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An amazing 365 days

Feb 21 • 1196 views • No Comments on An amazing 365 days Adventure, Africa, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Conservation, Diary of a Muzungu, East Africa, gorillas, Kampala, Murchison Falls National Park, safari, South Africa, tourism experience, Travel, Uganda, Volunteering

A few highlights that didn’t make it onto the blog before:

Feeding time at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Pure magic. Lilly Ajarova’s project was voted Best Ecotourism Project at the World Travel Market in 2009. Lilly is also a director of Uganda Conservation Foundation, the organisation I work for.

We Kampala VSOs sometimes ask ourselves whether we’re having the real VSO experience: I have electricity (most of the time), a flushing toilet and even internet (well ok sod all internet last week but …) so it was interesting to spend a few days staying at the house of my volunteer friend Steve, on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (home to the gorillas). Seeing the miles and miles of rainforest for the first time from up on high made me feel quite emotional.

Every morning we were woken up by the deafening thud of Red Tailed Monkeys on the tin roof and we had to shoo the resident rat out of the 2 ring gas stove before we could make our morning tea. It all wore a bit thin after two days of rain. Dark and damp, with no way of getting warm or dry, Bwindi in the (frequent) rain reminded me of Scouting holidays in North Wales. I admit I was happy to get back to the dust of Kampala, despite the 11 hour coach journey home…

As for Sharing Skills, the VSO motto, I haven’t done anywhere near as much as that as I’d have liked. I was a bit gobsmacked though when, out of the blue, a Lodge Manager asked me to fix his printer! I waved my wand and did my mzungu magic on it.

The Haven has a stunning view overlooking the Nile near Jinja. Mother even went for a dip! Dawn over the river, watching the early fishermen as the mist rises, is like a dream.

I loved Murchison. We were captivated by the giraffes’ necking!

Nelson Mandela spent nearly two decades on the other side of this metal gaol gate. Uncanny how the African continent has appeared as the paint has chipped away. The Robben Island tour, courtesy of previous inmates, is humbling.

Beans cook on the fire in the kitchen of a boarding school for 600 pupils near Kamwenge, western Uganda. Situated at the bottom of a hill, rainwater rushes through the building creating a gulley.

Last week we passed a petrol tanker jack knifed in Mabira Forest. Scenes like this are very common. The solutions to the problem often involve nothing more than planks of wood.

Simpson and Baldrick keep me sane. Our gate boy Simpson is very wise for his 22 years and helps me understand life in Uganda. He’s also a great dancer! I nearly accused our house girl Eva of stealing 2 avocadoes this morning. Turns out Baldrick had sneaked into the kitchen and grabbed them from the vegetable rack! Dogs and cats love avocado.


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