Saturday, April 18, 2009

More shots...

Here's some shots... more to come...

A Baboon Stole Our Breakfast! No...really

It's Saturday morning as I'm writing this and we arrived safely to our hotel in Jinja late last night. Our first two days here in Africa have been a blast and a little challenging. We woke up early on Thusday morning, partly because our body clocks haven't quite adjusted and partly because I think we were all a little too eager to explore. Our driver, Charles, was supposed to pick us up around 9:30a.m., but didn't arrive until around 12:30. So we got off to a late start. The drive to the game reserve was supposed to take around 5 to 6 hours, but was actually closer to about 8. Now I've traveled quite a bit in my past, and I've seen how other cultures operate their vehicles. And up until now, I thought I had seen the worst of it. But nothing compares to the roads of Uganda! All of us were white-knuckled and gasping to ourselves as Charles sped (and I mean SPED) in and out of traffic on a little two lane road (even though there are no defined lanes), narrowly missing pedestrians (which are everywhere, all the time) and bicyclists by inches...inches. I think I can speak for the group when I say that we were both terrified, and pretty impressed. Hats off to you Charles!

We arrived at the game park where we got ready for bed. Most of us slept in little 9 by 7 shacks. Fred had to sleep in a tent. Beautiful sunset and a beautiful sunrise. Bugs were everywhere at night. It was a cool experience, falling asleep to the grand symphony of tree frogs, insects, and the warthogs that kept knocking on our doors. I've grown to love warthogs. Interesting animals, ugly as sin...but interesting. We woke up early the next morning to perhaps the longest day of our lives. The resort graciously packed us a breakfast in a paper bag, and we headed off around 6:30a.m. to the game reserve. We had to cross the river on a ferry in order to get to the park, and once inside, there were plenty of baboons waiting to ambush the poor unsuspecting tourists. In the blink of an eye as Charles was talking with one of the guards, a baboon, who up til this point was an object of entertainment, went in for the kill! All I heard from the back seat was Fred saying "Hey!" and all we say was a long hairy arm reach in and snatch our breakfast bag from the top of the dashboard. So we sat there...watching a long-armed bandit enjoy our delicious breakfast. Lesson learned: role up the window next time.

The game drive was incredible! Entire families of giraffes to the left of us, herds of elephants and hartebeasts to the right. Literally, everywhere you looked, wildlife was abundant. Water buffaloes, warthogs, all different types of deer. It was breathtaking. We got off the van and traded in for a boat, where we cruised up the river to see hundreds of hippos and crocs and all different types of birds as we made our way to majestic Murchison falls. That trip certainly did not disappoint. I think we all wished our families could be with us to experience it. I know I did.

Well, the trip from the game reserve is a "6 to 7 hour" drive. Ten hours later, beat up from hours on the rough dirt roads and hours sitting in traffic in the heart of Kampala, we limped into Jinja and checked into our hotel. It's nice to finally leave our baggage somewhere and settle for a bit. But we're all pretty tired and sore. So pray for energy and vision, please. Jinja is beautiful. Pastor Paul met us last night. It's always good to see his warm smile, and he's so excited we're here. We're visiting the Psalm Ten orphanage today. I've got my camera charged, because I know that's gonna be an experience. I can't wait. We're headed to breakfast now. I think we figured out how to post pictures, so I'll try to have some before tomorrow. Please continue to pray as we visit the Psalm Ten house and finally go to Kakira where we'll be ministering the rest of the trip. We've all got some preparation for the conference which technically starts tomorrow. I'm excited to worship with African brothers tomorrow. I think we're all a little antsy. Sore and tired, but antsy.