There is something that has been going on for close to two months now that got me thinking. On December 4, a British gentleman called Levison Wood decided that he was going to walk from where the Nile River starts all the way to where it ends its long journey.
There have been others who have tried to do what Levison is doing the difference being that they were in a car not on foot. Levison is determined to take on the mighty river and if he pulls it off he will certainly have the bragging rights as the first man to do it.
He started his journey from here in Rwanda, deep in the breathtaking Nyungwe forest at the spot that some scientists have concluded is the ‘real’ source of the mighty River Nile. Before the Nyungwe angle, the source of the Nile has always been known to be in Eastern Uganda at a spot in Jinja district.
Levison is currently in Jinja walking closest to the river banks as possible but more importantly he keeps meeting and interacting with locals who always seem excited to see this ‘crazy’ Mzungu.
Speaking of crazy, I saw images of Levison taking a milk bath while holding onto a goat. He was being bathed by the infamous Maama Fiina, a Ugandan female traditional healer.
I did not quite understand what Levison needed healing from though, but I guess the antic meets some of the expectations of those who will watch the documentary of his journey on the UK-based Channel4 TV station. He also has a Twitter account and Facebook page to broadcast his adventure on social media.
Levison has already been to Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda and is expected to continue to South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. With South Sudan, he has two major worries. He is still not sure of how he will deal with the expansive Sudd swamp that is likely going to make it impossible for him to follow the main channel.
The other major worry for the adventurous lad is the current insecurity in South Sudan due to the war between government forces and rebels aligned to Dr. Riek Machar. That basically means he will be one of those seriously praying that the cessation of hostilities after the signing of a peace agreement will hold as he quickly treks through to Sudan.
Let us not forget that his trail will also include going through the Sahara desert as well. Anyway he must have mentally prepared himself for the journey and whatever challenges that come with it. I must point out that this is a free advert for the tourism sector in the region.
I hope his journey also highlights the major developments that the people living along the river have experienced over the time. It would be a shame if he simply focused on the tired Africa is a jungle with wild animals theme only.
Still with the journeys, I was impressed to see Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, being consulted on governance issues by our Kenyan brothers and sisters. Kenya is still getting to terms with a new constitution that devolved a lot of powers from the centre to the different counties.
Therefore at a summit for all the country’s governors, President Kagame was on hand to share some of the Rwandan experiences as far as governance is concerned. With all the focus still on South Sudan many missed to vital fact that since going through a terrible moment in history, Rwandans seem to have picked up themselves and rose to be an example in the region as far as governance is concerned.
Whenever we are talking about EAC integration we tend to miss the point that member states can learn from each other in various ways. We simply just talk of harmonising and signing joint agreements without picking key lessons.
If Rwanda has managed to keep corruption at bay and hold its local leaders accountable, why not share that lesson with Kenya that could in turn share its wisdom on matters concerning entrepreneurship for example.
This April, Rwanda marks 20 years since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. This would be a great time for other countries around to flash a light at Rwanda’s story and see what to learn. I would be happy to see other East Africans asking Kagame questions or the other leaders also doing the same by visiting other EAC states to share experiences.