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Special Feature

by Archives September 9, 2008

– I survived the bad place
Part II of A ‘Munu’ in Uganda

Uganda: Day I have no idea
Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 12:17 p.m.
Things here in Uganda are going pretty well. Yesterday, the entire town went nuts for the Man U/Chelsea soccer game (everyone here is a fan of Man U) and the Goat Protection Services (GPS) continues to do well. The goats are being well cared for, no worries there. Today we went out to check on some small businesses started by the Family Strengthening Program Revolving Loan Project, and it was pretty damn cool to see people doing so well for themselves.

Nudity and other such things
Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 3:06 p.m.
I can’t believe I’ve thus far forgotten to talk about the most important aspect of my trip!!! Naked Man! That’s right, Naked Man!
It’s pretty self-explanatory . . . he’s a man who is naked. All the time. He just walks around Gulu totally naked. He keeps to himself, doesn’t say much and usually carries a lot of grass and sticks. He can often be seen in the morning on the way to work and we often shout, ‘NAKED MAN!’ when we drive past. He’s become a bit of a good luck charm actually. If we see him, then we know it’s going to be a good day. Mostly he wanders the streets, but sometimes we’ll see him chilling out in an area of tall grass near this big tree.
There are a bunch of stories as to why he’s naked, most ending with “He’s a little crazy.” Go figure.

Four days.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 2:37 p.m.
In response to your flurry of questions . . .
Yes, I’m sad to be leaving Gulu, and Uganda. Yes, I feel like I’ve really accomplished something here. No, I don’t feel that I’ve changed that much, but part of me definitely has. Yes, I will get a tattoo upon return. No, I don’t know what said tattoo will be as of yet. Yes, I am CRAZY excited for rafting on the Nile, bungee jumping and Tanzania touring. Yes, I miss my family and friends, and yes, I am excited to come home.
I think that just about covers it . . . Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go climb into my top-bunk bug net (or what I have deemed my Princess Canopy Bed) and do a little reading before bed.

I survived the Bad Place.
Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 2:56 p.m.

“The Bad Place” is the name of a rapid on the Nile. Class five, 99.9 per cent “tippage” factor and absolutely pure adrenaline. People come from around the world to raft this one section of rapids and I did it and it was incredible! White water rafting on the Nile provided one of the most insane adrenaline rushes I’ve ever had in my life . . .
Our entire raft flipped over more than once and I won’t lie, being tossed around under water for a few seconds can induce severe panic, but I always popped back up to the surface eventually . . . always laughing my ass off while choking on Nile water. So when people have finished the rapids, they say, ‘I survived the Bad Place.’ It’s the slogan for Adrift, the company we rafted with.
My friend Kelly and I were in the front of the raft, and as we were coming towards it we didn’t really see anything but rolling water. Then we dipped down in one of the rapids and all of a sudden there it was. This huge wall of water at least 15 feet high. I remember saying, “Oh my god,” then our raft went up, kind of came back down a bit and I thought, “Aw . . . we aren’t going to flip,” (because flipping is insanely fun!) but a split second later we kind of rolled and I saw and felt rushing water, felt my paddle being wrenched out of my hand, my foot hitting something hard and I think I did a flip or two . . . Then I came up to the surface and took a breath right before I was dragged back under and tossed around for a few more seconds. Felt like one millisecond and forever at the same time. I came up again, saw my friend Elise drifting behind me and waved.
Then I heard someone yell, “turn around!” because I was facing upstream to wave at Elise instead of downstream like I was supposed to and then another huge wave hit me from behind and I went under again, but came up like half a second later in calm water and it was all over. I managed to grab a paddle, swim over to the kayak (they always accompany the rafts) and marveled in the glory of what I had just done . . . Now I’m stuck using words like “insane” because there is literally no other way to describe it.
The Big Five.
Monday, July 7, 2008 at 4:51 a.m.

Lion, leopard, black rhino, elephant and water buffalo.
I can now say I’ve seen them all. And yes, the black rhino is one of the most endangered species on the planet.
Add to my list giraffes, zebras, hippos, cheetahs, impala, gazelles, wildebeests, about a million flamingos, hyenas, two crocodiles, and that pretty much sums up my time in northern Tanzania. Suffice it to say the safari was incredible. Indescribable in words.
Now we’re chilling in Zanzibar, an island off Tanzania’s coast that might just be the epitome of paradise. We’ve got at least a week and a half here, maybe two before we head back to Kampala. I think the plan is to chill, check out Mercury’s Bar (because did you know Freddy Mercury was born here?), walk around, chill some more, check out a spice tour, and then do what we are so fondly calling a “beach crawl.” (Like a week-long pub crawl, only lasting a week with a variety of different perfect, sandy white beaches)
Clearly I am having a really horrible time.

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