the Namirembe hill

I had always wanted to join them on one of the trips they had planned this year but my schedule and finances had never allowed until the 7 hills chapter which was happening in town, a one day event and practically free. I had to go! Plus, it had been long since I was out shooting so it was crucial for me to get out there and shoot.

 

25_compressed
Liz nursing her leg which had just recovered from a muscle pull. It slowed her down but she did all 23KMS.

Arrival time at Lugogo was 6.30am and we began the walk at 7am. We covered these 7 hills; Nsambya, Kibuli, Rubaga, Mengo, Namirembe, Old Kampala and Kasubi hill. It was a tough one! The weather was great at first but we got roasted by the blazing heat in the afternoon. The dust, the dehydration, the salt sweating, and the traffic congestion made the walk less enjoyable but made the feeling of accomplishment all the more worthwhile at the end. We made it to the last stop of the walk which was at the Kasubi hill. After resting for a few minutes we jumped into matatus and returned to Lugogo for a scrumptious lunch at Torino.

57_compressed
Solomon stretching it out at the Namirembe hill before we set off again
39_compressed
Sangoma making a call to the lead team to find out their exact location.

Omweso: A Ugandan board game

dsc_0631-copy_compressed.jpg.jpeg
Omweso board game

The Omweso board is usually carved out of wood; according to Mukwaya, the preferred hard woods came from the Omukebu (Cordial Africana) and Omugavu (Albizia Coriaria) for durability.

“The board game is probably one of the oldest in Uganda. Many ethnic groups appear to have played it for centuries, yet its origin is still obscure, although some people have suggested theories which have not yet been satisfactorily substantiated…,” says Michael B. Nsimbi in his book, Omweso, A Game People Play in Uganda.

However, the scarcity of these trees has forced the carvers to use whatever is available.

One square or hole of Omweso is called essa (plural amasa).Brown seeds called empiki from the Omuyiki tree (Mesoneurum welwitschianum) are used as pellets (counters or men).

dsc_0639-copy_compressed.jpg.jpeg
Omweso board game

The Omuyiki tree takes 20-40 years to mature and its fruits are used to make a foamy concoction used as soap.

Each player in a game has 32 pellets. At the start of a game each player distributes his empiki four to a square in his first row.

The center horizontal line of the board divides it so that each player has two rows each of eight squares.

The object of the game is to capture all the opponent’s pellets or so to reduce them so that he cannot make a move.

The players sit or squat facing each other with the board in the middle on the ground or a stand.

dsc_0632-copy_compressed.jpg.jpeg
One of the board game players from the audience focused on making the next move

All the 64 pellets remain in play until one player wins. This is not a team game and a player upsetting the board automatically loses the game.

Modifications to the traditional rules of the game have helped in cutting short the duration of a game.

Whereas one game used to last between 10 and 20 minutes, today, it lasts between three and even minutes. |

PS: Find the full original article here The East African.

Originally written by; Bamuturaki Musinguzi for The East African