I don’t think that many of you know that I have been attending regular meetings with the Rotary Club of Jinja. The Executive Director, Faustine, is a member and invited me to participate. He also invited me to attend the annual District Conference which was held in Kampala this year from 20-23 April. The District, 9200, is made up of 5 countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Uganda. This area covers about 150 Rotary Clubs. Uganda actually has the most clubs with about 63 active. The current District Governor is a Ugandan but next year will be a Kenyan.
The event was held at the luxurious Speke Resort in Munyonyo. The resort is located on the lake on the southeast corner of the Kampala district. Rooms can go up to $600 a night for the suites. The schedule consisted mainly of presentations and speakers during the day and an event during the evenings. The speakers were very impressive for the most part and we had a few VIPs. For instance, the audience/speakers consisted of the Prime Minister of Uganda, Apollo Nsibambi, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Attorney General, and Her Royal Highness the Queen of Buganda. In addition, there were Rotary Club members who were leaders of Industry and business present as well.
I was personally impressed by the presentations by two professors – Professor Lumumba from Kenya and Professor Mamdan from Uganda. Both spoke of the values of Rotary and how they could apply to addressing the current problems in Africa. Professor Lumumba spoke of why Africans continue to “walk and bleed” in this continent with regard to struggling for freedom and human rights. Professor Mamdan from Makerere University was very interesting in his analytical approach to looking at the recent “Walk to Work” protests in Uganda and how it compares to Tahrir Square in Egypt and the Soweto Uprising in South Africa in 1976. The other interesting thing was that the Prime Minister was present for these presentations and he gave an award to both Professors afterwards!
The evening events were fun and interesting. The first night was a cocktail night around the massive pool at the Speke Resort. The second night was Karnivore Night at the Ggaba Beach Resort Hotel. Here they served four different types of meat to the audience. I have to admit that I had nothing green on my plate that evening! The last night that our group stayed was the Africa Night which was lakeside at the Speke Resort. The main entertainment was provided by a dance troupe from Makerere University which did dances from various tribes and from each of the countries represented.
All in all it was a good experience and I am very glad that I was able to attend. Below are a few pictures from the conference. The last picture is of Nelson Mandela Stadium just on the outskirts of Kampala.