Tuesday, May 29, 2012

a live production of the lion king

Last Wednesday we headed up to Northern Uganda for a three day SAFARI. I can not being to express how excited we all were.

We drove about three hours out and had lunch at a hotel near the Nile. We then continued another thirty minutes to the entrance of the park, and ventured another hour and a half to where we were staying! It looked like little huts, tents, and rooms with little Pumbas (warthogs) running around. We hurried over to the ferry where we crossed the NILE! It was beautiful. The sun set a warm color over the African horizon  over the Nile as we boarded back into our safari jeep. Animals started creeping out as soon as we started the drive. From antelopes, to small deer like animals, to pumbas running everywhere. They all went so gracefully over the plain as the Lion King silhouette trees covered the land. All of us could not stop staring everywhere, bouncing our eyes from front to back and side to side. So, so phenomenal to see in person. No words can paint the picture as beautifully as it was and no picture can capture the reality of it. The view got even better when we were able to sit on top of the jeep.

Then in the distance, when my eyes fell on the family of elephants walking along, my heart stopped. It was more elephants than I had ever seen in my whole life. It was so hard to realize that those elephants do not just exist in zoos, and that they roam free on the African plains.

We found more elephants, buffalo, antelope, and other animals. Then, we found the giraffes grazing among the trees, and we drove off the path to get right beside them! They are unbelievable to see in person. So tall, and so gentle looking. Past the giraffes we drove up to the water where hundreds of hippos were cooling off with just their eyes staring at us, with the occasional angry hippo opening her mouth.

The main goal of our evening game drive was to find the lions. Apparently they can be a little tricky to find. We lucked out big time, when we turned a corner and found five taking a little snooze. Our driver drove us right beside the lion as it woke up. With my feet dangling over the edge of the jeep, nerves, adrenalin, and excitement were high.

As the we neared the end of our drive, a herd (maybe not a herd, but close enough) of elephants was blocking the road. So close, so big, and so many. We were kind of on a time crunch to get back to the ferry so we had to bang on the truck to get the elephants to move. Well, that angered momma elephant and she was not a happy camper. The ears started to flap, and the trumpet of the trunk started to blow. Terrifying, yet awesome all at once. We ended our day with dinner overlooking the sun set, and headed back to our little huts.

The next day we woke up early to go on a game drive at 6:00 and watched the sun rise over the Nile. The day was filled with riding on top of the jeep watching the animals run, leap, and graze. We came upon about 30 giraffes walking in the horizon, and were able to stop and take it all in. We saw more hippos, and lizards, birds and antelopes, and elephants. I could have rode on top of the jeep for hours upon hours just looking at the horizon.

We came back for lunch and then headed back out to the Nile where a boat took us on the river all the way to the bottom of the falls! We saw more and more hippos and the occasional crocodile!

When we came back I noticed some wild life in the room. I'm okay with some things, but bugs here have no mercy. The ants bite, the mosquitoes attack, and the lizards freak me out. We had a lizard on the wall, which I was not okay with. Even if there is a mosquito net between me and the lizard, there was no way I was going to sleep with that thing. And, on top of that there were two wasps the size of my hand. Again, not okay. Little did I know that would be least of my worries for the night. After dinner, and some bananagrams, we attempted to head back to our hut, only to find a HIPPO blocking our door. Like a real live hippo, just grazing away in front of the door. Rather funny looking back on it, but at the time semi terrifying and interesting. We inched our way as close as we could get without freaking out. We simply had to wait until the big man was done grazing to go to bed. Then, after a long night sleep I was awoken by loud banging and noises. Finally, after convincing myself to open my tired eyes I realized there were monkeys banging on the roof and hanging in the windows! Only in Africa....

After one of the best breakfasts (banana honey pancakes and omelets) we headed to drive up to the top of Murchison Falls! At the top was pure beauty: a rainbow as bright as a painting, falls as big and loud as can be, and rapids splashing water everywhere. So perfect to see God's beauty up there.

After a long drive back, I wasn't feeling too hot. I mean temperature wise I was just fine, but my throat and head were killing me. I woke up the next morning (Saturday) with a fever, aches, and a terribly sore throat. We headed over to "Surgery" (super intimidating name for a doctor's office) and they warned me I may have to be tested for malaria. Praise the Lord I only had strep throat because hearing the word malaria here sounds beyond scary. So this weekend was spent with a fever, sleeping, and trying my hardest to get better so I wouldn't have to sit out on any projects. On Sunday I was still feeling awful and stayed back from going to the village for church with another girl Taylor and David, who is a boy from the village who had a terrible infection on leg that was spreading throughout his body. It was the worst infection I had ever seen. Thankfully we were able to pull the funds together to bring him to the city to go to the hospital to get treatment. David doesn't speak much English and has spent his life mostly in the village. To watch him experience the "city" was such a treat. He was wide eyed, and we had the best time watching Jonah, Veggie Tales edition, and Soul Surfer (3 times...) When I left the room for a little bit I heard my Mac volume go up and down, so I peaked around the corner to find my screen completely zoomed in with David trying his best to figure out Facebook. So, the next few hours were spent going through pictures and explaining to him what everything was, who people were, and America in general. Sometimes (all the time) I forget how blessed I am. Here I am on my Mac, watching videos, and David is amazed at just seeing my family, a Clemson football game, and my house. David thought that even Kampala was beyond his wildest dreams. Going to the grocery store was overwhelming to him. Being here has put so many things in to perspective. Spending that Sunday being sick with David was a blessing in disguise.

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