So it’s been a long time (a year actually!) since I published an entry about the Uganda Project. 24 days of this inspiring project with Softpower Education in Murchison Falls, Northern Uganda, has been recorded and there’s still more days to write about!
So seeing as I’m a travelling break due to unforeseen circumstances at home, I thought there’s no better time to finish off my time in this beautiful African country. Last time I left you was that we came back to South Uganda to the city of Jinja to our old haunt of National River Explorers campsite to take part in an activity that we were all absolutely aching to do since we first arrived there.
Day 25 – 7th July 2007
Still feeling the bristles of the broom that got whacked into my face after pandemoium unleashed involving a rat, I woke up and became truly excited what the day lay ahead. We were back in NRE Campsite in Jinja and we were to do an activity that we really wanted to do since we first arrived.
WHITE WATER RAFTING!
We were to white water raft down the River Nile! How often would you hear that?
After getting up and changed into clothes that could afford to get wet, I managed luckily to borrow a waterproof bag from Laura to store my hearing aids in. I mean, I really didn’t want to spend all day without hearing anything. So only through the water activities I would store them and take them out once on dry land.
Driving to the registration point, we were promptly given a HUGE Breakfast. It was truly going to be a long day ahead as they explained while they kitted us up in the buoyancy gear and helmet. Luckily, the one size fits all helmet fitted me! Arriving at the beach point, the instructor for our raft went through the safety and basics of the moves we were expected to do. And off we went! Deaf and blindly following the guy in front of me copying his moves, we shortly reached our first set of rapids. We capsized. Oh dear, and this was meant to be our tamest set of rapids. I didn’t really hold out much hope. Probably the same hope as the rapids sucked me down to the bottom of the Nile and I thought I would meet my maker in the jaws of the crocodile. Gladly to say, I did not.
Paolo, sensing that we needed to boost our confidence, very kindly made us do some stunt defying moves as we went down some further rapids such as all of us holding on to each other as we stood on the edge of the boat itself. Definitely a huge confidence booster as we were the only ones that remained in the boat whilst the others fell off into the rapids. Okay, we did fall ungraciously IN the boat as we left the rapids.
A few more rapids later, we stopped for lunch in a calm stretch of water and we practised backflipping in the boat. Such fun we were having that some of us did a swimming competition as we went to see who swam the furthest. I knew I was winning when I turned round and saw the others swimming BACK to the boat. Still at a distance downstream of the boat, I floated until the boat got nearer. They kept waving at me. So I waved back. But still they kept on waving. I soon tired of waving back and stopped until the boat came nearer and I saw the stricken look on one of the other’s faces. They were waving at something BEHIND me. Huh? I turned round and on the bank at quite some distance from me, laid a crocodile sunbathing. Oh, shit! I started swimming gently back to the boat and I immediately got hauled on at the same time as the croc slipped in the water. Talk about lucky!
Shrugging my shoulders and laughing in the face of death, we paddled to another set of rapids. But the rain absolutely thundered down from nowhere. So much that it was impossible to see what was in front of us and Paolo had to call off doing this set of rapids as we approached it, it was the size of a few houses on top of each other. Lightning struck across the sky and we were truly in the midst of a raging storm but still we paddled after bypassing this set of rapids into another. Still the same size, we plunged through it and somehow managed to survive it after getting the whole of the Nile into my face. But afterwards, everything was called off. The Rover Nile swelled with such speed that we had to abandon ship off some rocks and scrabble up a really muddy hill. One false slip and you would be careening down into the River Nile never to be seen again. It was probably the most I felt like I was in danger! Why did I have big feet? Only my toes would stick themselves into the side of the hill only to slide a lot. Reaching the top, the rain turned freezing and the only thing we could do was wait for the jeeps to arrive. We had a beer each to calm our nerves until they arrived. The rain was that cold that I was sorely tempted to plunge into the River Nile but I thought the better of it.
Clambering back on the trucks, we still were open to the elements as the rains lashed across my face but I was still happy. I survived the River Nile and I must have had an inane grin on my face probably scaring everybody. Reaching back to the campsite, we had hot showers, and I opened to find my waterproof bag to find a gallon of water inside with a special hearing aid submerged. FECK.
Now Luck was against my side.
Tired out, I went back to bed after dinner and left my hearing aid to dry in the hope that it would work in the morning. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease.
Apologies for the lack of photos, the camera may have met the same fate…but enjoy a picture of the River Nile with an inquisitive hippo.