Friday, July 1, 2011

Updates from Kampala, Week 4??

It is hard for me to believe that I have been in Uganda for a month… Although, in hindsight, time usually seems to pass quickly, so I guess this should not come as much of a surprise.
In the office we are continuing to work on the school business challenge, though we were unable to make a trip to Katosi this week (it's about a 2 hour drive from Kampala and we have gone every Tuesday except for this week) to gather the budget for the business and work on the business plan some more. Hopefully next Tuesday we can make the trip and push the project along. Business, travel, communication, and many other everyday activities take quite a bit longer here than in the U.S., and though I'd like to think I have adapted well to life in Uganda, the dramatically slower pace of life here is something that I just can't seem to get accustomed to. As Grant can attest, "African time" is certainly the source of the entirety of my frustrations, whenever they do arise. (Don't worry, it is not often).

Speaking of the slower pace of life here, Grant and I are going to join Rehema's family for church on Saturday to experience a 7th Day Adventist Church service, which is, not surprisingly, an all day affair. We have been informed that it begins at 9 and ends sometime around 5. I am not confident that I can handle such a service, as my childhood was scarred by weekly 6-7 hour long church services that have rendered me rather incapable of enduring services of such duration. We'll see how it goes….

The group (minus Maylotte and Njeri) travelled to Murchison Falls National Park last Saturday where we fulfilled our obligation as American tourists and enjoyed a safari. Hopefully someone else has the technological know-how and equipment needed to post pictures of the safari, as my description will do it little justice. It was, in my opinion, fairly awesome. Although we did not get to see the heavy hitters like lions or rhinos (understandable since I believe there are less than 15 rhinos living in the wild in Uganda), the safari was filled with giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, cape buffalo, elephants, owls, fishing eagles, wart hogs, and more gazelle and other deer-like animals than one could count. In traditional safari-style, we took a car with a pop-up roof that afforded us 360 degree views of the surrounding wild-life and scenery. The landscape honestly reminded me of rural parts of Florida, though the abundance of wildlife here makes the comparison unfitting. After the 4 hour safari we headed back to our campsite to eat lunch and rest before our boat trip later in the afternoon. The boat trip was also quite an experience. Several hundred meters down the river bank a herd of elephants had gathered, though unfortunately we were headed in the opposite direction and did not get an up-close encounter. We rode past hundreds, possibly thousands of hippos (which our guide pronounced (hippo-peaux-tay-musts), several cape buffalo, fish eagles, and spotted some small crocodiles on the shore. Murchison Falls is quite a sight, and the power of the current and the falls prevented our boat from getting to close. We enjoyed the Falls for a few minutes before heading back. The return trip took about half of time-likely the result of riding down river and not stopping so frequently. Our guides were skillful and friendly, stopping frequently to point out different animals and give us time to take pictures. Once we returned to the dock we noticed an elephant in the distance, and the guides we kind enough to let us go check it out. In the same place we had seen the elephant herd prior to departure, an enormous bull elephant was standing by the river. Probably the highlight of the animal viewing for me- it was enormous, and we were able to get within 30-40 feet of it.

Until next time.


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