Recently I took leave from work and as a treat to mark the end of it, a good family friend gifted my husband and I a horse riding session at Flametree stables along Gayaza road. I was both excited and apprehensive the night before our session, pretty much for no reason because I don't like anything unfamiliar and yet I take to things quickly and adapt.
So a friend called to reschedule an earlier appointment and wanted to meet up the same day at the same time as the horse riding and I declined due to the clash of my calendar. These cancellations are pretty standard but what made this interesting was the conversation that ensued as I explained to him why I had to cancel.
Friend: "Hey, so let me set things up and then we can have a brief catch up this Sunday morning."
Me: "This Sunday morning?"
Me: "No, that won't work for me, I have horse riding that morning."
Friend: “Wow, I want to be you in the next lifetime. Owaye, oba ofuse Omuzungu?" (My goodness, I think you have become a white person?) He asked as he burst out into laughter.
Me: "No, I have not and I don't see why going horse riding means I have become a muzungu?" (White person)
Friend: "The last time you were in Kyaninga, correct?"’
Friend: "...and now you are going horse riding!"
Me: "Yes, so where is the problem?"
Friend: "Regular Ugandans don't do that."
Then it dawned on me, we (Africans) have boxed ourselves in and set stereotypes of the script our lives should follow. So when we have friends who break the mould we are often called odd/ weird and masqueraders.
Let's think about this critically.
1. A 45 minute horse riding session costs 65,000. Dear Ugandan, this the minimum cost of an outing at Cafe Javas for 2 main meals with no drinks/ dessert. I know some people who partake alcohol and this is not even the cost of 1 night out with the boys.
Flametree stables are located along Gayaza road not somewhere deep in the village. With no traffic it is a 20 minute drive but given Gayaza road's congestion, it will take 45 minutes to 1 hour maximum. So the distance is not the issue as to why we are not experiencing these things. So after this breakdown, I asked my friend whether he still felt I was a muzungu or he simply misjudged the situation because he had limited information. He agreed that it was the latter and my point had been made. So dear Ugandans, let's stop slipping into stereotypes set up by ignorance and misinformation and make decisions for ourselves based on firsthand experience. We are in 2020 you cannot be making the same excuses and judgments without critical thinking like our education was a waste of money.
Everything is possible when you set a goal, plan early and align your priorities. You can imagine some individuals go out a minimum of 3 times a month with the boys/ girls and yet if you save just the cost of 1 outing, the entire crew could experience and explore more that life has to offer.
So please don't be like my friend and let's make creating authentic experiences a Ugandan thing.
Flametree stables is a horse riding school that teaches children and adults how to enjoy the sport of riding or improve and get better. So it is great for beginners and also experienced riders. The horses were well taken care of, the customer service is excellent and the trails within the trees of the 20 acre property are relaxing. I would not be doing justice to the establishment if I did not mention what they are about and where they are located. Just Google them and you will get directions they are pretty easy to find.
Very important Note: Ensure to make a booking before you visit as they are by appointment only especially given the nature of the sport and you must be matched with a horse that fits your weight class as well. So this is a highly professional establishment and it is not advised to eat before the ride and no food is sold on site. This is to ensure that you fully enjoy your ride with no nausea.