Thursday, October 1, 2009

pre-rafting jitters

Tomorrow morning I will be heading to Jinja again with the USP students, this time WITHOUT our “supervisors”. Thanks to a friend here in the program, all 40-something USP students will be heading to Jinja for a weekend of adventure! Some people will be bungee jumping into the Nile (not me- NO way). Sounds like fun but I don't think I could talk myself into it, nor do I want to. I plan to watch the bungee jumping shenanigans from a safe distance however, I WILL be doing some white water rafting!

We will be loading onto I think 5 rafts (?) and making our way down the Nile not the smooth Nile that we visited last time we were in Jinja but the fast moving, alive, and VERY active Nile. I have heard that this is a pretty intense rafting experience and that most people are unable to stay inside the raft at all times. (eek) I have been trying to not pay attention when the other students are telling the scary rafting stories they have heard from past students but I am still nervous. There are two reasons why I am nervous.

1. Kelsey is not here. Now, those of you who know me well probably know that I am not the best swimmer. I can manage pretty good but once I get tired I just have to float on my back. Usually when I go swimming I have Kelsey with me, she is a good swimmer and always willing to save me if needed.


my personal lifeguard (couldn’t find a picture of her saving my life)

2. The Nile is A LOT different then the Riley Creek. Some may not be familiar with the Riley Creek. It is the Creek that runs through our campus at Bluffton- very small, very dirty, and calm for the most part (unless of course it is flooded). Last year some friends and I did our own rafting adventures and traveled down the Riley. It was fun, it was calm, it was relaxing, and no life jackets  or helmets were needed. I guess I should also mention that I think I would feel a little bit more comfortable if I was rafting the Nile with the same friends I floated down the Riley with. My friends Bracton and Gregg take charge, they know what they are doing… or maybe they just act like it. Either way, I think that I would feel a lot safer with them in my raft tomorrow.


Bracton, Aaron and I floating down the Riley

(note: that is Aaron NOT Gregg (who I did mention above)- Aaron really didn’t really help that much with the paddling so that is why he wasn’t mentioned  and Gregg was in the another raft on this trip)

Plus side: Jill and Abigail are in my raft with me- HURRAY! Us three are all a little nervous but also very excited! All the people in my raft seem like a lot of fun so we should have a good time. I am excited to spend some time getting to know some of the USE students a little better, soaking up the sun (as much as I can with sunscreen applied of course), and spending time relaxing. I am assuming that I will have a good story for you all next week. If you happen to think of it this weekend send a little prayer up to the big guy for our safety. Thanks. :) You are all such a blessing. LOVE HANNA


I will put on my tough girl face this weekend and conquer the Nile! (Hopefully I will have a better life jacket then the one I used this summer canoeing with my roomies- and Ben!)

Walking in My Bjorndals

Jinja 044

6:45 am wake up to the sound of chickens clucking their heads off outside my bedroom window, lay in bed until I can’t take the pain of my bladder -almost ready to burst- any longer, grab my TP, unlock my bedroom door, reach the main entrance to the house, unlock that if it is still locked, walk outside (mind you- in my nightgown) trying to get to the toilet without being seen, impossible, there is a group of five men building a new chicken coop, try not to make eye contact as I  sneak into the latrine, do my business, walk out of the latrine, again trying to dodge looks from the builders, retreat back into the house, back into my bed, under my mosquito net, try to fall back asleep until 7:30 or so (depending on the day).

Climb back out of bed, grab my towel and head to the bath room, fill my basin up with water, approximately 3 inches, dunk my head into the basin, use a cup to try to get all of my hair wet, grab some shampoo and suds up the hair, dunk my head back into the basin and use a cup to try to get all of the shampoo out (not sure how well this works because I am using the soapy water to rinse my hair, oh well), grab my towel, try to dry my hair with a little bit of manual labor, comb my hair out, put in some mouse, try to get my hair somewhat under control, dump the basin of water down the small drain, squeegee the water that I somehow managed to get EVERYWHERE toward the drain, head back to the bedroom, get dressed, pour myself some tea in the dining room, head back to bedroom, make my bed, clean up whatever mess I have made, pack up my things for school, head back out to the dining room, drink my tea, eat a hardboiled egg or two (sometimes choking them down), head to the bathroom, brush my teeth, grab my things for school, head out the door.

8:30am (or so) Walk the 20 minutes to school, pass the kids, wave as they yell mzungu!, walk the curved path littered with goats, try to dodge goat droppings also littering the path, get a little adventurous and try out a new path that MIGHT be a short cut, SCORE- it is!, start up the hill, start sweating, try to stay as far to the left of the road as possible to try to stay IN the shade and OUT of the way of vehicles, reach the top of the hill, do a little victory dance inside my head, enter the UCU gate, greet the gatemen, start the walk down hill, reach the drinking water dispenser, fill up my nalgene, head toward the IMME quarters (two VERY small rooms where 21 of us try to get all of our school work done), do some check of the email, some reading and other such school work, go to class.

1:00pm lunch hour, madness begins, head toward the small dining hall with the HUGE mass of other students, get in line, wait, hand over my meal card, receive my check mark for the day, matoke- pass, posho- pass, rice- yes please, beans-yes, on a good day we are surprised with fish, a banana or pineapple! Now my plate is full, time to look for a seat, OH WAIT there are NONE, all 5,000 of us cant sit down to eat at once, keep my eyes peeled for anyone who looks like they are getting up to leave a table, Jill spots a quick opening, we hurry over, hoping we snatch the seat up before any others, greet a bunch of random people, maybe ask them their names-chances are I won’t ever come into contact with them again, eat my food, finish quickly, get up from the table and already people are trying to sit in your seat, pile my tray on top of hundreds of others in one large bin, throw my fork in another, no trash- we don’t use napkins here, head down the steps and away from the madness.

1:30pm-ish A little free time, go to IMME quarters, do some reading, checking of the email, prepare for class, head to class, sit through class, classes end (usually around 5 I am done), head to the quarters, do some more reading and school work, also some checking of email (by this time it is morning at home and I SHOULD have at least an email from mom), pack up my things and head home around 6 pm with my walking friend Abigail.

6:15pm-ish Stop at the toilets, stop at the water dispenser, head up toward the gate, say good evening to the gatemen, out the gate, down the hill, through the NEW path, say bye to Abigail, keep on walking, past the droppings, past the goats, wave hello to Evelyn (a young girl who stands at the gate to her house around this time almost everyday I think MAYBE just so we can have a small chat), keep walking, chickens swarm the path, crossing in front of me, I think to myself, “why DID the chicken cross the road?” (sometimes I just cant help but make myself laugh), pass the kids, yelling mzugu!, give a smile, give a wave, keep walking, home is in sight, turn into our compound, I have arrived!

6:45pm Home. Ida greets me first usually, “WELCOME BACK”, then past Dennis’ door, “welcome back,” Francis is taking care of the chickens, “welcome back,” into the house, maama and Sarah, “welcome back!” WOW do I feel welcomed! Talk with my host family about our days, color with Martin for a while (if he visits), head to the bathroom, do some evening bathing, fill the bucket, scrub down, scrub even more, try to get all the dirt off my feet, dump the water, down the tiny drain, squeegee the water toward the drain, change into a comfy skirt and tee shirt, have some tea, maybe some crackers or a piece of bread, collect some eggs, visit the cook, do some reading, gather for family devotions, prayer, reading of the Bible, in English, in Luganda, talk it out, what is God teaching you?, share, prayer, amen, Lords prayer, “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all, now and forever more, amen.

9:30-10:30pm Time for dinner, fill my plate, matoke, rice, beans, cabbage, a little of this and a little of that, eat, finish first, always first, they eat sooo slow, watch them finish, thank the cook, in Luganda (be impressed I just cant spell it), clear the table, “Let us sleep” says maama, head to my room, grab the tp, better go to the bathroom before I am locked in, say good night to Ida and Dennis as I pass their rooms, in Luganda, “So la Balunge,” head back in the house, “so la balunge maama,” into my room, into the nightgown, under the mosquito net, on TOP of the sheets, its still hot, a little chit chat with Sarah, does she like Bobik or not? I am still not sure, goodnight Sarah, listen to the mosquitoes as I fall asleep usually by 11pm at the latest.

The average everyday activities of my life in Uganda- all in my Bjorndals (except when I am inside the house of course).