Craziness and Sadness

All I can say about the Nile River is that it is a completely different world. Imagine that Jurasic Park existed and you got to raft down the river through it. I know, lame comparisn, but that's what it was like for me. I felt like I was floating through paradise or another world. Not that we could bring our cameras, but it wouldn't have mattered. Pictures would never have done it justice. I was absolutely in awe and I got to see monkies (fianlly)! That was my one goal for the rest of the trip to see one monkey and I got see a bunch with baby monkies!! Rafting was fun, though the raft was split with newbies and extreme sportsmen (me having rafted before wanting to go extreme) and so we ended up taking all the easy rapids, which was a little disappointing. I think it would have been amazing to go all out rafting on the Nile! However, the view was more than worth it and it was so much fun hanging out with the group I went with. They were just great and so much fun.

I also got to watch an American football game!! The only guy on our trip, Kris, is a huge Patriots fan and I'm just a huge football fan in general so we went on a mission to find the game and watch it. In the process we found two other Pats fans, had to change bars twice, ALL of us got propositioned by hookers (and yes, by ALL of us I do mean me too and there weren't any male hookers either), and we got back to our dorm at 5am to find the door locked. After an outdoor bathroom break Kris and I then had to scale a concrete block wall with barbed wire wrapped around it! Luckily I've learned to carry my headlamp with me everywhere I go because the lighting around Uganda at night time is not reliable. You'd think that me being as clumsy as I am that climbing a wall covered in barbed wire would result in multiple injuries, but that's the irony of me. I didn't get hurt at all during rafting though my roomie, Lynn, busted her chin open with her paddle and another girl in our group slipped on some rocks climbing into the boat and got scraped up. I also came from my wall scaling experience with out a scratch. And yet I randomly ran into barbed wire here for no good reason the first week I was here, and I just tripped and stubbed my toe again last night for the fiftieth time.

This trip is definitely coming to a close and it's so sad. I feel like I'm just starting to get really close to everyone and now we have to leave. It's been a stressful last couple of days for the group including a odd shooting in Gulu the last night we were there (the rumor is a guy committed suicide) right in front of our hotel at the club we frequented. It was unnerving and scared some of the people. A mugging at night in Kampala of one of my fellow American participants in which she lost all her money and credit cards, luckily her passport was not with her. An eye swollen shut by a bug bite for another one of my friends and finally one of the girls getting malaria even though she was on anti-malaria pills. Everyone's okay and contrary to popular belief in America malaria is Not deadly unless a child or elderly person contracts it, it's kind of like influenza in America, it's just not pleasant to get it. It's just been stressful for everyone around here and the strain of the trip finally hit all in one day. Yes, other than the shooting all of that took place in one day, the day I went rafting and the same day my roomie busted her chin up rafting.

It's been a fantastic trip and I'm very impressed with the GYPA program and the manner in which it conducted the trip. It was perfect and well thought out, though often the schedule was very fluid and not set (which drives me nuts since I'm obsessed with planning ahead) I really think most of what we did was interesting, useful and valid. The greatest thing about this trip is the Action Statement we created and the different relationships that were created. I've really gotten into Abramz project and am goint to help him, but GYPA picked many different community leaders here in Uganda as their Ugandan participants and other American participants are hooking up with other projects here in Uganda through them! It's so great to meet people and find a common interest and passion and create a partnership. Already so many people have planned out their return here and I have a list of different ways I can return and can't wait to plan out which will work out for me. That is the allure and sweetness of Uganda, once you've gotten a taste it's in your blood and you have to return. The fact that I plan on coming back is one of the only thing keeping me from grabbing the ground and not letting anyone pull me away!

I have a full day of travel tomorrow (16 hours on the plane!) and will arrive back into Cincy early Wednesday morning. I'm excited to see my family and to eat some American food! Oh, and I get to watch the Championship games this weekend, only a world war could keep me from watching those games this weekend. I miss watching football so much! At least I didn't have to miss any of my teams' playoff games because neither of them made it.

Love y'all, see you in America!

P.S. I have a ton of awesome pictures that I'll upload once I get home, also the GYPA flickr site will have a ton more uploaded as the American participants get home.


angie said...

I've gotten such a kick out of reading your Ugandan posts. Sounds like you're having a wonderful time and learning tons. Have a safe trip back & be prepared for some culture shock when you get home. It's strange how the littlest things will seem bizarre after you've been gone for a while.

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

Wonderful posts, Mai Wen. Thank you for sharing.

Brett Battles said...

Hope your trip home wasn't too taxing. Welcome back!!!


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