When we visit Buvuma Island out in Lake Victoria, we stay at a certain guesthouse. We stay there because they have come to know us, and it is adequate to our needs and our budget. I, Bob, have stayed there repeatedly now over a period of three years, and Gail has visited at least once previous to this trip. Now the island is beginning to see the far edge of investment and development as large and small investors are both establishing enterprises on the island. A company called Bittico, that produces palm oil, is taking up much land to grow palm trees, and they will bring infrastructure to the island that moves them toward the 21st, or at least the 20th, century – water pumping stations, electricity, and perhaps some improvements in the ferry and the road system. Another investor is a small operation that has bought up some acreage near the ferry site to grow hibiscus, which is used for medicines, and even a quite pleasant tasting juice drink.

The other noticeable development is in the area of tourism. This has been slow to come since the infrastructure has been very low profile and the guesthouses very few. But a new guesthouse has been built and is now open on the top of a high hill that commands a wonderful view of the lake and the surrounding islands to the west. It is called Palm Resort Buvuma. They have chosen a fine location and have installed a very attractive little campus.

I became aware recently of their website – yes, they even have a website – and was quite impressed with its professional quality. I poked around through the many pictures and a few tidbits and stories about Buvuma Island for an hour one night. It was very well put together, and it gives a good representation of the site for the guesthouse, the view of the lake, and the amenities.

The view of Lake Victoria and surrounding islands from the Palm Resort Guesthouse on Buvuma Island.

The view of Lake Victoria and surrounding islands from the Palm Resort Guesthouse on Buvuma Island.

This hill where they have positioned their guesthouse is the very hill where Alfred and I would go every night while on Buvuma island so that I could get a cell phone signal strong enough to reach home in the U.S. and talk to Gail. I have never been able to get service down near the guesthouse by the lakeside where we normally stay. The building where we have usually taught the Lake Buvuma Bible Institute sits directly at the bottom of this hill. The students would come out from the classes at day’s end and stand around chatting with each other. Then, every evening, as soon as Alfred and I had the car packed up with our teaching paraphernalia, they would watch us  drive up this small rocky and winding road to the top of the high hill behind the building. They found out in time, of course, why we were going up there. Then one day I discovered that they had renamed the hill – they were calling it “Bob and Gail Hill,” and this is the name by which our Institute students identify this prominent landmark now. What a blessing! I think we should get a plaque installed. The site of the Palm Resort Guesthouse is only a stone’s throw from the exact place where I stood each evening to call home to Gail.

Also, as the Palm Resort opens for customers, there is another new guesthouse being built down at the lakeside at Kitamiru, the main village of the island. This area is one of the traditional landing sites for the fishing boats of the island, and has undoubtedly been in use for centuries, but the view will never equal that of the Palm Resort. Things are beginning to change on this island, and no one is sure how it will affect the lives of the locals.

All in all, the introduction of these guesthouses, and especially the Palm Resort, which sits in such a lovely setting, will draw tourists, who will in turn draw business, which will in turn improve the lives of the population and raise the standard of living. We are able to watch the slow process as we return every four months, and it is a rare opportunity to watch progress (we hope) advance step by step right in front of us.

I heartily recommend that you check out the Palm Resort website and its beautiful pictures and interesting articles, and get a different perspective of Buvuma Island – www.palmresortbuvuma.com.