I’m sitting in the sterile atmosphere of Doha Airport writing this final blog of the trip. Once again it’s been an amazing experience, and coming home leaves me with very mixed emotions. I could easily spend six months in Mweya as there are so many things that I would like to be involved in, but I miss my wife, my family and my friends lots too.
As I mentioned in a previous blog we shared some circle time on Sunday night and I wanted to share with you my own personal highlights:
1) I have a dream
As I’ve mentioned before I hate ABBA, but the sight of twenty African children singing it under a shady tree, brought a new context and meaning to the song and reduced me to a tearful mess.
2) The views
Last year I was blown away by the sheer diversity of the wildlife; this year while still impressed I was a little more blasé about it. However, the scenery in Uganda went from strength to strength and I took in some truly amazing views. Uganda is a hilly country and from a height you see scenes that no camera can possibly adequately capture. A real treat.
3) Tembo Canteen
Last year Tembo wasn’t open as it was being refurbished. This year it was the scene of many happy evenings with great staff and splendid company. Not only was the food and drink cheap, but it was really tasty. Because the rangers often hung out there we got to know them a great deal better. Last year’s trip was brilliant; it would’ve been even better had Tembo been open!
Great children, great staff, a community pulling together and a coordinator who is doing a great job. Well done Yowasi!
5) My fellow travellers
The trip wouldn’t have been half as enjoyable without my companions for the fortnight and they all deserve a mention:
Jan – Always got straight to the point even when it was dealing with occasional bad news. Jan has a great sense of very dry humour. Her encounter with tsetse flies was the stuff of legend. She was always highly organised and incredibly helpful. Jan did my ironing for me and I’m incredibly grateful to her for this.
Bea and Amy – I’ve grouped them together although they have their own distinctive personalities. Both of them are teenagers and I’m sure that the trip will have changed them in all sorts of ways. Both of them threw themselves into every new situation and they were incredibly popular with all of the school children. They both can’t wait to come back to Uganda again and I’d happily travel with them.
Karen – A calm, kind and caring person. Karen has been a bastion of common sense throughout the trip and someone who has always made the glass appear half full on a bad day. Karen is a very good listener and I have enjoyed spending time with immensely. She also makes a seriously good cake!
Steve – Entertaining, funny, knowledgeable and passionate, Steve has been an ideal trip leader, although he would admit himself that he hasn’t had to lead too much. Steve faced his own personal Everest when faced with the crater drive and came through it with flying colours. I will even forgive him for all the stick he has sent in my direction.
Stu – I only met Stu six weeks before the first trip to Uganda and in fourteen months he’s become one of my best friends. Strong, single minded and with the constitution of an ox, Stu also possesses a wicked sense of humour and has been my partner in crime for the two trips. I hope we will have many more trips to Uganda together.
So in five hours’ time we will board our final flight home to end what has been a very special trip. It has been amazing and I can’t wait to return to Uganda again. When I get home I will upload all the photos that will hopefully bring a bit more meaning to the writing (the wifi on this trip has been a disaster!). I hope you have gained some idea of our experiences and enjoyed reading the blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it.