These past few days have been spent in Jinja, Uganda’s second largest city. Jinja is considered the source of the Nile River (which as I mentioned actually flows North) so many of the activities have been based around the river. We spent the first day white water rafting which was quite the adrenaline rush on the grade 5 rapids! We had a great guide named Peter who was hilarious and constantly cracked jokes throughout the day, making the adventure that much more fun! For instance, Muzunga means white person over here so Peter was always asking whether we needed more Muzunga cream (sunscreen)… ha! We started off the day with some brief rafting lessons ,which consisted of learning how to flip over the raft, before beginning down the 26 kilometer course… so not only was it a fun day, we got in quite the workout as well! The river consisted of 10 rapids, some of which had six or seven meter drops. Safety was of course a priority as there were seven passengers per boat and seven kayakers to pick up the Muzunga pieces (as they joked) as we went down the rapids. We lost our guide twice in the process and during one of the times, we were still in the rapid so one of the kayakers jumped on with his kayak to guide us through the rest of it! We were doing so well as a raft-team until the final two rapids where we flipped on each. After flipping, the rapid essentially just felt like a huge wave pool and despite it being a bit scary as you were being tossed around in the waves, it was a lot of fun… and fortunately the water was pretty warm so it was nice to have a bit of a swim! The last rapid was called the Nile Special as nearly all of the rafts flip while going through it! Then we had a bit of time to float and swim in the Nile as well as do flips off of our rafts (let’s be real… they don’t have too strict of rules here… ha!) before heading to the barbecue which they had prepared for us and oh was it delicious! Yesterday we went on a sunset cruise around the lake on which we are staying which was gorgeous! We also went into town and walked Jinja, doing a bit of exploring and shopping in the afternoon. The food here is incredible and extremely inexpensive. I bought a 3-egg omelet for a dollar as well as chapati, a crepe-like dough filled with either a savory or sweet filling, for another dollar… we only buy lunch as we eat breakfast and dinner together but fortunately the lunch isn’t too daunting on the budget! Ha! Tonight for dinner we got a special treat as a local African lady named Fatima cooked us a traditional African dinner of sweet potatoes, rice, a meat dish, spinach, pumpkin sauce, and mashed bananas… it was delicious!!! The past two days have been pretty relaxing which have definitely been wonderful. Traveling tends to be quite exhausting so having some time just to read, nap, and relax has been greatly appreciated. Further, internet access has been hit or miss depending on which campsite we are at… and even if we do have internet, the connection is questionable as either the wifi is unavailable or the power randomly goes out. Luckily we’ve had decently good internet the past few days so I have been able to do a bit of planning as my mom plans on joining me for two weeks in Johannesburg and Cape Town at the end of my trip! Tomorrow we are headed to Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city, where we will pick up six more passengers… rumor has it, I will still be the only American (kinda weird!). I hope to have some pictures for all of you of us rafting but for now, I will leave you with a youtube video of the rafting and a few other pictures!
Rafting video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiroLx8dL5E