As we mentioned last week, we spent the first part of this week in Uganda. We have visited Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania, so we decided we wanted to visit all of the safe East African countries in order to get a full experience of the region. Our friend Deb, whom we visited in Rwanda, had visited Uganda and she gave us some helpful tips about where to visit.
We stayed at the location that Deb recommended. There is a local animal sanctuary in Uganda that has converted into a type of “zoo” in order to generate an income for their sanctuary project. The animal sanctuary is located on the shore of Lake Victoria in Entebbe, about 20 miles outside of Kampala, Uganda’s capitol. We stayed in a Banda, or hut, that was on the property. The accommodations were basic, but it was very exciting to be able to walk past lions, white rhinos, chimpanzees, and other wild animals on our way to and from our room! Below is a photo of the hut we stayed in, and a few photos of the animals we saw in the animal sanctuary!
Initially we planned to rest and relax while visiting Uganda. However, through some unanticipated encounters with interesting individuals we ended up spending one day in Kampala meeting with a microfinance umbrella organization, an umbrella advocacy group for individuals with disabilities in Uganda, and a small non-governmental organization run by individuals with disabilities. We will talk about our stay in Uganda and our experiences with the groups that we met with in the “Inspirational Tid-Bits” blog this week.
Although we did go on an adventure to learn about individuals with disabilities in Uganda, we still managed to relax and be tourists for a bit. We visited a chimpanzee sanctuary on an island in Lake Victoria. The sanctuary protects over 50 orphan chimpanzees that have been poached, kept as pets, or sold on the black market as food. The chimps are allowed to roam free on the island during the day, but they are kept in a large cage at night for their protection. We watched the chimps eat their lunch! Although they were behind an electric fence (mostly for our protection – we learned that they are very aggressive animals!), it was fun to see chimps in their natural environment.
We returned to Moshi on Wednesday last week. It was great to be back! Though we were only gone three working days, Rich and Barb had so many updates on meetings and individuals served by BCC that it was almost overwhelming! Also, they had just cleaned the house very thoroughly! The house may be cleaner now than it has ever been!!! We decided that we should leave every weekend!
We spent Thursday completing documents for the preventative health program that KCMC and BCC have decided to call Pro-Mot Health. We submitted a final copy of the documents to KCMC and the ELCT church office! It has been a lot of unexpected work with many delays, but we are happy to see the preventive healthcare program starting to come together! We will blog about another child story and how Pro-Mot Health and the Hike 4 Healthcare will benefit her in the “Through Their Eyes” blog this week.
Friday, we attended the BCC staff meeting! It’s always great to see everyone in the same room and to see the staff working together to overcome challenges and improve the services they provide to the children.
Also, though we were on vacation in Uganda, we still found time to work out in preparation for Mt. Kilimanjaro! This week John did the following: three sets of 50 crunches and two sets of 15 side crunches (15 on each side), one set of 25 push-ups and two sets of 20 push-ups, three sets of 30 moving lunges (15 per leg), three sets of 50 standing lunges (25 per leg), three sets of 25 squats, and three sets of 15 bicep curls. Melissa did the following: four sets of 22 standing lunges (22 per leg), three sets of 20 sit-ups (three on each side and three in the middle), three sets of 10 push-ups, three sets of 10 dips, three sets of 32 squats, and some sort of ballet move that involves holding a squat while strengthening her arms (confusing to describe, but it’s painful!). We finished by stretching.
Also, we walked everywhere in Uganda! We averaged about 4-5 miles per day. We even decided to load up all of our items on the day we flew home and walk 6 miles to the airport with our hiking backpacks! We ordered lattés to go and started on the journey. Even up to the entrance gate of the airport people. were asking us if we wanted rides! There were no sidewalks to enter the airport; only one path for cars that bottle necked into a security check point. The security guards laughed at us for walking and let us enter through the car path. Our backs were tired by the end of the journey because we were carrying our backpacks, but we decided that the walk was well work the effort!
People are starting to think we are a little crazy, but we are feeling more and more confident about the climb!