By Caroline Ariba
AN amazing experience lies faintly over 300km from Kampala City in the chilly Kabarole district, in a little village called Kyaninga.
Kyaninga, is a rutoro word curved out of kuninga, which means to spoil and pamper. This place is home to a gorgeous lake called, Lake Kyaninga.
Only last year, Sunday Vision visited Kyaninga and told of a beauty that lay still in waters so blue and calm. This time round, it is a tale of how this beauty was used to light a teenager’s rather misty world, in a triathlon that was a lot of fun.
A triathlon is a three-race competition of swimming, riding and running, but the Kyaninga triathlon, thanks to a location so breathtaking and relaxing, offers much more.
When the participants in the triathlon dived into the 220-metre deep blue waters, it was like watching magic unfold. The lake swayed sweetly.
There was a bit of drama when some of the swimmers realised they were swimming in the wrong direction. Lucky for them, Kyaninga Lodge manager, Matt Cooper, sat still in a boat to make sure all was well. This was the first stage in the Kyaninga triathlon.
Nyama choma: Kyaninga chefs share a joke over mouth-watering pork
Then came the bicycle ride around this crater’s curvy hills, followed by a run around the lake. Many were really just walking. In their defence, they were tired. The lake looked even more dazzling from the top, so instead of running, many took a stroll while taking it all in. It felt like you could hear the Kyaninga forest laugh.
No, not the trees, but the wildlife, the vervet monkeys, lone red-tailed Colobus monkey and the civet cats.
Back at the lodge, there was a massage waiting for those who wanted it. I took to the poolside for a quieter view of the lake. Everything was at peace here.
Soon, Chef Robert and his team delivered a whole roasted pig for the guests to enjoy, alongside a buffet.
Later that evening, we sat with some of the guests, friends and employees of the lodge on the balcony sipping our drinks while chatting away.
The money raised from the triathlon was for the benefit of a 17-year-old girl named Maria. She was born blind. Fortunately, her mother had been a nanny in the family of Rupert Barthop and they had offered help to the single mother over the years.
However there was hardly enough money for the two operations she needed to gain sight.
“One of the UK’s leading eye surgeons amazingly agreed to perform the required intervention — a Surgical Capsulotomy — at a significantly reduced rate,” Bathorp says, adding that the money was still short, so a fundraiser was needed.
Barthop was visiting Kyaninga and loved it. “I fell in love with everything and knew right then that I wanted to come back,” Barthorp says.
It was then that the idea of having the triathlon here crossed his mind; Lake Kyaninga could share its beauty and change a teenager’s life while at it.
“He told me about the little girl and asked if we could do a triathlon to raise some money for the operation,” Kyaninga Lodge’s director Steve Williams says.
There will be another triathlon at Kyaninga to fundraise for other children like Maria. And what a fun way and a fun place to achieve a noble cause.