HE nursed hopes of spending some time in the cozy confines of a lakeside resort with his girlfriend. But how could Paul Kyaligonza, a part-time fire fighter and student afford such an expensive get away? He had only recently asked Rachael to be his girlfriend and wished he had the money to spoil her.
Then one day, he receives a call: â€œYou will be one of few people to enjoy a fully paid weekend to Ssese Island, the voice on the other side echoed. â€œYou and your loved oneâ€¦â€
â€œI smiledâ€¦ I was excited. I did not believe it,â€ he said. Kyaligonza had just won a weekend for two to one of the most beautiful islands in Africa. He and three other couples were the lucky lovebirds to have been selected for a two-day loversâ€™ get away to the island in Vision Voice radioâ€™s Valentines Day promotion.
The promotion pooled 12 couples, out of which four were selected. It was an interesting selection that comprised young energetic Kyaligonza and his shy girlfriend Rachel Tuhaise, bright and breezy Anthony Muwanga Lule and his showy girlfriend Mabel Ndagire, and Joyce Ngema who, for some reason, turned up solo. There was even an elderly couple â€” Peter and Prossy Kayizzi who have been married for 33 years.
So at about 6:00pm, the couples arrived at the Butoboka landing site aboard MV Kalanga ferry on Friday, March 27. Clad in blue Vision Voice T-shirts, the lovebirds jumped off the ship, hand in hand, clutching their luggage and looking forward to the adventure of a life time.
As they stood on the sandy shore, caressed by the golden lakeside sunrays and the gentle sea breeze, Cosmas and Puddy Lugudde, the proprietors of Ssese Islands Club (where they would spend two days of love) received them.
Ssese islands club sits on a huge green expanse of grassland overlooking a long stretch of a white sandy beach and the blue sea. It is a laid back resort made of simple serene enclaves strategically hidden inside healthy green towering trees and thickets.
It is inside these enclaves that you find a luxurious lounge, conference hall and kitchenâ€” the home to all kinds of sumptuous food and drink. But just behind that, a narrow strip leads to yet another thicket of green woodlands in the middle of which wooden cottages have been built and named after different personalities â€” from Namutebi, Eibl to Mujulizeki, these cottages court visitors with their strong, natural beautiful brown exterior- The interior is warm, well lit, self contained, comfortable and quiet enough to echo the groaning waves of the lake and the sweet sounds of nature in the forest.
Life here feels different and refreshing. Overcome by the green glory of the clubâ€™s giant forest trees and the mildly chilly embrace of the lake, the lovebirds immediately sought the comfort of the Island club.
Some sat still on the sidelines; others took a walk in the sand while the cheeky ones jumped into the waters for an amorous swim. It was a lovely day as the lovers got down to a warm sumptuous meal of fish and all kinds of dishes with soft music plating in the background. At the end of the day, retired to warm cozy cottages for a good nightâ€™s sleep.
Saturday was a lazy, lovey dovey affair marked with warm meals, a swim under the hot afternoon sun for some and a leafy nature walk in the forests for others. It was crowned with a barbecue on the beach by the fire. â€œIt could not have been better,â€ Ndagire said. â€œI thank Vision Voice, Ssese Island club and whoever has made this possibleâ€¦â€ For the 33 years of our marriage, we have not had such an experience,â€ Mzee Kayizzi said. Rachael Tuhaise and Joyce Ngema were blown away by the â€œlovely beach, the nice food and friendly serviceâ€. For the proprietors, it was a vote of confidence. Kyaligonza was all smiles. His dream had come true.
A valentineâ€™s Day to remember with Vision Voice