When I say I love traveling, my inner self feels convinced. To many traveling may mean boarding a plane to a place a thousand miles away or probably sitting on a bus to go on a long journey, but for me, it means refusing to sitting in one place for more than 30 minutes.
This is not because of the kind of work I do, but may be because of my nature – I wouldn’t want to call myself restless but for lack of a better word , Yes! Restless!
Of course I got excited when my editor’s call came through that I should organise all my travel documents I would be covering the Air Uganda maiden Flight to Somalia.
Did you just say Somalia? The question resounded in my excited mind.
Picture the excitement and honour. I knew this was going to be fun but of course it was going to involve enduring a Yellow Fever vaccination injection which for years I had been reluctant to take.
“All programmes cancelled. I must get this vaccination done in the least time possible.” I said to myself.
In a few hours I gladly surrendered my upper arm to the nurse’s palms.
So with all set, all I waited for was the D-day. I wasn’t excited because I was gonna fly, travel or something, the vigour stemmed from the fact that I was going to Somalia – one of the countries on my ‘to – visit list.’
My keen Interest in Somalia is also linked to the recent happenings in there, that I have always just read about in the news. I wanted to know how it feels to be in a place like one that is just recovering from insurgency – The journalistic Ego (Of, yeah I once was in Somalia)
I am simply being honest. I did not care if the trip was just for a few hours , just like it was – All I longed to do was to step feet in SOMALIA.
Well, at the eve of the flight, I retired home at the usual hours, and went to bed at about 11pm. I was meant to wake up at 2 and get ready for the 5.30am flight. I was up at 1.30am.
Quick through the process, at 5.30am, the much anticipated Journey commenced. For 2hr and 10 minutes I was catching sight of God’s beautiful space creation.
It was nothing short of Aaaaaammmmmmaaaaaazzzziiiiiing! Oweeeeesssoooooommmmeeeee!
When the hostess announced that we were landing…
The plane hovered over the waters, and soon we were on ground – Safely.
One word – Ancient
The smell of a semi desert.
An airport/ Military base – 9 of every 10 people you set eyes on, are dressed in military fatigue.
Place is guarded more than I had ever witnessed. The beauty was that the biggest number of the AU troops on ground hail from Uganda – they too were as excited to see an Air Uganda Plane jet in. I keenly remember on of them telling me
“ Eh!, this has never happened, my heart has skipped seeing air Uganda plane land, ayaaaaaa, this is soooo goood.”
With these words I felt the joy and excitement of a ugandan who has been away from home for the at least eighteen months.
The tight security at the seemingly ancient airport for me revealed how much it may not be safe to travel further into Somalia, although the security operatives on ground kept assuring us that all was well.
The head of the Uganda People’s Defence Force contingency told me “People are happy, people are traveling, construction is going on, business is growing, Guns are silent here in Mogadishu.”
“Guns are Silent” that was the gist of the statement – what any entrant into Somalia would love to listen to. It made me feel at home.
And when these Soldiers walked to me giving greetings in our native Luganda language, I even fell more at peace.
About two hours in Mogadishu’s international airport and all I wanted to do was go even further – Oh I wish I could. I all wishes were horses…
Two hours well – Setting eyes on the Somalian President, interacting with Au troops, getting burnt under the scorching morning sunshine ( as If I even cared) and of course using my hand camera to document my first ever trip to Somalia.
In the few hours, I cannot forget to say my head was veiled. Somalia, wait for my Mega Return!
Yours Truely Uwitware