Last Goodbyes

We are headed to the airport this morning!

Here is our final photo at the convent with the sisters and a few travelers from a parish in Germany. We had a great time getting to know them. They are the most upbeat, enthusiastic people that I have ever met. They brought us together to sing and dance on many occasions and it was truly great.

We made one last stop at Providence Home to say goodbye and see the children in our clothes. I have absolutely fallen in love with the place an I hope that I will have the opportunity to return and spend more time with the children and amazing staff there.

Goodbye for now Nkokonjeru!

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In DeNile

We decided to explore beyond Nkokonjeru this weekend and traveled to Jinja and Bujagali Falls.

Our adventure began with waking up at 5:15am to catch an early taxi out of Nkokonjeru. A taxi is not what it is back home. Here a taxi is not a private hire, but instead a van intended for 14 passengers that leaves when it is full. This is how locals get between towns.

These vans are supposed to hold 14 people, but we left town with 16 and soon acquired 5 more that brought our total to 21. The rows which we would prefer no more than two people were adapted to hold up to 6. People seemed quite comfortable squishing and squeezing into each others laps. The ride was exceptionally uncomfortable, as I was squished on all sides and the driver sped haphazardly down dirt roads that were covered in speed bumps and pot holes. I have to say that by the end of our journey, my bum hurt more from the bouncing on dirt roads than it did my entire cross country bike trip, and my head had hit the ceiling more than all the other times in my life that I , at 5’2, had hit my head total.

We safely arrived in Mukono and had breakfast at the Colline Hotel, where our ride would pick us up.

Our ride drove far safer on the journey from Mukono to Jinja.

Jinja is known for its extreme sports activities ranging from bungee jumping, to ATV safariing. We had arranged to go rafting on the Nile!

We had an amazing day rafting rapids on the Nile guided by a man named Jeffery. I asked Jeffery how he got into rafting and he told the tale of his early river adventures. As a teenager Jeffery spent his time clinging to a jerry can to stay afloat through the rapids. A muzungu heard of this and insisted he learn to raft and later kayak. He is now the top freestyle kayaker in the area. He was able to keep our raft upright through all 8 rapids, but on the last one Bill was thrown out of the raft on the last one. We were able to relocate Bill, but his camera was permanently lost. One of the kayakers was able to take a hilarious video of the adventures that ensued and we have had a good laugh about it after we found out everyone was okay.

We ended out evening with a cruise on the Nile to see the dams and watch the sunset. It could not have been a more amazing day.

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School visits

Sorry that it has been so long since I have posted. The power was out in Nkokonjeru after a huge hail and lightning storm last week. 

Last week we visited local schools to see how they manage sanitation. We visited Stella Marris, the best school in the area, and the conditions these girls live in were quite sad. Over 650 girls share 48 “toilets” at this boarding school. The toilets include pit latrines that must be emptied every 6 months, and pour flush toilets (the bowl of them is in the ground like a pit latrine) where the girls must carry a jerry can of water in with them to flush after they use the restroom. We learned that even at this very expensive school girls are having serious problems, illnesses, and infections from their sanitation conditions.