Students get an unexpected lift while on holiday

(From left) Mike Conway, Sarah, Yulin Yu, Madeline Dippel, Amelia Herrick, Gwynneth Hurley, Sophia Raymond, Ivan, Nadia Ibrahim (James D. Kelly | The Media School)

Last weekend, we traveled to the Ssese Islands in Kalangala, Uganda, a three-hour ferry ride to the middle of Lake Victoria. Upon arrival, we were taken to our lakefront cottages to change into our swimsuits and head to the pool. We were all excited for a break from the hustle and bustle of being a reporter in the city.

We woke up early Saturday morning to a foggy lake, overcast sky and wet ground. It had stormed all night, which made the morning air cool and refreshing. After walking along the shore for a while, we decided to explore the town.

The walk to town was uphill. The road was windy, and each new turn offered a different view of the lake and the expansive beach below, framed by lush forest greenery.

After we stopped to watch a family of vervet monkeys cross the road, a police car slowed to a stop next to us. It was the first vehicle we’d seen all morning; the beach resorts are popular, but the town itself stretches only for a mile.

A police officer, Ivan, greeted us and was curious to know what we were doing in Kalangala. Behind him, another police officer sat on one of the open benches on top of the police car.

“This is Sarah,” Ivan said. “She’s a police officer, and she’s a woman.”

It was clear this was not a common occupation for a woman in Kalangala, and Ivan appeared to revere Sarah for her bravery.

We took a group photo, and then Ivan insisted we ride on the police car the rest of the way to town. Yes, on the police car. Excited and a little nervous, we piled onto the benches on top of the car. From this position, we had an even better view of the beautiful island scenery.

The ride to town was short, but exhilarating. Although we were secure in our seats, we clung to the guardrails and laughed out loud with each bump. With the wind providing natural AC, this was definitely the best way to see Kalangala’s breathtaking landscape.

The little town we reached was charming and quiet; each side of the dirt road was lined with colorful restaurants, convenience stores, farmland and a few cows. Our unexpected car ride up there was a reminder of how important it is not only to enjoy the destination, but the journey as well.