Monday through Friday, my two lovely teammates Spencer, Maia, and I work tirelessly on our project from 8:30am to 5pm. We have written and rewritten our proposal, budget, contracts, MOUs, and work plan a million times (we finalized everything today though so look forward to that info in my next post!). After work, I generally go back home and read (I’ve gone through 3 books already), or go into town with friends.
Since my during-the-week activities are not too exciting, I’ve definitely begun to live for the weekends here. It’s when I’m surrounded by all of the other interns and we get to do all of the touristy stuff we’re supposed to! Here’s a summary of my weekends so far:
Weekend 1 (6/29-30)- A traditional Ugandan wedding and Source of the Nile!
My first weekend I actually spent mostly with my family. I was my host mom’s brother’s plus one to a wedding in Jinja. It was a lot like a traditional American wedding but bigger, more whimsical, and with a lot more Ugandan music. The decor oddly reminded me of the wedding of Bella and Edward in Twilight!
The next day I visited the Source of the Nile, which is basically a park/restaurant/bar area that marks the base of the Nile River. Gandhi’s memorial is also located there, since his ashes were scattered in the river.
Weekend 2 (7/6-7)- Rafting the Nile River
Most professional kayakers/rafters agree that Uganda has some of the best rapids to raft on. I know I definitely enjoyed being thrashed around Category 5 rapids a little too much. Rafting the Nile River was an entire day trip and we went down a total of 8 rapids varying in intensity. In between each one, we abandoned our life jackets/helmets and swam, laid out on the rafts, and ate mounds of juicy pineapples. It was so relaxing and breathtakingly serene.
We were thrown out of our rafts on almost every rapid, but the last one was definitely the scariest. I was under water for what seemed like an eternity, and every time I came up for air I was just thrashed around more. I finally made it to calm waters then just drifted my way to the end, with lots of bruises as warrior scars. After, even though we were beat and sore, all of the interns went out, and I can honestly say it was one of the best nights of my college career!
Weekend 3 (7/13-14)- Hiking Mabira Forest
Last weekend, we went on a treacherous four-hour hike through a rain forest with monster sized ants that jumped on our legs and bit us until we were bleeding. Don’t get me wrong- I love to hike, but my god, was I miserable that day. I’ve also contracted a concerning rash all over my thighs. It goes very nicely with all of my bug bites though!
Weekend 4/this weekend! (7/20-21)- Krazy Kampala
I’m planning to go to Kampala with a few of the other interns this weekend. My friend Spencer’s host family is attending an introduction ceremony (basically a engagement party, but as big of a celebration as the actual wedding) in Kampala on Saturday, and invited all of us.
We’re hitting up the town that night, and then heading to Bahai Temple and the Bugandan King’s Palace the next morning. *Fun fact: there is only one Bahai temple on each continent. The one in North America is in Evanston, Illinois (where I live and go to school), and the one in Africa is 2 hours away from where I am sitting in Kampala, Uganda. What a coincidence!*
I’ve heard from almost everyone that Kampala is one of the craziest cities in the world. Apparently getting tear gassed then robbed is a thing there. Did I mention we have no idea where we’re sleeping? Yay for weekends!