Monday, May 28, 2012

10 Days in Uganda

I must say, Uganda us a really nice country, lots of greenery, great roads (compared to the majority of South Sudan) affordable accommodation, great wildlife, awesome people and a hugely inflated currency which means you can be a millionaire for the small price of around 410 US Dollars. Also before I get started, on the subject of the arrest I mentioned in the last blog it is true. I know I did kind of cry wolf on April fool's day but I assure you this time it is true. Without further ado, the round up of our time in Uganda....

On Thursday the 17th of May we arrived in Entebbe, Uganda after a 2-3 hr flight from the tiny Yei airstrip via MAF, A missions-based flight agency. The plane was a little 12- seater and fortunately there nwas very little turbulence. On the way we stopped off in Nimule in South Sudan to drop off another passenger and got a view of a couple of Anti-Air guns and a machine gun, setup next to the runway. Immigration was super smooth and we found our driver who was to take us to the Kingfisher Resort in Jinja after only a few minutes wait. The drive was about 3 and a half hours, quite a bit longer than expected but short enough to be bearable. We arrived at the Kingfisher resort at about 6:30 pm and had an hour long wait for our food. The place was amazing. A large-sized simming pool, awesomely designed rooms with 6-8 layers of thatching for the roofs and great location on the shores of Lake Victoria (you don't swim in lakes in Africa unless you want bilhazia or to be a Hippo/Croc's dinner). The NZ director of Pioneers was there already with some lollies, etc. that people from our church in NZ sent us (Thanks guys!) mmmm pineapple lumps. The next day was super chill with only a few of us plus the enormous Perry family who have 10 kids (some of which are adopted, including their recently adopted twin boys from South Sudan). The kids practically attacked me in the pool and didn't stop asking me to throw them into the pool and the like for about an hour. 

Lunch Break, ugali and meat for lunch today. Seems there's been an explosion in Nairobi City with injuries and possibly dead. Hope our friends are ok there.

Anyway, on Saturday the rest of the kiwi contingent arrived from Nairobi. Not long after they arrived mum and I went with Lisa and Greg Bowman (who also work for Across, but in Nairobi) to a backpackers called Nile River Camp, we were expecting something pretty scungy but found that the place was beautiful, with awesome views, great pricing for both accommodation and food and also had flush toilets :). The reason we left the resort to go here was to cut costs for the white water rafting we did on the following day. That evening there was a large group of people watching the champions league final at the camp bar/restaurant, an epic game I might add. The day started fairly early with about a 7 o clock rise, with a short trip to the main base and rolex for breakfast, short for rolled eggs, you can buy it in South Sudan also. Its basically an omelette wrapped inside a chapati and is very good. We left to go out onto the water around 8:30am and after an hour so drive we arrived at the launch point where we learnt the calls, etc. necessary for the day. We started down the first rapid around 10 am which was a rather large one. Had we paddled harder we could have gone over a waterfall but our group was too weak. One thing that was awesome was that we had a kiwi instructor with us so we could have some good chats with him about all sorts to do with NZ. There were ten of us in the raft and effectively half of us were kiwi (Lisa is an American turned Kiwi because she married Greg haha). Before lunch we did 4 rapids and afterwards we did 3, finishing with a raft flip. Lunch was good and we all downed it pretty fast. The first rapid after lunch was basically the tail end of a grade 6, which means you basically dont raft it unless you are a legend. We finished the day around 3-4ish with an epic flip of the raft on the last rapid called the nile special (I will put some photos up later) and floated down stream sucking in a bit of the nile before climbing back in the rafting and making it to the end. Followed by some cold drinks and a long trip back to the main base in the pouring rain. We all played some cards in the evening along with a young instructor from England who is in Uganda working for a year, he made us a pretty cool video of the rafting, which he had filmed, and included for us a ton of photos.

On Monday we arrived back at the resort to a warm welcome from the kids, I met quite a few cool other missionaries and it was good to talk to a few that were close to my age and hear what they are doing in different countries in East Africa such as South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and even from South Africa (not really East Africa). One girl (who was probably closest in age to me) is from Oz and is working in a pretty remote part of Uganda with veterinary stuff. For those who are interested her blog is here It's worth a look. Actually before I say more, the reason we were in Uganda in the first place was for this conference. It was a meet up that happens every 2 years for all the Pioneers workers in East Africa. Fortunately I timed it right to come this year and be a part of it. Throughout the weekend there was a bit of banter between the Kiwis, Australians, Americans and Brits which was actually refreshing. Every day started with worship and we had training on every day in the slot before lunch, often with free time in the afternoon. On Wednesday we had pizza for dinner which was so great we all probably ate too much. On Thursday we took a boat ride on Lake Victoria and down the source of the nile looking at wildlife, etc. which was super mellow. The last 3 nights (Wed. Thur, Fri) were full of games of mafia with some of the others which was great, despite a lack of success. On Friday we went into Jinja town and did a bit of touristy shopping, I was told by some shop owners I was very stubborn, that amused me.I bought a couple of shirts and some souvenirs for those of you funding me back home and for some mates.

On firday I also had a talk with some of the senior Pioneers staff and Across staff about the situation with funding and its consequences. The problem is that if we don't get funding then Fly Sports will be shut down which will actually mean that Manny has to return to England with his wife, Grace and daughter Naomi. for what will probably be year beginning around August. This will mean I will be without my one mentor for the last 3 or so months of my tenure. We discussed what I will do and it looks like I will get involved with teaching guitar at YTTC. I also might get involved with scripture union, but Im not the most excited about doing so. Finally I will probably get involved with helping the Perry family run the hospital up the road from Across and be involved with the business side of things which I would love to do and am really looking forward to discussing with Jeff. All in all it is going to mean a lot of self-motivation and imagination to decide for myself what will occupy my days (as I coach in the evenings). This topic is actually something I would appreciate prayer for as it is weighing on me a bit at the moment.

(Back to Uganda)
On Saturday there were many goodbyes as usual and was probably the least enjoyable day because we all have to go back to reality. Not only that but we travelled for 10 hours in the car from Jinja to the border town of Arua in the north. Here we stayed the night at the YWAM base and then left for Yei the following morning after a brief stop at the Arua supermarket where I bought the most enormous block of Gouda cheese to take back to Yei, seeing as you can't get cheese in Yei. After about 4-5 hours of driving we arrived back in Yei for a birthday barbecue dinner for one of the young kids on the compound, a nice way to end a day of travelling. Now we reach today. I've been meaning to go into town to buy a few essentials but have been bogged down so far by the need to blog out my life from the past month and the inability to have use of a car until only the last hour or so. Blog done, finally. I hope this makes for good reading and sorry if the grammar, etc. doesn't make sense, I'm too lazy to proofread and speaking African English kind of harms your English skills a bit.

Until the next time I can be bothered to put in the effort needed for blog.
Stay well and God Bless.

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