I have spent the last few weeks researching and writing a few legal projects, including an analysis of transparency in extractives law in Uganda and issues with customary land. While writing these papers, I have learned that the legal and institutional framework which the government creates does not mirror how things happen in reality. This makes transparency and accountability really difficult, which in turn creates space for corruption and other issues. I want to write so much that it seems impossible to fit it all into the 3-5 pages to which I am limited.
I am trying to take advantage of the end of my time here to tour and see as much as possible. Last weekend I went to Gisenyi, Rwanda, for a few days and then stopped at Lake Bunyonyi on my way back to Kampala. I knew Rwanda would be fun, but it was even way better than I expected. Gisenyi and the towns that we passed through on our way there were all beautiful. Gisenyi sits on the shores of Lake Kivu in the lower hills of the Virunga Mountains, bordering the DRC. The architecture is influenced by the Germans and the Belgians, so everything is organized and there is lots of open space. We walked around the town and ate whole small fried fish. There was a music festival in Gisenyi that weekend, but we had to go so we only heard a bit of the music.
After two days in Rwanda we headed to Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda on our way home. Lake Bunyonyi has a well-deserved reputation for being the most beautiful place in the country. It is either the 3rd deepest lake in the world at 900 meters, or it is just a normal lake at 45 meters—sources somehow vary on this. We arrived around midnight and we got on a boat to go to our hotel, which was on an island. The staff made us tea and dinner, and then we went to bed. The island is pretty self-sufficient—the electricity runs on solar power, and the water is heated by lighting fires underneath metal barrels. In the morning we went for a canoe ride and a hike. We took a dugout canoe, which is made from a whole eucalyptus tree. The fisherman at Lake Bunyonyi use them while they are fishing, but many of them have motor boats for when they are just traveling around. We went to the mainland to hike to the highest point, where we could see many of the islands. It was a beautiful view, and we learned stories about a lot of the different islands. After the hike we paddled to Punishment Island, where people used to take girls who got pregnant before marriage, and Governor’s Island, which is stocked with animals like zebras, deer, and antelope. Then, it was time to go home.