In January 2017, we visited two islands just off the coast of Entebbe in Lake Victoria. As part of this visit, we offered to return and install playground equipment. To get the equipment to the island, we chartered a small boat for a day. Going to the islands was a snap. Lake Victoria was calm and the lake breeze was refreshing.
We dropped off a climbing tower and the materials for a small swing set at the first island (Bussi). Half our crew stayed on this island to assist with assembly and installation. Our construction chief, our island contact, and I headed to the second island (Kava), a very poor fishing village.
The trip between the two islands is fun. The eastern shores of Bussi Island are a fantastic rookery. There are birds everywhere: cormorants, egrets, kingfishers, herons, pelicans, etc.
On arrival at the second village, we hauled the parts for a large swing to the nearby school. Most of hauling work was done by villagers. Several helped with the swing set assembly, others collected rocks, sand, and water. The rocks were large, so a group started crushing them (including our islands host). After the swing set was assembled, the villagers set about digging holes and mixing concrete. It was hot and humid, but the villagers hung in there. In short order, the swing was placed in the holes and carefully leveled. The children were briefly allowed to swing. After the concrete was placed, the islanders were instructed not to use the swing for 24 hours.
We then retreated to the first island. The climbing tower and swing set frame had already been installed and concreted in. In short order, we added the swing hangers and seats. The Christian school staff prepared a wonderful meal for us. I enjoyed the tomatoes, onions, avocados, potatoes, pineapple, bananas, etc.
As dusk drew near, we headed back to our boat. The wind had picked up and it was blowing at a 90-degree angle to our wooden boat. As it started to rock, the pilot put on his life preserver. For our Ugandan playground crew, this was bad omen. They suddenly became edgy and uneasy. None of 3 could swim. The choppiness didn’t subside until we neared Entebbe Airport. An Air Ethiopian commercial jetliner flew over us. It was a beautiful evening. We had accomplished a lot. The islanders were fun and appreciative.