Monday, August 30, 2010

Thank you and Goodbye!

It's time we said goodbye. Everyone is now back to work here and soon the leaves will change colour and I'll have to admit to myself that I no longer live on top a ridge in the southeast corner of Rwanda. A beautiful country that DOES NOT see single digit temperatures in August, let alone ever. I am getting into the swing of things complete with a trip to the mall and a medium sized poutine (both were bad ideas!) We threw a little party where people were forced into a slideshow and banana liqueur. But these novelties will wear off as quickly as the snow begins to fly and normal life will ensue. Soon it will be fall, then winter, then spring and before I known it, Rwanda will be just a distant memory. So, while I prepare myself for new challenges and new opportunities, I am reminded, again, of a quote I read by Mark Twain and put on the blog last April. Not sure what a bowline is and I'm pretty sure "harbour" has a "u" but whatever. That guy was a genius.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

So, with that, I say good bye and thanks for reading. Good luck to the volunteers who are about to embark on your placements. You won't regret it.

Muracoze cyane na murabaho!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Have I ever told you about Chang?

Saying goodbye to Rwanda at the Kigali airport

Before the days of Facebook, there was Chang. Chang was a friend of my dad’s that he met volunteering with CUSO in Africa in 60s. And wherever we moved, wherever we went, Chang would find us. Out of the blue, after a few years. And I imagined the conversations going something like this:

“J! I’m in town!”, I imagined Chang saying.

“Great. Come over for a drink. It’s been years….”, I imagined the response.

And as kids, years felt like a life time so we found a bit odd that a stranger would show up at our house from Africa and…wait a minute!...didn’t we just move and how does he find us? It’s not like my parents were updating their “status” all the time with things like “J and A are……loving living in Edmonton” or “J and A …. Have just unpacked in Whitehorse, again.” No. But Chang found us wherever we lived and wherever we moved and therein lies the bond that forms between friends in Africa. I imagine that my children, one day, will wonder “Who is this Christine? And why after all these years is my mom doing that weird forehead greeting and what is Waragi?” The experience of volunteering overseas has been profound and while I’m happy to be home and trying to readjust, I can’t imagine losing touch with the friends I’ve made in the last year in Rwanda just as I’m sure Chang will always hold a place in my dad’s heart. And at least I have Facebook….

So…I’m back home. I’m sitting in the comfort of my living room after having had a good swim at the local pool. My feet are almost clean, as are my clothes. Although, my shoes are still covered in red Rwandan dirt and, wouldn’t you know it, the internet has stopped working. At least a few reminders of life in Kibungo.

How do I sum up a year of working and living in Rwanda? How do I answer the ubiquitous question: “What was your favourite part?” or worse: “What was it like?” I feel, after having learned that this blog is being read by future volunteers, a sense of duty to wrap this blog up with more detail than a facebook status. I’ll break it up into categories, I’ll throw up some last pictures and then, after our party on Thursday, sign off for good.

Life as a Volunteer: The Work

My role was a Basic Education Methodology Trainer. Basic, because I was responsible for the teachers of nine years basic education which is a policy brought forward by the Rwandan government to provide accessible education for all children for the first nine years. Education because we’re talking about schools and Methodology because, well, there are good methods and there are not-so-good methods. I worked with roughly 65 schools and provided workshops, one-on-one classroom support and guidance with the teachers therein. I travelled around on a motorbike almost daily and occasionally worked out of the office in the District of Ngoma.

VSO’s slogan is “Sharing Skills, Changing Lives”. I know I shared skills but not so sure about the ‘changing lives’ part. Time will tell, I suppose, but what I do know is that I worked with the teachers to see what they wanted and what would work in Rwandan classrooms. It’s simple, really. The concept of education is, and should be a universal one. That is – what do we want the students to learn and how do we help them learn it? Content aside, this is a culturally appropriate approach to education and one that can be sustainable. So did I accomplish what I came to accomplish?

A past volunteer once told me that it’s all about building small hills. I was only there for a year and am under no illusions that what I did built a mountain had a profound impact on the quality of education in Rwanda. But I do know that I contributed in a small way. I’m not entirely sure that the work I did was sustainable and while that is meant to be the goal, there are a number of barriers preventing this from happening. But, as in teaching, we may never know the impact of our actions but we can hope.

Working in a developing country was sometimes a lot like beating your head against a brick wall….that is, until I changed my perspective. I heard a quote recently that said something about when you are seeking change, don’t look for new landscapes but look with new eyes. And working in development requires us to take all of our notions and conceptions about work and success and change them. Not throw the baby out with the bath water, but adjust how we approach work. I had to ask myself “What works here?” and “What doesn’t?” There is sometimes a sense in the west that work in development is backward and unproductive. Not true. Let’s be honest, what would the big folks in the office towers of Calgary do if the power went out for the day? How would we function here?

And the big question of “development”? I went to Rwanda to help improve education, which I see as a basic human right and one which, if provided equally, will serve to benefit everyone around the globe. But the problem is, the west has a vested interest in an unequal balance of power especially economically. And if education is they way forward and the way to improve a country’s economy, which in my view it is, than education in developing countries will never truly be a priority. As much as we pay lip service and as much little good we can provide, true and substantive change is a long way away. Paulo Freire has often said that there is no neutral education. It would serve us well to keep this in mind as we continue to strive to improve the quality of it around the world. It’s not to say we shouldn’t try, but our on experiences and our context can obstacle to equality. Is this view cynical and a little controversial to NGOs workers? Sure but I never arrived in Rwanda to climb the NGO ladder with this experience as a resume builder. I came to Rwanda because I believe in education and I want all children to have access to quality education. I’m a teacher. We all want this and VSO gave me the opportunity to contribute in my own, small way but was saddened by a response I heard recently to the question “Why are you working here?” In the answer lies one of the biggest barriers, in my view, to positive change. It was “Because I’m somebody here. I was nobody back home.” There are so many people who are working in development for all the right reasons but once in a while you find someone who as come to build their CV and to “be somebody” and, well…..what a shame.

Luckily, for Rwanda, it’s country that will continue to thrive and work toward a successful future and will probably continue to do so even when NGOs drive their white SUVs out of town. It’s a beautiful, little place with rolling hills, mist, green trees and fantastic views that has captured my heart not only because of the great people but also for the spirit that it possesses as a nation. It has recovered from a horrific genocide and while its methods are up for debate, no one can deny that it’s country with purpose and vision. And VSO will be there beside them. Many other ‘volunteer’ organizations require that you pay to volunteer (thereby ensuring that only the wealthy can help the poor) and have no interest in seeking out trained professionals. VSO, on the other hand, recruits trained professionals in most cases and through a rigorous selection process attempts to select the best. It is through this mandate that Rwanda can get, and justly deserves, the most well trained and experienced volunteers out there and if each volunteer comes, considers it’s role in a critical context – as Freire would have us do – then all hose little hills will surely amount to something.

Life as a Volunteer: The Other Stuff

Working in a developing country is what makes an experience different from being a tourist and so, too, does being part of a community. If I did have to answer “What was the best part?”, I would have to say it was that. I’m not a big traveler. I do it. I like travelling because I love to see other parts of the world but I much prefer to be integrated into a community than on its periphery for a night or two before I have to pack up my bag and move on. Kibungo was a wonderful town full of smiling faces who were just as happy to talk to you on your way to work as they were to help you fix your kerosene stove. It was intimidating to go to the market for the first time when I didn’t know the difference in Kinyarwanda between 50 and 500 but with patience and time, this become something I learned to enjoy. Suzanne became one of my closest friends. We both came to depend on each other for support, in different ways, and now I will never forget the sight of her crying into her scarf after she dropped me off and said good bye in Kigali. I wasn’t expecting to get that close to someone who I was there to ‘help.’ In reality, she taught me more than I could have ever help to teach.

Living as a volunteer is not for the faint of heart and as my parents can attest, I’m the world’s greatest complainer. So if I can do it…… Of course, I’ve come to realize that I will only complain when I have someone to complain to. When things were hard or when something went wrong, as it often did, I was on my own and had to manage – sans whining! I was faced with bed bugs, and mice. No power or no water. A minor break in and little flood. Gigantic cockroaches and small fleas. Powered milk and dry bread. Exploding eggs and a broken stove. Nairobi fly and mosquitoes. Dirt and rain. Mud and dust. Missing mail or a dead phone. Dead geckos and noisy bats. Police check points and no licenses. Helmets locked in offices and missing head teachers. Late meetings and cancelled appointments. Crammed busses and steep hills. Pit latrines and cold showers.

Oh…wait a minute? Is this complaining? Nah! In truth….life as a volunteer is made up of a thousand little challenges that are incessant reminders that life is easier back home. But life back home also doesn’t always provide us with so many opportunities to learn and while there were definitely times when I wanted to give up, I’m glad I didn’t. The challenges became opportunities as soon as I decided to change my perspective and really, what’s a dead gecko if not a chance to learn something new?

And there are the “Changs” of your experience. The friends that I met that I will hold onto because they were the ones who will always understand. They are the ones that get it when I talk about Nido or Sotra and they are the ones who I leaned on when I needed it. Somehow your situation of cockroaches or fleas is never that bad when your friend calls you tell you about the bat in her shower or the mouse in her bread. And a Primus and the millionth goat brochette tastes so much better sharing it with friends and laughing at the trouble that had befallen us that week or sharing our struggles with the challenges we faced. You have met my friends this year through the blog and truly, they were the ones holding the towel away from me when I wanted to throw it in.

Blog it or Forget It

Ah the great blog debate. When I first arrived in Rwanda we were given the list of “do’s” and “don’ts” while writing a blog. In fact, fellow volunteer was spoken to because someone had read his blog and promptly contacted the powers that be to complain that it was biased. Um…here’s a suggestion….if you don’t want a biased opinion, don’t read a blog. Or a book. Or a newspaper. Or the IMF and World Bank accounts. Or statistics. Or anything…at all. The reality is, we’re human, we’ve opinions and we’re fallible. But luckily, we also all have the ability to detect bias and make our own judgments about reality. Oh, yeah, and choice. We’re all blessed with the ability to choose to read a blog, or not. My blog is biased. My blog is my account of my experience and it’s coming from my context and my reality. Not your’s. Having said that, I also have opinions (no kidding) about how a VSO volunteer might want to go about writing a blog about their VSO experience.

1. The reality is, VSO is supporting your experience both in cash and kind, so you ARE representing that organization and what you say WILL impact them. Keep that in mind. People who read your blog will know this and also keep it in mind. Yes, this is not VSO material and I do have a disclaimer but all the disclaimers in the world will not stop someone associating what I say, with the organizing that gave me the opportunity to say it.

2. Blogs are forever. I can stop writing tomorrow but what I said yesterday will still be there. So remember that. I write in Word first and read and re-read my entry before posting it. I usually don’t bother worrying about spelling and grammar that much (can you tell?) as much as I worry about content. I avoid sensitive topics – but send those in emails instead. And if I’ve had a particularly crappy day, I don’t write about it here. What’s the point? I have a crappy day, I write about it. My family reads it, they think things are crappy here. Meanwhile, I’ve moved on, things are great and the blog still talk about the crappy day. Crappy days end. (Remember, learning opportunity and all that?)

3. Blogs are public. Unless your blog is secured everyone and anyone can read your blog. Not to say they will. But they can. Just because you write it in the privacy in your own home, doesn’t mean it stays there.

But my other suggestion about blogging your volunteer experience is – do it! As much as this was a non-facebook way of keeping my friends and family posted, it is a record for me. This is something that I hope to look at in a few years and maybe even show my kids. I understand why we were forced to watch my dad’s 56 slides of his time in Africa. I get it. This is like a journal for me but with pictures and spell check and…without the crappy days.

What’s Next?

Well, I don’t know. I’ve been asked if I would do something like this again. Maybe. But likely not. While this was an experience that I feel lucky to have been able to do, I think I’ll teach for now. After all, I love teaching and I always have. I am trying to get a job and thinking about doing my Master’s in Education in a few years. I’ve missed the classroom this year and all the learning opportunities that come with teaching junior high school. So, I think I’ll just stay home for a while. Of course, those who know me have already heard my “Nah…I think I’ll just stick around” and quickly laughed and said “Well, you say that now.” I’ve wandering feet. I always have. I’ve just gone to see “Eat, Pray, Love” and of course, am already considering where my suitcase will take me next. This is a big world but for now my passport needs a rest and the mountains in Canada need exploring too. My suitcase is empty and packed away in an upstairs closet. I’m considering changing the name on my luggage tag from Kamiliza back to Anna. But maybe not just yet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

From Kigali with Love

And is ends. (So dramatic, I know) I am at the Kigali International Airport and we're about to board the flight to Brussels. Hard to believe that the adventure that began over a year ago with an email to CUSO-VSO is ending here. I guess it's not really ending....after all there are still emails coming in from potential volunteers, there's the Returning Volunteers weekend, there are the countless friends I've met and skills I've learned and there is the rest of my teaching career to bore students with stories of "Well, when I was in Rwanda...." But I am leaving Rwanda and it's with sadness that I do so. I was nervous and scared when I made the decision to come but I have come to love this land of rolling hills, banana trees and smiling faces. This is my last post from the Land of a Thousand Hills. When next we meet, I'll be writing from the comfort of my living room drinking a cup of Rwandan coffee and contemplating the last 12 months. See you soon, Canada!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saying goodbye in Kibungo

And so the farewells begin….

Aimey and I arrived back in Kibungo last Wednesday and isn’t it funny how a place that was once so foreign, so new and so scary, can feel at home so quickly. Even Aimey felt that as we were admiring the new Banque Populaire sign, or the Tigo building painted purple or…holy smack! that a brand new petrol station that looks like it belongs in Canada? But Kibungo has been my home for the last year and I love this little town.

We arrived and noticed that every tree along the road in Ngoma District had been painted white and, as we later found out, this was to honour President Kagame when he came for a visit last week. As you know there was a General Election last week and Mr. Kagame secured 93% of the vote. (The election, by the way, gave us mzungus a constant source of amusement given that in Rwanda the sound “l” and “r” are often interchangeable and so the “big election” of 2010 usually left us roaring with laughter…..) Of course, because this blog continues to be non-partisan, I won’t comment on the election itself and suggest you go BBC, the Globe and Mail, or the like for more in-depth analysis of Kagames successful bid at the presidency. Patrick was at the bus park when we arrived and greeted us with a huge smile, as always. When we arrived at my house were greeted by one of the best parts about living here – no electricity. Argh! But we went to the market and a few hours later it came back on. (Since then the power has been dodgy and the water has been on and off – mostly off – every day. Oh the joys!)

Friday I turned around and had an exit interview with VSO and luck would have it, met Jeremy who was returning from the UK and had a taxi ready to take us back to the big K. It was good to see him, all refreshed and ready for another few months. Of course, a welcome to Kibungo would not have been complete without Beer and Brochette at Moderne that night and Jason, who returned from his holidays also, joined us too. So, there we were. The Eastern Peeps enjoying the last meal at one of my favourite watering holes.

Saturday I spent packing and organizing. What to bring? What to give? What to leave for the new volunteers who will occupy the house in September. I’ve taken art off my walls, and the wall of family and friend pictures is also down. Slowly, the house that has felt like home, is becoming just another house. I’m seeing it, again, through the eyes that I did when I arrived. As someone who moved around A LOT as a kid, it’s a family feeling. One that bring trepidation and excitement. Saturday night I had a bit of a farewell at, you guessed it, St. Joseph’s. The standbys were there: Jeremy and Jason, as well as Suzanne (the very first Kibungoan I met and the person who has helped me survive living here), Anna and Rebecca (two other mzungus who live down the road), Fabien (my big boss), Geoffry (an old friend of Epi and Tina’s who is maybe the nicest and least pushy 24 year old in this town), some guy who came with Fabien but I don’t know his name, Rehma (who I met through Christine) and, of course Consollee (who came with a gift of banana leave flip flops which I’d been thinking about buying myself since arriving). We had drinks of Fanta and beer, bananas, potatoes, chips and brochette and sat around dicephering Kinyarwanda (Why do “old” and “crazy” sound so similar?) and walked home dropping people off at their homes along the way. I may say that I could live the rest of my life without seeing another banana or brochette but in truth, I’ll miss those nights and these people.

So, now I pack up and we head to Kigali tomorrow. As things hit me, I’m sure I’ll write a last entry sort of think about what it’s like to be VSO volunteer, what Rwanda has been like as a home and how I’ve felt about the whole process. As Aimey said, on our last evening walk through Kibungo, I spent so long thinking about coming and there was such a build up about coming to Africa. And now it’s over. For now, at least. And I will write a debrief about everything but until then, I think I’ll just enjoy another cup of Rwandan coffee as I listen to the sounds of a Sunday morning in Kibungo.

Consolee and I
Jeremy explaining his theory of excellent female head teachers in presence of two of the best: Suzanne and Mediatrice
At St. Joseph's
The two Kibungo Anna's. We didn't get to spend a lot of time together but Anna was always up for a drink or a game of Jenga!
The gang's all here: from Jason (muzungu in the middle) clockwise: Jason, Rehma, some guy, Fabien Geoffry, me, Suzanne, Jeremy and Consolee. Patrick, Jean Paul and Elie weren't able to make it.
Team Kibungo!
Banana sandals

This afternoon we went for a last visit to see Patrick and his family and what-do-ya-know...Patrick's name isn't even Patrick! What the??? I somehow got from him that that's the name of his area and the name he uses for work. His name is Dominique! Seriously! Patrick doesn't even show up on his ID card. But he's Patrick to me and always will be. We enjoyed a, you guessed it, Fanta (okay, I had water but you know how it is) and he proudly showed us his television, DVD player and newly installed electricity that he says he was able to buy because of the work he did with me. So, am never one to give money to people - EVER - but me being here has helped him. In honesty, though, he earned it..... muddy roads, rain storms, police, pot holes, locked motorcycle helmets and goats. He definitely earned it.
Even Patrick got into the election spirit
One last good bye.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Photos: Coming back to Kibungo

Coming back to Kibungo after travelling felt a bit like home. Here are a few highlights....

So, after having returned from dusty, dirty busses in East Africa and having said my farewell to Julie, we realized that we were short on clean clothes. So, I thought I'd give my hand at doing something I haven't had to do since arriving here (if you don't count the time I had bed bugs....). I washed my clothes, Rwandan Style! I must say, I think I did a good job by have a new appreciation for Julie and my washing machine at home!

Painted trees that welcomed Paul Kagame a few days earlier
Across the street and just before the "rond point" (round-about) that leads to Kibungo town
The new gas station officially opened while we were away
Arriving home to no electricity but, like it always does, it came back on just in time for the sun to go down!

Friday, August 13, 2010

East Africa and coming home to Rwanda

As Anna and Aimey’s African Adventure draws to a close, and Anna’s Suitcase begins to pack up all her worldly treasures, I thought I give a summary of the last few days bumping along the roads of East Africa. We left off and I was lamenting the loss of Aimey’s camera and about 300 great pictures. We left Mombasa at night, catching the legendary Nairobi-Mombasa train. We secured our berth and made our way to the dining car for dinner. The food was great, the cockroach joining us, not so much. Met a nice Irish guy and an arrogant Canadian-born, Kenyan-raised, British-educated man who was travelling to Nairobi to meet with a lawyer to take care of business. Sketchy. We were lulled to sleep by the clickity-clack of the rail cars as they travelled through Kenya and I was securely tucked into the upper bunk with what looks like a seatbelt/crib for my safety.

We arrived in Nairobi (which is nicknamed Nairobbery) without being mugged and so thought that, given the law of averages, we would have nothing stolen. We were right! Nairobi, though our visit was short, was a pleasant treat of capitalism and bustle. We spent the afternoon taking local (and very slow) busses out to the suburb of Karen to visit the Kazuri Jewelry factory. I first fell inlove with Kazuri in the Nairobi airport and have been dreaming about it ever since. I suppose I could have just bought something in an overpriced shop in the city, but there’s something about going out to where the sweat is poured into these little, beautiful clay beads. Kazuri was founded in the seventies by a British woman as a company to employ – and give health care – to single mothers. There are over 300 employees now and they make the most beautiful jewelry. We had a lovely tour and then spent too much time humming and haaaing over what to buy, and for whom, in their shop. In the end, I came away with a few beautiful pieces that you will all envy when I get home! That night we met Alan, a former VSO volunteer and fellow blogger, as well as a random girl that Aimey met in a coffee shop and we headed out to Haandi for Indian food. My mouth still waters when I think of the meal.

So from Nairobi to Kampala we splurged an extra $10 to take the “royal class” coach for a short 13 hour (or so) journey. Plush seats and even a breakfast of eggs and samosas! Of course, we were not even out of the city when we were stopped by a horrific traffic accident that had us waiting for over an hour just to pass a semi-trailer and the wreckage of what one could assume was once a taxi. Hours and hours later – after passing countless tea plantations – we crossed the Ugandan border and were shortly thereafter dropped off at an intersection leading to Jinga, the place from which we were going to raft down the Nile River. We knew that the taxi ride to the hotel would be about 15,000 from Jinja but had no idea how to actually get to the town of Jinja itself. Hmm…. Thankfully a handful of competitive boda-boda (motorcycle) drivers approached us and, unlike Rwanda, had no helmets. Given that it was night, given that it was the highway, given that we had a big packs, we opted to not take the risk and tried – unsuccessfully – to get a taxi. Thankfully, one of the boda-boda drivers, who did not take our lack of patronage personally, offered to call us one but that taxi seemed to be taking forever. Eventually, another car pulled up and Aimey asked if he was a taxi and would he take us into town. He was there to pick up a friend but offered us a lift while he was waiting. As it turned out, he wasn’t a taxi driver but just a random, and Aimey and I found ourselves hitchhiking by accident once again. Michael, who is also a teacher, offered to find us a proper taxi when we got to Jinja and even negotiated a good rate for us. Of course, to negotiate this rate he told us to stay in the car so the driver didn’t see that it was two mzungus – a sure way to have to pay more! Eventually we made it out to the Backpackers Campsite, were given a safari tent full of spiders to sleep in (no nets) and enjoy a beer, a meal and a card game. We were also treated to a video of that day’s rafting trip, and if I wasn’t nervous before about rafting down a Class 5 river, I was now! Praying that our boat wouldn’t flip the next day, and praying that the spiders were also sleeping and not wanting to crawl all over my face in the middle of the night, I drifted off to sleep with the sound of the Nile River just below.

So…rafting the Nile? Imagine the MindBender Rollercoaster at West Ed. Now imagine a washing machine. Now imagine that you are on the rollercoaster INSIDE a FREAKING washing machine. That’s sort of what it feels like to be on the Nile. But with Jamie our guide – who ‘btw’ was AWESOME – we made it through most rapids in one piece. Of course, I felt like a bit of an All Star after our first rapid when all of our gang were tossed outside of the boat except me and Jamie. “Bring it on Nile,” I said all tough-like.

Until the second rapid.

That’s when our boat hit a wave and flipped ass over tea kettle, landing on some of us, including Jamie. However…we all made it back in the boat and managed to get through the rest of the rapids relatively unscathed. It was the most fun that I’ve had being tossed around in raging white water. Thanks Jamie!

After Jinja we chilled and shopped for souvenirs in Kampala. Crazy, hectic, congested Kampala. Security was everywhere and we were searched going into our hotel, a restaurant and the post office. Since the bombings, I guess they aren’t taking chances. Fair enough. Things were good and fun and after getting our bus ticket to Kigali, hopped on a boda-boda which are fun and slow and crowed (three on a bike…really?). Of course, pulling up to our hotel the truck that was backing up didn’t see us….or in reality, did see us but refused to stop. Aimey bailed off the back of the bike before getting hit and the driver and I banged furiously on the door of the truck to get his attention – something I’ve been dying to do since arriving! For our last meal we managed to hit up a great little restaurant for dinner AND get a boda-boda driver that spoke Kinyarwanda! I felt at home!!!

Finally….after three great weeks and so many wonderful experiences, we were on a bus bound for Kigali. Crossing the border did feel like home and it was refreshing to drive on the right, hear Kinyarwanda, see no garbage and no houses painted advertising corporations. Of course, the tell tale signs we were coming to Rwanda were listening to Kenny Rogers on the bus and having our packs searched at the border for plastic bags. We arrived at the bus park and were thrilled when, after we declined a taxi, the driver actually listened and walked away!! No hassle in Rwanda. I love it here. I felt at home. Now it’s time to pack up and enjoy a last Rwandan inzoga – which, incidentally, means “beer” in Kinyarwanda but “dead animal” in Swahili. Go figure.

Rafting the Nile and Kampala

Rafting with Nile River Explorers was fantastic. So much fun and, thankfully, no crocodiles.

Our campsite
Okay. No problem. Face your challenges head on.
Being agitated like a pair of jeans in a washing machine. Notice Jamie with blue helmet? Aimey is just to her right about to hit the water.
Oh crap. Where did Aimey go?
Two survivors! Whoo hoo!
Jamie and I on a rescue mission. Aimey was on the other side just coming up from under the raft.

So, things were all well and good and the team recovered nicely until rapid number two get the picture:

Believe it or not, this was taken after being tossed around the Nile, during a lunch break on the river. (Notice dude in the middle: was hungover and spent the trip forgetting to paddle insync or hitting Aimey with his paddle.)
Enjoying a beer on the Nile

And over in Kampala...we stayed at a great hotel called Aponye.

This was the street our hotel was on. Amazing that a boda-boda could fit through, let alone a car.