I want to say a big thank you to everyone that commented on my last post in the various ways they did. Its good to hear that people identify with how I am feeling and good to read the insights people have shared from their own travels and experiences. I have to say I feel more motivated than ever to use my opportunities and privileges (be it education, money, mobility, support network, etc) to the best possible ends.
And thanks for all the birthday wishes! I feel special.
I think more interactive blogs are in order, cause it was really quite something to hear from people like that. :) I'll have to put my thinking cap on...
In the meantime, I'll brief you on my last week, which has been a very interesting one. Last weekend, I went with a few friends to Jinja near the coast of Lake Victoria where we went white water rafting on the source of the Nile. It was crazy! And by crazy I mean really fun. We went through four different grade 5 rapids, flipped over twice, fell over on numerous occasions... We even paddled through a thunderstorm. At one point, someone on one of the other boats got stuck in a waterfall and the kayaker who went to help him got stuck as well. The rafter got out okay, but the kayaker was struggling for ages and no one really new what to do. Eventually he got out of his kayak and it floated away down river and he got pulled out by the safety raft.
Our guide Juma was a great guy, who told awesome stories (lies) about himself, which we later found out that he is well known for doing. He told us that he had moved to Jinja from up north cause he was a drug dealer and the rafting guides were some of his biggest clients. Then they decided to teach him to guide rafting and he gave it up to earn an honest living. I will note here that he was quite serious and believable (and it wasn't just me that believed him). It was one of those things where you assume that if it was the truth, he wouldn't have told us, unless he assumed that on one would believe it was the truth even if he told it to them. Anyway, he also told us he had been guiding for four months and hadn't quite gotten the route figured out yet. Turns out he's been doing it for ten years. And he's a musician, which he failed to mention. He said he was a pimp too, which I am happy to say we didn't believe. But he very seriously said it was an ok job, but he did it cause the money was good.
When we asked Juma about parasites in the water (there were crocodiles. too), he told us we just had to drink ten beers when we got back, then we would pee out all the parasites, and if we were hung over the next day, we should go jump in the Nile.
On the last rapid, Juma flipped us over on purpose, cause we had only flipped once and apparently that wasn't enough. When we went over the waterfall and he told us to get down and hold on, he also told us to enjoy this flip. We flipped back over front and everyone got pushed really deep by the waterfall pressure. I was down long enough that I ran out of breath and almost inhaled a lung-ful of water. When I came up I was gasping and coughing and out of it for a while as I tried to navigate through the waves and rapids. It was pretty scary. The others in the boat had similar experiences and we all got out shaken but soon were laughing and wishing we could do it again. When we reached the buses, we couldn't find one of our friends. She came up almost ten minutes later. It turned out she had been under the water for about 200 metres and couldn't reach the surface. She said she had actually thought she would drown and had started thinking she wouldn't make it to South Africa and would never see her boyfriend again. She didn't know how the kayakers found her, but when they pulled her up, she had her shorts and bikini bottoms around her ankles. Oh man.
Even though I didn't get a chance to do a bunch of the things I wanted to do while I was here, I'm really glad I got to do that. They are planning to dam the Nile
That Monday, I spent the day with my friend in Kampala and in the evening Emma, a friend and Edirisa employee, came to show us around a couple of the projects for street children in the city. More about that soon, but I have to go for dinner. Rolex....mmmm.