Archive for October, 2018

October 15, 2018

Conference in South Africa

Here are some photos of Othy during the physics conference he attended in South Africa.




October 14, 2018

Wedding Venue Tourism

In mid September I spent several days searching for a wedding venue around Kampala. To make it more fun I treated myself like a tourist who was going around to discover beautiful places around Kampala. I found some really nice spots! On a Wednesday on the way to the grocery store I visited Lindsay Cottage in Lubowa. The place felt a bit tired, but the garden and pool held potential with the right decor and lighting. I liked that it was private and snug.

The following Saturday I made a day out of visiting as many places as I could. In the morning I met a contact of someone who works at EMI who took me to a property on lake Victoria that is owned by a landscape design firm. It was beautiful though the place was remote, unfinished, and had no experience hosting big events.


I took a matatu to the bypass and hired a boda to take me to a place called Speke Resort. This place is a wedding venue machine hosting around 200 weddings each year! It has several lawns to choose from and a few lake-front wedding areas. It was fun to be there on a Saturday because several weddings were getting set up as I was walking around. The generic lawns didn’t really interest me very much and unfortunately the lake front areas were already booked up. There was however one lake front garden that was rarely used because it was too far away from the washrooms and therefore required portable toilets for events. I thought it was beautiful and also liked that it was a bit out of the way and so felt less commercial.

Next I took a matatu to downtown and a boda to Emerald Hotel. It is a three star hotel with one interior banquet hall and two gardens. This was the most affordable venue I had seen yet but unlike the other places does not offer complete escape from the hustle and bustle of Kampala.

Last of the day I went up to Makerere University to visit St. Francis Chapel. I tried calling ahead to see if I could meet with someone to talk about venue availability and prices, but nobody answered. I still wanted to see the campus and so decided to walk around on my own. St. Francis Chapel is a beautiful church though would feel too big for a wedding of only 100 people. I thought that the lawn beside the church held a lot of potential because it was nicely framed by the church and another nice building and offered a view over the city. A wedding had just finished at the church and I noticed that the party was headed to a nearby student centre. It is a round building with a lot of windows. I managed to get a peak at the reception inside and it was a nice space! I also enjoyed seeing a few other nicely designed buildings on campus. I came across a beautiful courtyard that I thought could be a nice spot for wedding photos. I met a student on campus called Papa Tom who offered to help me inquire after the venue. He let me know later that the place was all booked up.

Although I had more places on my list to visit, they were too far away and the day was almost over. The search could really be endless and so it would be better to make a decision from the few venues that I had seen. There was one more venue that I had arranged to see the following Monday. It was a lead I had received from a girl who I met on Saturday morning while stopping in to visit Jess and the interns before heading out to the lake-front property. Ironically this venue was another lakefront property but the difference was that the venue incorporated the services of a wedding planner. The venue is called Estate E’Bwerenga and is a beautiful and peaceful property on Lake Victoria with a nicely designed four-bedroom house. Although it was the most expensive option, I liked that it had areas that would serve well for the religious ceremony and the reception, and that it was a package deal where the planner is familiar with the site and can bring together all of the necessary vendors.

In the end we chose to go with the last venue. Even though it was a lot of traveling around and inquiring, I enjoyed the process of seeing some beautiful destinations in and around Kampala.

October 13, 2018

Nomad 2.0 – Lubowa and Konge

The next part of my nomadic journey was my stay in Lubowa at the apartment of an EMI couple who was away in the US on home leave. I was very thankful to have some certainty of where I would be for the next three weeks, to have some time alone, and have an opportunity to cook for myself again. Another blessing is that the apartment was close to where Larry and another couple live and so several days a week I would carpool with them to the EMI office to have a different space to do some work. The first week I went almost every day and in the proceeding weeks went less and less as I had more outings that I needed to do for wedding preparations and calls to take for E4C. A few days into my time in the new apartment, Othy and I came to the difficult decision to move the location of the wedding from Butembo to Kampala. This meant that there would be a lot of work ahead in making/changing travel and accommodation arrangements for family members, and planning the wedding in a new place with few people around to help. During those same days I injured my back while walking up some stairs. It was probably caused by a combination of sleeping for the last month on mattresses my back didn’t like, the lack of usual exercise, and increased stress. Healing probably took longer than it should have because I was often having to take matatus and bodas to get around town which are not so gentle on the body! My first big outing was the following Saturday to search for a wedding venue. I am planning to write about it in my next post because I saw some beautiful spots around the city! Another outing was to go and buy fabric for my wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses which I planned to get made.

Apartment in Lubowa

Wedding fabrics matching the fabric we found in Kinshasa on the left


A view from when I walked up to the top of the hill in Lubowa to see the sunset. A Ugandan family decided to come out and watch me watch the sunset.

After the three weeks were over I made arrangements to move to the house of Paul and Sandra in Konge which is a neighbourhood closer to town. They are a Ugandan couple who hosted me through Couchsurfing two years earlier and this time were willing to host me like an Airbnb. They have two daughters who have grown so much since I last saw them! I stayed with them for two and a half weeks. I was glad to be closer to town because by that point I had many more errands to do such as go to a chiropractor, visit the seamstress, find wedding shoes, visit the Congolese embassy, you name it! Along with these tasks I was working to wrap up my work for E4C. I was thankful that Sandra always made enough food for me to be able to join them for dinner in the evenings. Othy arrived from Beni and was around for a few days, then went to a conference in South Africa for a week, and then came back a few days before both our families would arrive one week before the big day! Few! What a month!


Street in Konge near where Paul and Sandra live


Food tasting! A mix of Ugandan and Congolese fare.


Table setting demo