Almost finished the packing last night before Caroline and the nieces turned up, fresh from the campsite (but not smelling that fresh). So with the littlest in the bath, Caroline and I ran over some of the final details of the trip and I think we’re pretty much covered – apart from Caroline’s SLR camera not having a charger, a spare card, or any auto-focusing at the moment!!
Although Uganda is on the equator, the Ruhanga project is high up at 1500 metres so the evenings will get quite cold. I have packed a fleece and a waterproof jacket as well as some warm socks, but couldn’t fit the waterproof trousers in, especially after now deciding to take a large towel with me, (I might regret this decision), but I’m certainly looking forward to the nightly campfires that will be burning away the mossies, …talking of mossies, I started taking the Yeast / Vitamin B1 this week too, tastes foul and repeats a little (well quite a lot actually), but if it works I don’t really care.
I’m currently sat in my hotel room in Krakow (Poland) in slight disbelief that the 500 or so days we had to plan this trip since deciding to do it are almost up – and in 48 hours’ time we will be wandering Heathrow at the start of either the most amazing experience to date, or complete madness setting in. For me Africa has always held a prominent place in my heart – it’s a magical, mysterious, breath-taking and occasionally frightening place, steeped in culture, traditions and obscure religions, all providing huge fascination for a closet Animist like me.
I often wonder what became of Emelia Ngwenya and her family (I'm holding her baby brother David in the picture). She was the first child I sponsored when I was just 15 years old. Sadly a few years after visiting her in her home village in the Masvingo district of Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe made it impossible for the charity to stay in the country and they were forced to leave. Sometimes I wonder too whether it’s all worth it. Is it better for Emelia to have never known what she could now be missing (clean water, school lessons, medical supplies)? Is ignorance really bliss?
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins