I had set off to leave from my home to embark on my most proudest journey to date on the 24th June 2015.
Many bags packed, regretfully so as it turns out: Rule No. 1 PACK LIGHT. I never got the memo.
We left Manchester Airport, delayed, to Dubai where we were quickly ushered off the flight by stewardesses who ran us through security in order to make our connecting flight to Entebbe. In this case, our luggage didn’t get the memo, and remained in Dubai airport until further notice.
Unbeknown to us, we celebrated with a couple of vino’s and with the altitude in our favour, we got merrily drunk and chatty with the nice man next to us, who we beat on the aeroplane quiz games for a good chunk of the journey.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, we arrived in Uganda and had to fill out a billion forms having seen the scatty small sign by the baggage arrivals with our names on reading, “Olivia and Hannah, please report to desk”. Luckily, our transport was at least there to pick us up, and we somehow managed to meet with the rest of the group without the aid of working phones or wi-fi in the airport. Thus, we then endured our first rickety bus journey through the jungle and impatient African traffic. Oh god, do they drive close to each other, I thought on several occasions how dreadfully tragic it would be to have travelled all this way just to die in a collision. I remember asking someone later about which side of the ‘road’ they drive on in Uganda, to which they replied “whichever one is the best side.” Welcome to Africa!
Nevertheless, we FINALLY arrived at Nile River Camp in Jinja in the pitch black. Even though it was dark we could tell it was beautiful from the sounds of wildlife all around and the hush of the water, which we later discovered the next day was the beautiful Nile. However, for that night, it was time to celebrate.
We went to our first Ugandan night club, experienced bizarre Ugandan alcohol (which is significantly stronger than the alcohol back at home), and we danced with a local, Fiona, who taught us typical Ugandan dancing – although obviously we couldn’t move like she could. We discovered ‘black Smirnoff Ice’s’ which actually turned out to be the devil in-disguise. I think they were 9% for a tiny bottle, yet tasted as sweet as lemonade. Anyway, they were definitely the reason behind us skinny dipping in the camp’s pool that night. What a first night. Anyway, the next morning we woke up feeling worse for wear, yet got to see how truly beautiful the camp was. There were monkey’s running around the camp alongside a lot of ugly and freaky looking bugs, but more lovely warm people like Fiona. I can’t express enough how welcoming the locals are here, they’re so eager to meet you and wrap you in the biggest hug like you’re long-lost family. But the view was nothing short of spectacular. The water was so still and calm, it reflected everything from around, and the locals spoke of how grateful they were to the water; how it brought them jobs and money, how it build their homes and livelihood. I swear I spent the first day just staring out at it. How it sprang to life in the day-time, it animated the sky and the green land all around it. The tranquility and peace it brought, watching men in tiny fisher boats or kayak’s go about their business, was what I thought life was all about. Reaching this level of contentment, living in truly stunning surroundings and living a simple but happy life. This is what it’s all about.
I could tell I was really going to cherish my time here.