#firsttimeexperience #love #friendship
“It is one thing to have a friend and it is another to have a friend who is intentional about doing life with you!”
Last year as I helped my friend (let’s call her Hadassah) pack her bags for some slay to Mt. Kenya, she mentioned that come this year, she would take me with her so we slay together!
Slay also means to hike or climb. A term used by the Mountain Slayers Uganda (MSU), a mountaineering and hiking club based in Uganda.
2022 arrived and last weekend, I experienced my first slay.🤗🤗🤗 It was a hike around the shores of Lake Nabugabo in Masaka district. This area boasts of rich bird life and flora, up to Mitemula Hill with maximum elevation of 1,298m.
Let me gist you on my experience.
The hike was organized by the Mountain Slayers Uganda and scheduled for 23rd – 25th September 2022. Just so you know, the beginning of that week got me into overwhelming joy. I was looking forward to doing something for the first time since it was my week of ‘firsts‘. Most definitely I prepared my body for the slay by doing physical exercises consistently to be fit and hydrating so well.
On 21st September, no sooner had I reached my work desk than Hadassah called me informing me of how she had carried my bag for packing in personal stuff for the hike. I was overjoyed to see it that evening when we met at Lugogo Mall (in Kampala) after my evening exercise routine (I walk a minimum of 3km per day Monday to Friday). When we met, we had chicken, and some conversations and later she handed the bag to me and we parted ways as I had to go home and work on some report that I needed to hand in that week.
I spent the night of 22nd September finalizing all my assignments (which I gladly did) and packed my bags for the hike. I packed personal effects, hiking shoes, sportswear for the walk, and warm clothes considering it was by the lake shores and we were to sleep in a tent. I also packed some clothes for some enjoyments that were on schedule.
23rd September showed up and it was the day of departure for the slay. 💃💃💃 Just know that day my happiness meter was at 150%. I was glad that finally, we were going to spend personal time with Hadassah doing something that gives us therapeutic vibes (Being someone who loves walking for therapy, I believed hiking would give me the same feeling). I started the day by working/studying till midday when I left to go to the meeting place where the transport vessel to take us to Nabugabo was.
Meanwhile, Hadassah had already delivered my packed bag to the meeting point since I could not go to the office with it. I reached the meeting point safe and sound and it was starting to drizzle (later it rained), MSU had gotten us clean coaster buses to take us. Hadassah surely gave me a TLC (Tender Love & Care) kind of treatment. She got me a CJ’s Barbeque Chicken pizza for lunch. I munched on this with all my life and boom we set off for Nabugabo at 3:30 pm. The journey was awesome, it is always fun sharing a seat with Hadassah, we are both good vibes around each other (at least we try).
We reached our destination at 6:00 pm, waited for our luggage to arrive and we pitched our tent. It was a cool tent (#my friend loves beautiful things just like mwa). Hadassah did most of the work as I helped her where I could and learned all I could. By 7:30 pm, the tent was up, we put in our stuff and laid our beds, showered, and headed for supper. The food served was world-class, I enjoyed it because it had all my favorites present especially the very ripe pineapples. We ate and later joined other slayers (we were a team of over 40 people) at the campfire.
The campfire was so much fun with all the amazing people, music playing and heat around us. I also met Mary Kyohere, a doctor and creative I know from different circles, she is good vibes. I also thought about how I am deeply loved by people while by the fire. Ps. D (Derek Conrad Sigowa-Wadulo) had lent me his day pack and Hadassah had carried some milk, snacks, a warmer jacket, raincoat, fleece blankets, and sandals for me, this touched my heart. We charged our phones and later we went to bed late at 1:00 am. Yes, we ate party to the fullest.
On 24th September 2022, the D-day, we woke up at 6:30 am, went, and had a shower. It felt like paradise waking up to view the lake. Being on the shores of large water bodies is therapeutic for me, it is medicine and rejuvenates my soul. If you ever want to make me smile endlessly, just drive me to the beach or lake shore or fly me to an ocean. We had a sumptuous meal for breakfast and later had a team briefing before we set off for the hike which was going to be 25km long, yes!
I said a prayer in my heart and off we matched to slay. Hadassah and I were walking at a steady slow speed. The trail included low lands, a walk through Manwa forest, a hill, and some roads. We summitted (reached the highest elevation point on the trail) at Mitemula Hill. Back in the 70s, this hill housed a 4-star hotel that was destroyed during the wars that happened in that era. At the top of the hill, we enjoyed glorious views of Lake Nabugabo and blue skies. We had lunch, I just drank my minute maid and we then walked down back to our finishing point which was at the campsite. We camped at Nabugabo Holiday Centre in Masaka district.
Hadassah and I walked the whole trail and finished triumphantly. Though I felt some tire at the 23rd km mark and still pushed through till the finish line which was 25.2km. My heart was happy with me finishing the slay and I enjoyed every bit including the beautiful scenery and the photo moments. The other slayers too were fun to walk with. It is a memory I will cherish forever💯 Upon reaching the campsite, I took a cold Fanta soda and then hit the lake for some swimming (I am yet to learn how to swim, so I just played in the water and did squats and some twerks for future use). Hadassah is a professional swimmer so she was doing that as I played. Being in the water was so refreshing, it took away all the pain and gave me a good massage.
We later got out of the water after an hour or so, showered, rested, had dinner, and later sat by the fireplace to have some enjoyments. I love listening to music and chilling with people I love. I got this in full measure that weekend. The slay itself relaxed my body, mind, and soul. We slept at midnight that day, and on 25th September we had a very awesome breakfast, packed our bags, and set off for Kampala at 2:00 pm. Meanwhile, the favor of the Lord was upon us, Hadassah and I were driven to Kampala by the Chief Slayer, of we were invited to travel with him, he is an amazing person. On our journey to Kampala, we enjoyed the roadside chicken and plantain that are roasted.
My key lessons from the slay were that I can do all things I set out to do and GRIT is a powerful tool to have in my life pack. It was GRIT that got me to the finish line and I am forever grateful.
I thank God for my friend Hadassah who invited me for such a life tank-filling moment and ensured I enjoyed it to the maximum. Kudos to the Mountain Slayers Uganda for organizing such engagements, the goal is to be a member of this club by my next birthday in May 2023, and in 2024, I am slaying The Rwenzori mountains. So, help me, God! Above all, I thank God for protecting us and showering me with lots of love through His people. And I am doing more slays and adding hill & mountain climbing to one of my chilling activities.
The Slay to Lake Nabugabo is one of the medals that life has blessed me with. I slayed and played. I returned to Kampala with joy, a refreshed soul, and a courageous mind ready to do mighty exploits. Right then, I had just conquered a mountain I thought was difficult.
I am glad I took up this opportunity to create a beautiful memory!
Do life with your friends and please reach out for that dream which seems hard.
I LOVE YOU!