1) I am home from Africa! It was an amazing trip and I have so much to tell you in the next week or so. I'm sorry I wasn't able to post as much as I wanted to while gone. The internet was iffy. There were a couple days it was down all together. One day the entire country of Uganda was without connection because a cable had been cut somewhere. Apparently it was a KEY cable! My friend, Kelly, had a modem available for my use, but it didn't work for my computer and I was stealing little snippets of time at an internet cafe near the restaurant we ate at every night. The connection there was slow, however, and my time was very limited, so I chose to communicate with my family instead of wasting half an hour loading a few pictures.
You can expect the Africa posts to be coming soon, but for this Friday (and to rest of my tired brain), I decided post a few silly firsts I experienced in Uganda.
2) My second night in Fort Portal, I was getting stuff adjusted in my bedroom, when a big rumbling occurred. At first I thought it was just a bunch of teenagers running up and down the steps (this shows you what I am accustomed to), but the next morning I learned it was an earthquake. I was in an earthquake! How exciting is that? You don't get to experience THAT in Nebraska!
3) I ate some fruit I've never eaten before. I showed you the jack fruit already, but in addition I tried some guava,
and passion fruit.
(Don't worry. This looks completely disgusting, but it tastes really good. The best way to eat it is to slurp it like an oyster.)
I had a few Bible study sessions in a village called Kabasindagizi (Yep, that's spelled right, people. Now, try to SAY it!). We met under some mango trees and I saw probably 5 mangoes drop from them. I ate one of 'em.
The mangoes were SO MUCH BETTER than any mango I've experienced here. They were less like a melon and more like an orange. I wished I had tried them sooner than Friday, our last day in Kabasindagizi (it's just rolling off my tongue now).
4) We left Fort Portal last Saturday and set out for a 5 hour drive to Murchison Falls National Park to take our safari. Our five hour drive turned into 11 hours when we realized the roads were dirt the entire way. Eleven hours of rutted, narrow, dusty, red dirt roads in Uganda produced an unusual effect on our team.
We all looked like we had bad spray-on tans at the end of our journey! One of the team members had white hair and by the time we got to our lodge, he looked ten years younger with red hair!
5) There were so many times in Uganda I would stop and take in what was happening and just be astounded thinking, "Am I really here? Did I just get to do that?! Did that really just happen?" Going on safari and taking a boat ride down the Nile (on a Sunday, no less) produced a lot of those thoughts. On our game drives we mostly saw giraffes, lots of antelope like animals, warthogs, cape buffaloes and elephants. We held out for lions and stayed in the park longer than we were supposed to, but only managed to get a shadowy glimpse of a three-legged one.
Hippos line the sides of the Nile. We also saw a few crocodiles and the beautiful Murchison Falls.
The baboons are everywhere. I snapped a picture of these guys near the parking lot.
6) African names are very complicated. The Ugandans I met had an African sounding name, a Western sounding name and then they give each other pet names. For instance, someone might be named Kissembo Grace Akiiki. I was so confused as to which name I should actually use. Usually I chose the Western name I could say. There were cultural usages of the pet name that were meant as a form of respect. There were only about 12 pet names and often people had the same one which made it even more confusing. The only thing I could compare it to was the way we might use "dear" or "sweetheart" or "friend," but they gave the pet names more importance than that. I was given the pet name of Abwooli which has no specific meaning and having a pet name made it more difficult for me as there was a certain way to greet people once you knew their pet name. I was so confused and nervous about offending somebody. I decided to just try and the people seemed to respect the effort.
7) I must thank you for your prayers for me. I was out of my comfort zone A LOT while in Africa. My first day there I didn't know how I'd ever make it two weeks and wondered why in the world I ever thought it was good idea to go there. Everything was so different, even the smells. But each day I was buoyed by your prayers and able to do what was before me that day. You helped me make it through and find amazing things along the way. THANK YOU!
The hardest part of this trip, BY FAR, was not having much communication with home. I only called a few times and the internet situation made it difficult to skype. I could usually get a quick email off and that was about it. I really missed talking with my peeps! Again, your prayers sustained me.
Also, I want to thank my husband and family for making this possible. Poor Kevin picked up most of the slack and did a fantastic job. He even tried some new recipes and figured out meals for this week so I don't have to think about it. Who knew I was married to the male Betty Crocker?! Cooking or not, I REALLY missed that guy. So glad to be back with him and the rest of the Boesiger bunch.
There's lots more to tell, so look for posts to come. While you're waiting for them, read more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.