mountains around kilembe

Living in the mountains around Kilembe

This is about the people living in the mountains around Kilembe village, in Uganda. It is in the Rwenzori mountains, which make the border between Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo. This mountains reach heights up to 5,109 metres (16,762 ft). The highest Rwenzori peaks are permanently snow-capped.

This waterfall was at the top of the mountains around Kilembe. After 3 hours hiking up, we rested there for a while, but the water coming from the snow of the mountains behind was so cold, I couldn’t even soak my feet!
mountains of kilembe
While passing by the last streets of Kilembe on the way to the mountains around town, I saw this baby and walked straight to the house. The parents were seated two meters further away, and I smiled at them and I said: “the baby is going to cry as soon as I take a photo of him”. Indeed, I took this photo and then the baby started to cry suddenly. We all started laughing.
The way mothers carry their children in this part of the world is amazing, but the hairstyle of this baby was even more incredible!!

I don’t know where to start… her clothes, her hat, the way she is carrying the stuff with her head, her beautiful face… She was amazing, one of the most beautiful African grandmas I have ever seen, and she was very cheerful shy, really cute. This is the kind of people you could see living in the mountains around Kilembe.

This man lived in the middle of this steep mountains. To get to his house it was necessary to go up more than an hour by a steep slope. This man was all smiles, all joy, and apparently he loved to appear in the photos, because he was calling me all the time to take different photos of him doing different stuff, him with his family, him holding his grandsons… He had a rudimentary mud house where he lived with his family and around which he had some coffee plants and banana plantations.

The man with part of his family behind, in the mountains around Kilembe, Uganda
When I arrived he was starting to spread coffee beans in front of his house, to dry them under the sun.
Him holding one of this grandsons (or sons, I am not sure)
Another one of this grandsons

That day I was walking around with a guy working as a community guide, who was explaining to the people we met that the money that I had paid ($10 USD) went to the local school. Maybe that is why everyone received me very kindly. Indeed, this photo was taken on the way back, going down the mountain. I stopped again in their house when I saw those colourful coffee beans, and when they saw me taking a photo the man called his grandsons and they quickly went to the beans and crouched down pretending to do something. But they were not doing anything! It was just for my photo! I thought it was extremely funny and sweet. I never ask people to do anything for me, maybe just ask them to please continue doing whatever they were doing when I arrived.

The man and two sons (or grandsons) spread coffee beans on the ground to be dried by the sun. Almost every family on those steep mountains had its own coffee beans laying in front of their basic homes, which provide a part of the small incomes they get from their small fields.
This is the supermarket and the only store on those mountainous slopes that I walked that day. It was at the beginning of the path, after 45 minutes of hike up, and just had the products you see, no more and no less. I bought one of the juices you see behind the man, who spent his time listening to the radio and waiting for some of the very few customers who were passing through the dirt track that ran in front of the store.

As I passed by this house, all you could hear was the disconsolate cry of the child being embraced by his mother in the center of the image. He was just crying, and when he saw me he seeked for his mother’s hug, kind of shy, kind of “what the fuck, a mzungu! but I need to continue crying!”. I do not know the reason why he was crying, but he was doing it intensely. I was touched by the situation, by the picture that this family represented in front of my eyes. I took a quick photo and then decided to do something to stop the child from crying
So, when his mother let him alone, he was still crying a lot, but at the same time looking at me kind of: “WTF!! a mzungu is here!! but I was crying and I still need to continue crying to be coherent”. Then I approached him, shot this photo and immediately took off my bag and took out a package of chocolate balls, “Maltesers”. God, the boy changed his face. He stopped crying, the mother told him to reach out and he opened his hand. I gave him a handful of chocolates and I went away to take some more pictures of other people. Then he must have remembered: “Hey, chocolate is a very good blackmail, but I had my reasons for crying!” So he started crying again.
So, while the child in yesterday’s photo was crying, two men sat watching the boy’s performance. They were laughing nonstop until they saw me approach them, camera in hand, and understood that it was their turn. Then they became very serious, posing as if it was a ceremonious moment. They look almlst like jazz players, a friend said! Almost no one wore shoes in those mountains, so those huge boots caught all my attention. The houses were all made of mud, like the one in the picture, and the radio hung on the window had to work with batteries as there was no electricity.

Crossing the river on the way up to the mountains around Kilembe


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