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Island Experience at Tom’s Homestay

March 3, 2013 Leave a comment
Tom's Homestay

Tom’s Homestay

Tom’s Homestay is a community overnight visit hosted by the family of Tom Karemire on Habukomi Island (Lake Bunyonyi) and organised by Edirisa Uganda. It has to be booked in advance, as it includes much more than sleeping on a remote island – it is a full-blown cultural tour into the traditional life of the Bakiga.

Tom was born on the lake, as was his father, he has been the Night Watchman at the Heart of Edirisa in Bufuka for almost 10 years.  A former prison guard he has many interesting stories to tell.  He is 68 and has 6 children, all boys, one unfortunately died on the lake returning from an election polling station late at night. Very few of the locals swim and the lake does claim many lives during the course of a year. This drives home the importance of swimming lessons for the children, which we try to provide every day at the Heart.

Tom

Tom

Edirisa has been bringing trekkers to Tom’s since 2005 and during these years he has developed a brilliant campsite. In 2013 it is finally being made accessible to those guests who might not opt for hiking but still crave for a unique island experience. For those more active  you have a choice of  combining it with a 5-hour Lake Bunyonyi trek, a 1-day Kabale-Bunyonyi trek or a 1-day Canoe Trekking.

View of Habukomi Island

View of Habukomi Island

The full-board homestay experience includes a professional guide, a dugout ride to the island and back, a tour of the island by Tom, camping near his house in spacious tents, a great local dinner enriched by crayfish, a performance of an enanga (traditional string instrument) player and the island dance troupe, stories near the campfire, breakfast with local honey, bananas and chapatis.

Campfire

Campfire

In case camping isn’t your cup of tea a night boat ride back to your lodge an be arranged – but then you will miss the beautiful, relaxed Habukomi morning.

For bookings call the Edirisa Home in Kabale on +256 75 2558 222 or send an email to home@edirisa.org .

We’re looking forward to celebrating Tom’s 10th Anniversary with him next year!

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Challenge Africa Cycle Ride – Conquer the Virunga

June 12, 2012 1 comment

Early in the morning of Saturday June 16th twelve intrepid cyclists will fly out of Heathrow Airport bound for Rwanda. After months of training and raising sponsorship they are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime.

Back in late 2010 Edirisa UK  signed up with Classic Tours to run a “Charity Challenge” fundraiser giving willing participants an unforgettable experience plus the opportunity to raise money for Edirisa UK through sponsorship.

The challenge is to cycle 300km starting from Rwanda’s capital city Kigali and finishing at the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda where some of Edirisa’s projects are located.

The countryside they will be cycling through is some of the most spectacularly beautiful in East Africa. The route takes them through the Virunga Mountains into Uganda and on to Lake Bunyonyi. At Bwindi they will spend a day tracking the mountain gorillas through the forested slopes of the Virunga Mountains,  a magical experience and something they will never forget.

mountain gorillas

mountain gorillas

When they arrive in Kabale, Uganda they will visit the Home of Edirisa and see the small Cultural Museum of the Bakiga (local tribe).

Edirisa staff in Uganda will show the cyclists around the volunteer accommodation at Teach Inn Bufuka (The Heart) followed by a tour of the Edirisa Nursery School and a traditional Ugandan lunch at the Teachers Centre.  Later they will visit the clinic being built on Bwama Island, have refreshments in the afternoon on Bushara Island and then take the motor boat back to the Overland Camp. After cycling through the mountains they will be glad to relax at the Lake.Lake Bunyonyi

We would like to thank all the cyclists for their support, for all the fundraising and training they have done and we wish them a fantastic time.

Edirisa Slovenia – helping the Batwa, a Ugandan Tribe

February 12, 2012 2 comments

Edirisa Society Slovenia (in cooperation with AICM – Uganda, Edirisa Ltd – Uganda and Association Matafir – Slovenia) is running a project which addresses one of the most vulnerable groups in Uganda – indigenous people  – Batwa (Pygmies). The project which is focussed on access of their children to primary education is also partly supported by the Slovenian Government (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

The Batwa people are the original inhabitants of the forests of Central and Eastern Africa.  Over the years the establishment of national parks, particularly where the mountain gorillas live, has forced the Batwa out of their traditional hunting grounds and they are now struggling to survive in the most remote areas on the edges of the forest.

In the Kabale District only 30-40% of Batwa children attend primary school. Even those who attend school don’t do so regularly, missing more than 50% of lessons, they don’t participate actively and seldom complete Primary Education.

Batwa women during the craftmaking training

Batwa women during the craftmaking training

The main reasons for the poor school attendance are poverty, discrimination, a lack of understanding and value of their culture from the general population. Hopefully, as awareness of their plight increases, more Batwa children will attend Primary School which nowadays seems to be the only way out of the misery and humiliation they are facing in everyday life.

The project is focussing on empowering the Batwa people (especially women) in a variety of ways;  agricultural training;  craft making;  raising awareness of their situation;  reducing the discrimination they are facing and promoting their culture.

Edirisa Society Slovenia will be making a documentary film and publishing a book about Batwa Folk Tales.  They will have presentations of their work in the villages and in Kabale and Kampala.

Batwa women enjoying themselves

Batwa women enjoying themselves