The Elgon mountain as we came to find is a home to many other features such as caves, rivers, and is also known for having the world’s largest caldera. We were fortunate enough to see a few of these features on our nature walk that was accompanied by our two guides, Mr. Salim Alex and Mr. Abiringa Moses.
We first crossed the Chebonet river. An exciting but terrifying experience as we had to carefully take precautious steps trying to avoid falling. The wooden bridges were quite slippery and the muddy trail was no better either. A few animals lurk in the thick vegetation for example, the black calabus monkey and some bird species too. The monkeys on sensing our presence tried to blend in the forest so as not be spotted. Some made a loud cry to alert others.
The rivers from the mountain serve the Awoja and lake Bisina in Teso land. It is the greatest source of water to Teso land. The water is also filtered by some vegetation and is safe to drink. Rocks from the mountain are a source of building material and it would actually be a stronger form of construction but it has not been fully considered.
With so many caves such as Khauka cave, Mude cave, Hunter’s cave and the largest being Tutum cave, amongst others, we were able to access the Kapkwai cave which also happened to be the most accessible. The caves were formed by volcanic activity but as the locals look for salty rocks for their cattle, they go on excavating the caves hence widening them.
The caves were also used as places for sacrifices. One of the sacrifices were in case one gave birth to twins, a sacrifice would be offered at the caves. A sacrifice would also be offered when they turned three. Currently some people still pay homage to the caves especially the Baganda. Alex further told us that just about a month ago they offered a sacrifice in the kapkwai cave. The Baganda are also believed to also have originated from the mountains.
Through our journey from Kasese, through to Kaabong, Mombasa and finally Mbale, our excursions informed our theme in more ways than one. This includes the history, way of life of people, understanding why certain decisions are made, and also enabling us have our own stand on issues that arose. Even with all our expectations, it wasn’t all roses and rainbows, but it was an experience worth reliving and we would never pass off another chance like this one if we were offered the opportunity once more.
We thank you for being a part of this experience and sharing with us through your feedback that helped us relay out excursions from the various destinations more explicitly. However, our journey doesn’t end here. We intend on taking all we have learned and making it apart of us, hopefully we can influence the environment better, both the built and unbuilt.