At an insanely early departure time of 6 a.m TWSB team took a break from its reading, art, and agricultural projects and headed out on a day of White Water Rafting down the Nile River. A local tour company, African Adventures drove us the 2.5 hours to Jinja where they transported us down the historic Nile River. While deceptive in its calmness from the meeting point, a further 40-minute drive later we were to be put to the test.
After eating a delicious breakfast (it was such a treat for us), the team split into two groups: the mild and the wild! You might think this descriptor would distinguish the whitewater rapids the groups would face... And you would be mistaken just as the mild group was! To protect the names of the mild we won’t share who went where but even more so it doesn't matter as essentially everyone ended up in the water at some point. We will, however, share that some of us were more prepared than others to have that near drowning experience as you got spun around, lost all sense of direction and swallowed a gallon of the Nile. Fortunately, we had two amazing guides, Roberto and Sadat who brought us all out the other side of 4 exhilarating rapids.
It was remarkable to have rafted down the Nile River under the beautiful African Sky. The river was so wide with the most beautiful foliage surrounding. We laughed, we trusted each other and have formed meaningful friendships.
Re-energized, we boarded our buses and headed out for a much calmer and educational boat cruise to the "Source of the Nile". The Source of the Nile is the actual start of the Nile and floating along we were brought to Lake Victoria which is bordered by Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. We learned how construction up the Nile was causing water to back up and causing small landmarks to become submerged.
After this absolutely amazing day of fun and excitement (and a little fear at times) we headed back along the road to our guesthouse in Nabagoya village.
While the ride back was in the dark, we would be remiss not to share the unbelievable and very real life moments we saw when we traveled to Jinja earlier in the day. Since we departed so early, we were fortunate to bear witness to the many tasks the average Ugandan family in a rural area experiences. Driving along we saw communities of women gathered around wells where one woman would pump out water into the endless row of jerry cans the women had lined up to fill and carry home to their families. We saw the lighting of the coal cooking stoves that families cook their meals over and laundry being washed. As businesses opened we saw signs hung, goods laid out right outside, often on the ground, and the pride in people as they swept up their doorstep. As we write this, we feel like this is a fraction of the daily chores being tackled. Chores that are not done indoors behind closed doors and with machines or electronics. It was striking how the lives of people are played out outside. Not in a coffee shop where everyone sits alone, computer, tablet or smartphone in front of them not communicating let alone making eye contact. Here the power of community, and the saying that "it takes a village" unfolds before us every day.
So with that, the exhausted TWSB team is off to bed ready and eager to wake early tomorrow and get back to doing our part to contribute to the village.
Written By: Lainie Shore