04 June 2015

Various Fluids I Experienced on a Trip Around East Africa

Step One: Shirati, Tanzania to Mwanza, Tanzania, 180 miles
Our family set off for Mwanza and I dropped them off at the airport.  Fred had a training in Morogoro (a city on the other side of the country) and took Wesley and Gretchen with him.  I spent some time in Mwanza with friends and got ready for my epic road trip.

Step Two: Mwanza, Tanzania to Kigali, Rwanda, 332 miles
This leg started at 5am with a motorbike ride to the bus stand.  Then a 20 minute ride to a ferry, then a boat ride across the bay, then another several hours on the bus, most of which I shared with a very heavy young woman who sweated on me while she slept.  I crossed the border into Rwanda on another motorbike and I jumped into a van to the capital city, Kigali.  (Someone threw up in the back of this van halfway through the journey.) Then another motorbike to the airport to meet up with Lahash and ERM folks...14.5 hours later.
Caregivers of vulnerable children - the woman on the
right is caring for two orphans who were totally abandoned
when their mother died in childbirth
This is what I do for work...take notes.
Meeting with the staff of a new potential partner - ERM
On our last day in Kigali, we met up with Dr. Friessen who was
an elder at my old church and is now helping to found
Africa New Life Seminary.
Step Three: Kigali, Rwanda to Kampala, Uganda, 312 miles
After three days in Kigali, we boarded a night bus to Kampala.  We got on in the evening, got the border a few hours later and arrived in Kampala at 4am.  At some point in the journey, the man next to me fell asleep and urinated in his seat...which was next to my seat...which meant that I got pee on me.
This is what 6am looks like in a bus stage in central Kampala
after 9 hours in a bus and just before 7 more hours on a bus.
Step Four: Kampala, Uganda to Gulu, Uganda, 209 miles
It was about 3pm when we pulled into Gulu, roughly 22 hours after the journey started in Kigali.  It was a good thing we were planning to stop in Gulu, since the bus made a horrible noise and stopped.  We got hotel rooms in a decently nice hotel and crashed.  Our friend Haley was going to drive us the final leg the next morning, and she came to the hotel to hang out with me a bit.  Then we heard noises...loud noises.  Let's just say that there were more fluids of a professional nature in the room down the hall.

Step Five: Gulu, Uganda to Adjumani, Uganda, 73 miles
We drove to a vocational school to interview one of the Lahash students.  On the way there, we encountered what appeared to be a support group meeting for all of the disabled people in Gulu.  I'm just glad I wasn't driving, as Haley maneuvered around a blind old man in the middle of the road and children with cerebral palsy and elderly women in wheelchairs.  It was like an obstacle course from hell.
I got to hold a baby crocodile.  Josh got bit by it, but there was
very little blood. 
I got a lot of quality time with Haley and her husband, Rick.
More glamorous work reviewing school records
We spent many hours in meetings with the team at
Amazing Grace planning for the future of the home.

Step Six: Adjumani, Uganda to Kampala, Uganda, 280 miles
We set off from Adjumani in Susan's car at 6am, during which the only fluid was the lemon yogurt I spilled in my purse.  While we were in Kampala, for approximately 24 hours, we got to hang out with the kids at Kampala House, and I'm pretty sure there was a rat slaughtering a gecko in the corner of my room at 2am.

Step Seven: Kampala, Uganda to Nairobi, Kenya, 427 miles
After Thai dinner, we got on a bus ride that was supposed to be about 13 hours, but ended up being like 16 hours.  We were picked up and dashed around to change money and get coffee (mmm...cappuccino!) before the next leg.

Step Eight: Nairobi, Kenya to Mai Mahiu, Kenya, 36 miles
We visited a new potential partner, Nipe Tumaini (Give Me Hope), for just one night.  It was a fantastic, but too brief time with the team on the farm where they are about to start caring for kids who have been abandoned to the government by their families.

Step Nine: Mai Mahiu, Kenya to Sirare, Tanzania, 218 miles
I spent half an hour on the side of the Mai Mahiu highway at a police roadblock waiting for my bus home...which is how much I was ready to be back home with my family!  I have ridden that bus to the Tanzanian border a dozen times, but it was literally the fastest trip I've ever had, plus more cappuccino!  

Step Ten: Sirare, Tanzania to Shirati, Tanzania, 42 miles
A motorbike to a taxi to another taxi to my very front door!  It was so great to be home with my family after two whole weeks apart.

Summary: 2,109 miles in 75 hours over 15 days
Blood, Sweat, Vomit, Urine, and *ahem* fluids which shall remain nameless, 4 Cokes and 2 cappuccinos

Thanks to Josh and Dan for the photos!

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