Thursday, January 28, 2010
Rebekah came to visit me for about a month in Rwanda. The first trip we took was to a town called Gisenyi on the northern coast of Lake Kivu in Rwanda. I brought her there to show her an acrobat troupe that I had seen there before. We spent the day juggling with them and swimming in lake Kivu. Rebekah taught them a bunch of juggling tricks and they showed us their incredible acrobats. I also showed her around Rwamagana of course.
Second, we went to Uganda. After a 13 hour sleepless BuMpY bus ride we arrived in the capital of Uganda, Kampala. We walked around town for a couple days exploring the large sleepless city and feasting on cheap delicious indian and ethiopian food. We stumbled on a beautiful hindu temple that was decorated for the Hanuman (Hindu monkey god) feast day. We took our shoes off and wondered around the beautiful temple adorned with statues of gods, elephants and buddhas. After our quiet walk through the temple, we walked through the largest thatch structure in the world where 4 Ugandan kings are buried. Our tranquil tour guide walked us through the history of the site, Kasubi tombs, slowly and allowing time to explain everything in detail. After a couple nights, we went to another city called Jinja which sits at the mouth of the Nile as it flows out of Lake Victoria, away from the equator and eventually through Egypt. The moment I touched the Nile was one of the most memorable moments of my life, in part because I was on the end of a 145 ft bungee cord elbow deep in the water. Soon enough, I was completely submerged in its massive rushing rapids holding tight to my raft and paddle. We managed to do an extremely difficult complete backflip the first time we flipped our raft. The second, third and fourth times were relatively unexceptional... except for the second flip which happened at the bottom of a class 5 rapid where I, along with all but two passengers (one of them Rebekah, an ingrained childhood circus skill I imagine) became detached from the boat and had to swim my way back to it. After lunch on a private island we continued on with only four passengers, we lost three in part due to an injury. We continued on, down more high class rapids including a waterfall that dropped probably about 15ft. About this time it started raining. The waters were calm at this point but the sky was all but calm. Soon the rains and winds had drastically dropped the temperature and we all jumped out of the raft seeking the warmth of the Nile and hoping nor crocodile would disturb us. Lighting was striking all around us... and very close I might add. For a minute I thought to myself, “so this is how I go, huh” and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. The rain caused visibility to drop just as drastically as the temperature leaving us seemingly alone and our safety boat and kayakers and the other raft were completely out of site. As we floated down the river holding on to our raft, we started swimming as hard as we could perpendicular to the river trying to reach land that we knew was somewhere beyond the thick cloud of mist but could not be seen. Our progress couldn't be known but what we did know is that a 6 class (the highest of all classes) rapid lay somewhere downstream. With no idea of how close it was, we jumped back into the freezing raft and paddled as hard as we could toward land. After a while we reached our destination point where we walked around the class 6 rapid only to get back in for a class 3 and 4. Then we finished... exhausted, shivering, adrenaline pumping and smiles of two kinds... of relief and of satisfaction.