Sleeping in a Forest, Sleeping Wooden
While I was growing up, I used to see people staying in flats, semi-structured buildings, and also the grass thatched houses, the manses of the rural wave. I don’t quite remember the exact day I first saw a wooden structure. But at my tender, delicate age I used to see these wooden structures on Television in American, British and French movies. I really disliked them because I had a feeling that somebody could either set it ablaze with fuel or break into it easily.
Back home, it is almost a culture to build a bungalow or an ordinary house with heavy bricks, high wall fence cemented with concrete, tightened with heavy metallic gates with all these awkward and good, unique but also complicated designs compared to the developed world.
Fast forward. I happened to visit Uganda’s only big rain forest, Mabira recently. I had never been to this 300 square kilometer environment ever since I was born and the many years I have lived in Uganda yet I always pass it on my way to Nairobi, Karamoja and further east.
There is the Rainforest Lodge a $2m project located within mabira on a 51-acre piece of land, but approximately two and half kilometers from the Kampala-Jinja highway. Under the Geolodges project, its presence dates as far back as 1994. Its creation is because of the natural, rich flora and fauna that exists, the fresh air and the untapped atmosphere. It has a rich environment fit and deemed for honeymooning, meditation and a pollution-free environment. Talk about noise, industrial, and automobile pollution. It’s a home away from pollution. It’s a home with all these beautiful sounds, melodies of birds, animals and other nocturnals singing the night away.
Almost everything there is wooden save for the food. Its executive, private, VIP, and ordinary rooms are all built with wood and purely timber. The furniture (beds, chairs, tables, ceilings, sauna, all-round) and other resources of the forest, like reeds and stones.
I was amazed by how the whole place was paved with concrete stones, especially the paths. With lighting, the metals give full support creating a unique atmosphere for privacy. It’s a green environment where rain falls at any time of the year. The forest harbors 360 species of birds, 900 species of butterflies, 500 species of trees and shrubs. The forest is a source of all sorts of herbs, known and unknown species.
After sleeping and enjoying away two nights, I retreat to commend this conservation venture as Uganda’s most important forest which should not be over exploited. Laying on my wooden bed facing the all wooden structure upwards, my imaginations crept to the riots in 2007. The government of Uganda and Mehta Group who co-own Sugar Corporation of Uganda (SCOUL) hatched a plan of slashing 70 square kilometers of the naturally grown asset for a sugar plantation, de-gazette it and give it to SCOUL. Uganda was risking loss of the 300 square kilometer asset. It was from propaganda that “it never existed” and that the “environmentalists protecting it were protecting a fake forest”.
Had Ugandans lost it to the government and the Mehta group, there would be no more rain, honeymooning, touring, pollution- free environment, no sightseeing, herbs for potency and fresh air. Uganda would have lost the most magnificent of all forests. Thanks to the conservationists for loving and protecting the green.