It still feels like yesterday… A morning of anticipation. A twilight of bliss. A thrilling experience. An absolute peach; the latter portion of 16 March, 2013. The morning had been uncharacteristically quiet.
The parking lot still looked a little deserted by the set departure time-10:00am, save for a lone coaster omnibus at the extreme right end of the airtel house forecourt. On ground floor, Faith’s shrill voice could be heard imploring all to converge at the boarding point.
It was not long before we were all set, breezing through the blazing sun to Garuga in just over an hour’s time. The journey wasn’t without its moments though. Self-appointed (and now freelance, I guess) MC, Ritah Tamale ensured the trip didn’t bear the look of a funeral procession, often working the team with witty rhetoric, in between the odd wacky tale from Geoffrey Kasibante and Co.
Hot and humid is how I would describe the weather at Garuga, as the blazing sun was often punctuated by the occasional breeze from the lake. It was the perfect time to engage in all sorts of games. The hyperactive Faith had refreshments on hand as the retreat immediately sprang to life.
On one side were the board games (draught, largely, as there was no chess or scrabble-much to the disappointment of some), the sac race and Volleyball on the other, among others. We were soon joined by a second batch of arrivals, led by a Sombrero-clad Dorothy Kyeyune.
Well, what can I say? Anybody that’s been to any beach or resort of sorts knows the aroma of fried fish… A personal favorite of mine-this, though some opted for the unconventional chicken & chips(It creates that kind of feeling – like someone made a stop-over at some eatery and carried their takeaway to the lakeshore).
It was towards the end of this session that the final batch of arrivals made their grand entrance in a 2-car mini convoy, led by the funky Jackie B in a 15 minute cameo, with such a bevy of beauties that one would think some sat in her car boot en route to the venue. She didn’t stay long though, leaving her protégées to enjoy the rest of the day…
Quite an eventful spell that I couldn’t find one word to describe the entire evening. The boat ride was fun... A flurry of other blokes soon announced their arrival, and we now had a full house. It was time to hit the dance floor-for those that could; A few folks elected to watch the proceedings from the sidelines.
Arched in one corner, Shiphrah Kaboyo and a couple of her cohorts bore the innocent look of apprentice nuns awaiting ordainment. The drinks, of course, continued to flow. A worn-out Faith still paced about-albeit with a wobbly gait, still ensuring each of us got our tummy’s fill. (Kudos, Faith. I liked the commitment. One would imagine it was part of your appraisal!)
It would be quite unfair if this note ended without recognizing the effort and contribution (Yes, it’s possible to contribute without making an effort); of folks whose exploits remain etched in our memory… In true Airtel spirit, we’ll shell out these awards-however imaginary- to a few peeps here;
To Umar Matovu for reminding us of your Mancunian allegiance, and treating that jersey like your most prized possession. Even when you seemed keen on playing volleyball, you still managed to avoid the soggy side of the court, just so your cherished shirt does not get blighted by a stray puddle of mud.
To Ivan Ngobi for being a very active spectator (and part-time participant in a few games) on the draught board. You could make a good sports commentator. Harness that talent! To the data team for sticking together like a set of quadruplets. You were meant to mix and mingle with the rest. This gong is only meant to imply we noticed your presence. J
To Carol Angom for revealing the draught maestro in you. I still recall the beads of sweat on some dude’s face when you took him to the cleaners in one of those games. To Flavia Kiggundu; you should start a dance school already. You could make a killing. Some folks here will need the skills.
To Jackie B, for making an appearance. That was a classic beep. A couple of hours with your eccentricity certainly would have done the retreat some justice. To Fred Semakula and Eric Mugerwa. You liked your moments private. You must have been back-benchers in high school!
To Jennifer Nakaddu and Lynda Nabayiinda. There are so many things one could do at workplace get-together. But certainly, acting like your in-laws had you under fulltime surveillance isn’t one of them. You didn’t have to revel with restraint. We did see you muster the occasional smile, so we’ll assume you enjoyed your time.
To Maria Kabamoli for that spicy, booty-hugging couture. I had to crane my neck to have a close peek of my own when I overheard a female peer “double-like” your outfit. Turns out, after all, that I wasn’t alone in my adulation. Wow. Now, that’s what the Latinos call Cambio extremo !
To Geoffrey Kasibante, well, for being Kasibante; Full of life and treating the world like it owes you a living. To Diana Birungi for gracing the volleyball court with your gifted palms. With that build, one would imagine you got the turning speed of an average oil tanker. On the court, it was a different story. That was a surprise. Not many had the slightest idea you were that fit!
To Diane Nassolo, for your co-starring role in the “film” that was the outing. Covert as you were, we still noticed your contribution. You didn’t die in your own movie.
To Albert Mugisha for the all-round involvement-well- before that ale made its way down your throat. Another draught maestro. Straight from the volleyball court to the board. So many games played-I have since lost count, one drawn. None lost. Now we know there’s more to you than your rich collection of VAS magic moments!
To the directors for letting us in on your genial side, considering the fact that most workplace interactions are usually kept civil. It was nice seeing you get your groove on. To the organizing committee for a job well done; and a general happiness award for everyone else that made an appearance at the do. A day many a soul will live to remember.
-Dan B. Atuhaire