The end of this video gives me goosebumps.
The words are spoken by Festo Karwemera, the Bakiga cultural warrior who passed away last year…
Karwemera nicknamed me Rwebandira two decades ago, after knowing me for only a short time. Yet he couldn’t have been more prescient… He translated the name for me as a “trailblazer” or “somebody who doesn’t stop in front of the bush but cuts his way through it”. Nowadays, the common interpretation is a “rebel”.
All very true. And this character of mine is pretty much on display in the video… When I look back, I wish I hadn’t blazed my trail through some of the jungles it mentions. I wish I had stayed on the motorway more regularly because it would have taken me further.
Let’s hope some lessons have been learned in the process. At the end of the day, I was 27 when I began this journey and I am 47 now. I must have matured on the way a bit. Right? Riiiiiiiight?
The “window to Africa” ending was helpfully added to my script by Jon Lee in California, the narrator. I am also grateful to David Esteban in Argentina who advised me on the slide design, and to my team in Uganda who have located and scanned some historical images.
The rest was a lonely labour of love, full 27 (!) hours of it. It is based on the slides I have been using to induct our volunteers for too many years; this project started because Rwanda’s lockdown has stopped me from being with our fresh interns at Lake Bunyonyi. It’s soon going to be a year since I last stepped into Uganda — my motherland less than an hour away from where I live.
My hope is that the video brings back some sweet memories to the people who have helped me build Edirisa and Gorilla Highlands. Thank you, Global Team.
photo of Tom Karemire by Marcus Westberg