I am Joe Walker aka Joseph Beyanga, a road safety enthusiast raising awareness about saving lives on the road.

+256 782 602061


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The final legs: Teamwork and friendships will bring down strongholds

By Joe Walker

We tried preparing for the walk both physically and mentally but nothing could have prepared us for the heat on Friday and Saturday. We had been lucky all the days before. It rained on day one as we approached Namawojjolo. It rained on day two as we got out of Mabira Forest and also as we entered Njeru. On the third day, the rain pushed us out of Magamaga, and on the fourth day we had a gentle cloud cover as pushed through Nakalama to Busembatia. From that point on however, all the sun’s fury descended on us from Tirinyi and Budaka all the way to Mbale. At this point if your walking group left you by 10 metres, you were better off calling them to wait for you or simply waiting for the group behind you. My major task shifted from getting to our next destination as fast as possible, to ensuring everyone was okay, taking their water, regulating the pace and ensuring no one was left to walk alone behind the main group. 

It was here that almost everyone in the group started nursing some form of injury or tired muscles or a blister on the soles of their feet or between the thighs. Our support team also became the mobile medical team administering first aid, giving massages to keep the muscles alive or simply ensuring a constant supply of water, bananas, apples or glucose and ORS to add in water to keep the sugar and salt levels in check. Earlier we had had some members suffering from sleep walking but because we kept a close eye on each other, we noticed that and had to immediately take a timeout under the next tree shade to allow the body rest and build energy levels again. Thank God we rested near a family’s sugarcane plantation and we bought some. 

On the last day, we rose from our beds at Budaka, and it is likely that it was the hottest day we walked as the temperature was hitting the ranges of 27 degrees Celsius before 7am! However, we were surrounded by great friends who made the walk easier in many ways. The night before, I had received a phone call from Robert Kabushenga with his team telling me that they were waiting for us in Mbale. They had just descended Mt. Elgon. Daniel Joloba, who I have been friends with since 2002 had arrived the previous evening and Ethan Musolini (Muso) who I have been friends with since 1994 arrived at 5:30am. We started the walk and as we advanced towards Kamonkoli – boooom – my sweetheart, my girlfriend, best friend and wife joined the trail. I was surrounded by enough love and support the heat and blisters had nothing on me. This all gave us the final push to our finishing point.

Daniel Joloba, who I have been friends with since 2002 had arrived the previous evening and Ethan Musolini (Muso) who I have been friends with since 1994 arrived at 5:30am.

The rest of the team, led by Andrew Mwanguhya and Lucky Ninsiima my baby sister on the frontline, were literally flying. The adrenaline of finishing their first long distance walk was carrying them on wings and I think they were 30 minutes ahead of us.

As we entered Kamonkoli, our peerless support team signalled a time-out; we were stopping for breakfast. And who was there to welcomes us? Tom Gawaya Tegulle. He had been in touch with Andrew and promised to welcome us into his area code. If you saw the way he treated us you’d think he was the exceptional hotel owner. He ensured everyone was comfortable, had the right drink, was refreshed and ready for the final assault on Mbale. As we inched close to the city, Amos Wekesa whom we had met on the second day as we emerged out of Mabira, was on his way back from hiking Mt Elgon and was heading back to Kampala. Amos will always pump anyone with sufficient energy to light up all Ugandan roads.

It was getting to midday and it was getting hotter but we had enough energy to finish the final kilometres. On entering the city, I saw two people running towards us. As they came closer I saw who they were and run towards them too! It was Kabushenga and Fiona Ssozi who was also part of the group which had gone hiking Mt Elgon. The meeting of the #Elgon2023 and #JoeWalker teams burst into an explosion no one could script… We had a spontaneous kadodi dance on the streets with crazy energies. Kabushenga had to literally pull me away and push me ahead to keep walking to our next engagement with the Boda Boda riders at Central market before we officially wound up our walk at Mbale Post Office. 

After 243km since we had been flagged off by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, our Kampala to Mbale road safety walk came to an end. It was the shortest but hottest and also most engaging and fruitful. A product of great friendships, collaborations and another testimony of what God can do. If it was only our efforts and with whatever resources we could get, we would never have had such an incident-free walk through such torturous conditions.

Next we’ll talk about the road safety engagements on the road and what next. 

Check out more photos from the final day below;