The Road to Masaka

The Road to Masaka is one of Dominic’s favourite stories to tell. Here’s how it goes (extract taken from Between Two Worlds by Emma Outteridge):

‘If you were to say to me, “How should I get to Masaka?”, what would I reply?’ Dominic asked.

One of the children in the audience stood and explained: ‘You turn right out of the KAASO gates and continue until you reach the main road. From there you again branch to the right and you follow the main road to Masaka.’

‘Ah ha! Yes, you are correct – this is the direct way. But is there another way?’ he asked, a small smile playing on his lips. ‘What if I was to turn left at the KAASO gates?’

I stared at him. Left took you to the shore of the lake – a dead end. Our only way in and out of the village was to turn right and follow the dirt road towards the main Masaka Road.

‘What if I told you that you could turn left, travel until you reach the lake shore, board a boat to the Ssese Islands, cross those islands, board the ferry, and then when you come to the land you take a matatu, a taxi, and you will reach Masaka. Is that not so?’ Bewildered faces stared at him from the crowd, wondering where their Director was going with this tale. ‘It is not the most direct way, true, but you will still reach. That is the point. Me, I was not lucky enough to take a direct route, but still, I made it. I got my degree when I was an old man – a jajja! I was 38 years old but ah! I was not the oldest in my class; there were people there with grey in their hair!’ He rubbed his shaved head, and the students laughed.

‘You see, not everyone is able to take the direct route to Masaka, but even those who take the back roads, they can still make it. And they can reach not just Masaka but even Kampala! Yes, it will take some time. It will not be easy, you will face challenges along the way. But if you know what you want, if you work hard, if you believe, if you are focused, you will reach.’