Tonight I can say that I am legitimately worn out. My arms ache and all I’ve really wanted to do since 4 pm is sleep.
Rafting is SOOO tiring.
We left our guest house this morning around 7 am for Jinja city to go white water rafting! Since this has been one of my many life goals, I was completely pumped for the adventure. To top it all, Jinja is located on the NILE RIVER. THE Nile that’s the longest river in the world. Its source is in the one and only Uganda! AND we got to paddle 25 km on it for an entire day!!!! 😀 😀
The Nile was wide, but not quite as wide as I’d imagined. Since so many people are in this area, there’s no dangerous wildlife. On the banks we would see kingfisher eagles who mate for life (cue the awww’s), monkeys, and cattle that signaled the presence of humans. Actually we saw people a lot at random points washing clothes or themselves. Usually they were children though so it wasn’t quite as awkward as it could’ve been. Funny how even though there are about 50+ languages in this country, the word mzunguall stays pretty much consistent and is the only word any little kid yells at us.
We started off on the water learning basic commands like rowing forwards, backwards, and turning. Then we moved on to safety stuff like how to sit in the raft, how to hold your paddle without knocking someone in the face, and what your position should be if/when you fall out of the raft or it tips. I was really impressed about how safe everything was because for two rafts, they had about six kayaks and one large safety boat waiting for us at the end of each of the rapids to recover anyone who went overboard. They’re very good at their jobs too. Dave told us that throughout this entire year, they haven’t had any serious injuries at all besides minor scrapes and bruises.
In total we went down around eight rapids, four in the morning and four in the afternoon. They all had really funny names that just slip my mind and lasted all of 15 seconds or less. But it’s 15 seconds of awesomeness as the waves roar and crash around you and Dave’s yelling his cowboy “Yeehaw!”. At the same time, there were considerably long stretches of water that were very calm and smooth and forced us to paddle across. To pass the time, Zach played a bunch of camp games like Bang Bang Bang and Black Magic that me feel like I’m not ready to go back to college at all. We also jumped out quite a few times and floated like otters on our backs down stream. It felt especially nice because everybody was getting sunburned, mostly right above our knees.
Our group was split into two rafts of eight and seven. Although the other raft tipped three times in the morning, ours managed to stay upright until the very last rapids named after the local beer, the Nile Special. They were the largest waves we saw the entire trip besides the small waterfall at the very beginning. We actually could’ve made it all the way without falling out if the boys didn’t purposefully lean back to catch the raft off balance. It was actually kindof cool for a while as we sat on top and the raft surfed on a giant wave. Some of us decided to jump out before it turned over and go for a free for all down the rapids. It was a super amazing, crazy experience not having any idea where I was going with my eyes closed and haphazardly taking breaths when I thought the weight of the water felt lighter but it was also exhilarating and fun!
So I’d like to take this time to say THANK YOU SO MUCH DukeEngage for funding this amazing experience In Uganda! Snaps for you and snaps for Jinja for making today so special! I’m so glad I getta scratch white water rafting off of my bucket list. Next up: sky diving!