This Blog Entry is a part of my Uganda Trip Page. Click Here to read all of the blog entries as well as information about the Nakivale Refugee Settlement, the American Refugee Committee & how to help.
Today I woke up to the sounds of exotic birds chirping in Entebbe, the capital city of Uganda. I peeked out my window and saw a monkey scatter his way along the road in the early morning light. Later I was told that I was lucky to see one - they usually only come out at night.
A fellow American Refugee Committee traveler named Jon and I walked across the street to Lake Victoria. It is the largest inland lake in Africa. The water was very still and reflected the colors of the morning sky. It reminded me of our beloved Great Lakes back home. Sadly there are signs stating that you cannot swim in the lake. It has been polluted by surrounding factories. What torture it must be in the heat and look at this forbidden water.
After a breakfast of mangoes, salted avocado, eggs and coffee, we gathered up as a group of 7 and loaded into a van. It was time to make the 5 hour drive to Mbarara.
Even though we had just completed nearly 24 hours straight of travel, I welcomed the thought of a long drive. I was catching my first glimpses of Uganda in the light and I wanted to see as much as I could!
The drive was very surreal. Lack of sleep plus scenes straight out of a Nat Geo magazine had me constantly wondering if this was real life. Women wearing colorful dresses balancing baskets on their heads, children happily playing shoeless in the dirt, crazy moto drivers flying by with loads twice the size of themselves. Goats everywhere. Brightly colored doors with litter strewn about. Palm trees and policemen. Fields of corn and other crops. And water canisters piled up on every empty space available.
It was nice to see a bit of the capital and some of the rural towns today! Everywhere we went people were very outgoing and welcoming. I felt totally safe.
We had a great time stopping at the equator for lunch. They had a little demonstration set up where you could watch water go down a drain and rotate in different directions depending on which side of the equator you were on.
We are almost to Mbarara now where we will gather as a group tonight, have dinner and prepare for our first day at the Nakivale Refugee Settlement tomorrow.
As I have mentioned before, I am traveling with the American Refugee Committee. There are several staff members in my group. I am also traveling with a few other photographers and social media folk. We will be staying in a hotel in the town of Mbarara and driving down a dirt road for an hour each day to reach the Nakivale Refugee Settlement.
I am excited to share with you the sights and stories of the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in the next few days. It is an area that most foreigners are not allowed to visit.
And we get to do so much more than just visit! We get to meet the people, learn their stories and run a 5k with them!
Thanks for taking the time to follow along on my travels!