It has arrived. The dreaded dry season hit us hard. With it comes three new challenges; water, heat, and dust. Saving water is very tricky, something we’ve never had to consider previously. Three examples of ways we have been monitoring and limiting our water usage is through standing in a bucket when showering, taking “bore hole baths”, and most importantly following the golden rule “if it’s yellow, let it mellow”. As a team, we are currently studying Genesis and have found the verse “I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth” (Genesis 13:16) increasingly apt and pretty impressive as the amount of dust everywhere is phenomenal. The majority of our clothes have a red tinge to them, and no matter how much our home is swept it seems to be permanently dusty!
It took the drastic measure of our team holiday to escape the horrors of dry season as the further south you travel in Uganda, the greener the landscape is. The holiday was formed of three parts: Part I was spent at Murchison Falls National Park, Part II was in Lake Mburo National Park and for Part III we took some time in the capital, Kampala, for some rest and relaxation. Here are the top reviews from those who know (i.e. members of Team Uganda).
It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. I was a child who loved spending many a rainy afternoon on the sofa watching David Attenborough, Deadly 60 and any other nature programme on the go. Thanks to this, I had an image and a vision as to what the African Savannah would be like. Now I have seen it with my own eyes and it’s safe to say that it definitely didn’t disappoint! Though the one thing I wasn’t expecting was the 5:30am starts, anyone who knows me well will appreciate the pain this caused me. Yet seeing the beauty of creation in the sunrises over the African plains definitely made up for it. A highlight for me was seeing a pride of lions within 10 metres of our car, just like the real life Lion King! A huge thanks must go to our guide Herbert who could rival Attenborough with his knowledge of animals. I would highly recommend him to anyone considering a similar Ugandan adventure. The three days we spent in Kampala were also a gift. I didn’t know much about the city going in, except that it has an unusually high kidnap rate. Yet we discovered many places to relax, including a cinema, multiple KFCs, and a stunning hotel resort which provided us with pools, steam rooms and saunas (yes, all plurals!).
I can’t really tell you what I thought an African safari would be like but despite this, it exceeded all possible expectations! When we drove into the safari park I was amazed to see an elephant in the distance, therefore you can imagine my excitement when everything from giraffes to lions to hippos, and (my favourite) elephants, were all but metres from our car! The early starts not only allowed us to see more of the animals, but it also brought us a much welcomed breeze which cooled us down nicely, especially before the hike up Murchison Falls which was one of the most incredible things I have ever done (despite my trousers ripping in precisely the wrong place halfway up…) We had an incredible time and made wonderful memories, I would recommend this to everyone who wants to see more of God’s creation and doesn’t mind a bit of dust in their shoes. The time we spent in Kampala was a lovely, busy contrast to the slower pace of the safaris. We found an African craft market where we were able to spend too much money on gifts for family, friends and ourselves!
“Wow”. I can’t put a figure on the amount of times this word escaped me over the course of our five day safari adventure! From the moment we first saw an elephant (before we even reached the park) until the moment we parted ways with our guide, Herbert, the outstanding beauty of God’s creation was encapsulating. It probably sounds like I am exaggerating, but I can assure you that the whole week was far better than I could ever have dared to hope for. Initially because the four course meal the hotel provided us with included steak! I wouldn’t be able to select one moment to be my favourite, but seeing a giraffe so close to the car was possibly the time I used the word “wow” the most. I knew it was likely that we would see some in the distance but they were everywhere and so friendly (well, as friendly as dangerous animals can be). The same thing is true when we entered the second safari park, Lake Mburo, in search of zebras. Wow. On our way to Lake Mburo, we had to cross the equator, it was great fun to be able to take some photos on the *exact* location of the equator, until we were informed that the cliché tourist ‘equator’ is actually about 100m off the official equator. Nonetheless, we still took our tourist photos with pride.
Our holiday was an incredible experience that went above and beyond all my expectations of a Ugandan holiday. We have made some unforgettable memories; one was myself and James insisting that we went on a night walk near our hotel. We then realised we were being followed by armed gunmen who explained that they would escort us for our walk because there were dangerous animals nearby. The girls loved the experience. There was never a dull moment throughout the whole week, even in a taxi in Kampala I had a conversation with the driver about the death penalty for homosexuals in Uganda, and explained that it probably wasn’t the best way forward. The safaris really were spectacular and I loved every moment.
Prayer and Praise Points:
- Praise for God’s incredible creation, and the opportunity we got to experience some more of it whilst having such a great time making memories.
- Prayer for the youth at church, pray that we are able to build further relationships with them through the lunchtime social we’re hosting.
- Praise for an answer to prayer as Olivia, James and Joseph all have places at university for next year!
- Prayer for Gulu University which was supposed to reopen last week, however the teachers and council are still negotiating wages meaning that the students’ exams have been postponed further.