My enduring image of Uganda, the pearl of Africa, is rolling green hills and banana farms. After learning to love the scrubby bush and maize fields that dominate Zambia and Tanzania, I found these green hills of abundant bananas and plantains and the rivers and lakes in Uganda shocking. It seemed that they must be growing plenty of food in great quantity and variety. However, my observations were not the whole story, as we witnessed first hand that hunger and food security are still huge obstacles faced by Ugandans everyday.
Our last day in Uganda we stood at the source of one of the world's most iconic rivers: the Nile. Outside the town of Jinja, at the juncture with Lake Victoria, the Nile is surrounded by Uganda's history in the form of huge rundown former colonial homes and even the former vacation home of Idi Amin. As with most tourist attractions in Africa we saw, there was much more thought to selling the trinkets than to marking the significance of the site. Slightly down river, a shrine to Ghandi stands, because part of his remains were scattered here at the beginning of the Nile. Just one of many things that surprised me about Uganda. We tried to balance tourism and experiencing local life here and found both to be even more rewarding than our expectations allowed.