Time brings change sometime positive but in Africa its predominantly negative. Its so annoying when you hear recycled tales of the past glory of the place you staying at. A case in point is Namasagali located along the mighty River Nile. Its an old colonial town that had its glory days in the ’30s. It boasted of a well functioning railway transport system.
This was used to pick cotton from the sprawling farms in Namasagali as well as other towns that lay around Lake Kyoga. This was controlled by the then colonial government of the British who needed the cotton to feed their industries back home.
The trains were mainly steam engines that took ages just to get between two stations in comparison with the stations available to us today.
The locals worked as station guides and manual labourers whose job was to load the cotton onto the train wagons. The educated ones operated as clerks handling paper work for the transfer of goods between places.
Unlike todays heavily corrupted train system back then the British colonial government ensured smooth running of the train system. It even had a passenger section the helped ease on the load on the public transport buses. No wonder traffic jam even during rash hour was a myth that was not heard of.
Since the town was along a river, they even innovated and had a ferry to transport produce from across the river. This also helped add vatiety to the goods ferried across ftom Namasagali to Masindi and Pakwach at Karuma falls.
The inland port was strategically located at the axis joining key producing areas back then.
The rich too who could afford made it a point to splash their pomp at the river side on this boat cruise.
Not every one fed directly off the river system or the inland port service. But their was room to serve every soul in the area. Others operated as iron smiths a skill imported from the migrants from Kenya. These were mainly Kalejin, Maasai, Lou among different tribes that can still be found in the area to this date.
If you didnt make it as an iron smith or to the educated class then you remained as a fisherman using the simplest of tools to make ends meet. This was usually a canoe and a net which methods are still common to this date in the area amid dwindling fish catches in the area.
Its a pity most of these items like the railway and ferry are a shadow of their former glory.
Most of them lay in waste and rust as the unappreciative youth scavenge them for their steel for resale. Even the pier has not been spared as it stands on its own like a betrayed martyr.
Its a standing statement of the great strides in development but has taken several steps back which is typical of nearly all African coubtries Timbuktu is a perfect example.