A recent meeting between Little Elm Mayor David Hillock and King Rukirabasaija Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, the king of Tooro, Uganda, has turned into a partnership that could last for many years to come.
Tuesday the Little Elm Town Council approved a resolution that will set forth plans to affiliate Little Elm with Fort Portal, the capital of Tooro, as sister cities.
This comes after Oyo visited Little Elm on May 7 while he was in town for his sister’s wedding.
The king visited the Little Elm Public Library and met with Hillock, his wife and town leaders. Hillock presented Oyo with a ceremonial key to the city, and Oyo gave Hillock two handmade gifts.
Oyo described his efforts to grow the economy in Tooro and to create a cultural identity of the Tooro people.
He and Hillock also discussed forming a sister city relationship.
“The reason we met at the library, one of the big discussions for them was a lot of people in their country don’t have access to books,” Hillock said. “There are very few books that are available, and books are a very big deal to him. He loves the possibility of helping more people learn. There are about six million people in his kingdom, so I thought this might be a good opportunity for us to have a cultural exchange between our city and one of the cities in his province.”
Hillock said he envisions a partnership where students from Little Elm and Fort Portal reach out to each other to learn about their cultures.
“Have kids in Little Elm send letters to the kids there,” Hillock said. “Have them write back to the kids here. And hopefully this is something the town can work with the three school districts and create this awareness of this other society that’s on the other side of the world.”
Hillock suggested sending books to Fort Portal. He said Oyo left a book that he signed with the town. The book is about Oyo’s life, which includes the story of how he was coroneted when he was 3 years old after his father died.
“It was a really nice experience,” Hillock said of the king’s visit. “I think it would be a good thing for the kids in this community especially to share in that a little bit.”
The resolution states the town will in the future put together an agreement with Fort Portal.
“No one is expecting anything significant other than that cultural exchange,” Hillock said, “and we’ll make the effort to continue that in the future.”