This past weekend we went back to Jinja to whitewater raft 36 km up the Nile. It was a great weekend. We got up early on Saturday and were supposed to meet at a hotel in Mukono town. Luckily a guy’s family who lives near me has a car, so his mom drove us through the town and we didn’t have to carry our bags all the way there, or leave as early. I was very thankful for that.
We got to the resort and sat around for awhile, then got all prepped for the rafting. We divided into rafts, and tried to go by how intense we wanted to be. Our raft chose ‘mild’, then decided maybe we could go for ‘medium’. By this time some people had left our raft group and chose another because they wanted to be more intense. Then we headed down the hill to get on the water.
Our guide’s name was Olow, and he was very funny and knowledgeable of the river. He also liked to flip our raft when we went through the rapids. The groups that wanted to go more intense and wanted to flip (some of whom had left our group earlier) only flipped once or twice, so I don’t know how THAT worked out. There were definitely times when our group was done being thrown into the water.
This is the first rapid we went over. I think it was a class 2. Most of what we went on were class 4s and 5s. This is also the view from the restaurant/bar at the resort. To the left of this was the tower where people bungee jumped.
We went over a waterfall that was maybe 10 ft, and the girl behind me fell out, and on her way out she landed on my back, and another girl head butted the girl’s helmet in front of her. That was a pretty painful one, but everyone stayed in the boat minus the girl behind me.
The next rapid was the worst for everyone I think. We could choose to go on a 3 or 4, and most rafts chose the 3, but ours (a few people on it at least—I think they were still feeling a high from making it through the waterfall) voted for the 4, so that’s where we went. We made it through the first big wave, then went down into the crater of water and then flipped on the big wall of water coming at us. It’s a pretty scary feeling when the raft lands on you, and you can’t find the air pocket under the boat, and so you’re trying to figure out where the surface is. I’m so thankful for Hanna though because after every flip she would make sure she found me and would tell me that I was okay. I needed that reassurance. I’m just thankful for her.
The last rapid was probably my favorite memory. By that time most of the people on our raft were pretty much done with being on the water and being flipped, so we had asked to take it easy on the last one. We started heading toward the huge waves that everyone before us had flipped on, and Olow told us to ‘paddle hard!’ We all started screaming things like:
“We don’t wanna flip!!”
“Where are we going??”
“I don’t want to paddle!”
“I don’t want to do this!!”
“Where are you taking us!?”
…and we just continued to scream the whole time we were paddling hard toward the waves, but we made it through them and did not fall out or flip, thanks to our guide. After we realized we had survived the trip, we just started laughing at ourselves. Olow was a good sport about us yelling at him, and made sure we had the full experience of rafting the Nile. It was a good time, although now my body is super sore, and I have a lot of bruises.
This is our raft. I am in the white t-shirt.
After we got back we had hot showers and could sit around and relax and eat some food and wait for the video they filmed of our rafting trip, and then we all went to sleep, and laughed at how it was 11 pm on a Saturday night and a bunch of college kids were going to bed.
During the early morning we kept hearing something running on the roof, and when we left the dorm, there were monkeys running all around the paths and in the trees. It was pretty sweet.
Most of Sunday was spent watching half the group bungee jump, and then eating lunch at a nearby resort (because our resort ran out of food, and ours was more expensive anyway). We left around 3:30 and then walked home once we got back to Mukono. Usually I’m not really excited to go back to my homestay after a weekend away, but this time I wasn’t nervous or unhappy to be going home, which was nice. I was looking forward to dinner, because another thing I realized this weekend is how much my stomach/taste buds have changed since I’ve been here. I’m going to have to be careful when I go home. I have had pizza 3 times since I’ve been here, and each time I have gotten sick, so there will be no more pizza for Jill in Africa. And I was looking forward to matoke and rice when I went home. I really enjoy the food here now (although there are still some things that I try to avoid if I can).
It was a relaxing weekend, or at least a good release for most of us. Next weekend we go to Luweero, and then we have a free weekend, then the next weekend, week, and the weekend after we will be in our rural homestays. Then it’s November. Which is crazy.
Papers and projects are starting to be due in classes, so I’m trying to stay ahead of schedule, but it’s difficult when I can only work on homework until 6:30 (because I have to be home by 7), and weekends can’t be used for homework because we are at our houses. And it’s hard to take homework home because we have to carry it and we’re supposed to be spending time with our families. But it’s all getting done, and I think it is manageable. I enjoy classes though. Today we started Luganda lessons so we can learn some basics of the language. Another thing to add to the schedule.
Thanks for reading.
Hope all is well, and your week is blessed.