By Grace Ayoo, July 2012
We set off as a team from Kampala heading to Tororo (my home town) to climb the famous Tororo volcanic rock which nearly sits in the centre of the town. Much as I had grown and lived in Tororo right at the foot of the rock, I had never had the courage to go rock climbing. When I got this opportunity with the MCU, I knew that I had to do it especially now that I had company. When we reached the town, we had a chance to have lunch and after that we headed straight away to the base of the rock to start the 45 minutes (or 30 minutes for some people) climb.
When we got to the base of the rock, I had a rush of excitement which suddenly turned into a panic which only I noticed. “How does one climb such a cliff? What will I do if I meet/see a snake?” was what was on my mind. Nevertheless, after negotiating with the local authorities on the fees to pay (which came as a surprise), we started our journey. At the beginning, it all seemed fine and easy with a clear path to follow and some climbing aids until we went up a little higher and so did my breathing. I started realising that it wasn’t as easy as I thought! Beads of sweat started appearing on my face, my pulse started racing fast with the mingled fear of coming across snakes (my worst nightmare). Looking above me, everyone seemed to be climbing effortlessly and that renewed my strength making me think, “Maybe it’s not that hard; maybe I’m just being a cry baby”. With that attitude, I went further up going through the creepers and slippery surfaces ignoring the idea of meeting snakes and all the sweat that was now pouring down my body coupled with the panting and occasional stops to catch my breath then it dawned on me, ‘I have no water………’ Luckily, everyone I was climbing with wasn’t a first timer so they had water.
In about 45 minutes, we were at the top staring at the beauty below us. I didn’t know my town was this beautiful until I got up there. I kept staring to the far horizons trying to identify the now small objects and places that I knew while on the ground which now seemed more beautiful from the top.
Just being up there felt good and staring below and far made the whole climb worthwhile. I forgot all about what I went through to get up there. We sat at the top having some refreshments as we watched the rain make its journey towards us. It was a great relief to feel the breeze from the approaching rain which shortly came pouring down on us leaving most of us scampering for the little shelter available which included a few trees and a little iron house which housed the night guards.
After the rain, we slowly started our journey downhill which still gave me a chill because I thought the rocks would be slippery hence so much sliding. Fortunately it wasn’t the case and being the last while climbing the rock, I was the first going down which I did with so much ease, fun and comfort provided by the pumps I was wearing. I was really glad that I had done this after having it on my bucket list.