We have finally emerged from the jungle.
Example: We got attacked by a million flies today on our way out of Murchison Falls. They all got inside of the bus and started biting us and wreaking all kinds of havoc. Fred even drove off the side of the road at one point because he was trying to combat the intruders. Seriously, people, it was war. Matt was our main combatant and killed most of them with a pamphlet. Bug blood and guts were flying everywhere. It was a massacre. And even though we were getting bit, it was pretty funny.
In the end, we killed most of them and finally made it out of the fly infested jungle to begin our four-hour trek to Kampala.
We made it here this evening and went to a wonderful pizza place for dinner (where we finished 12 out of the 14 pizzas we ordered), and now we’re in a nice hotel with Internet and multiple computers. It’s quite a difference from how our last few days have been.
Murchison Falls was wonderful and beautiful, but we were literally in the wilderness…in huts…but they were nice huts. But they were still huts, and there were lots of bugs and lizards. One lizard managed to get tucked in to Hannah’s bed.
We saw the falls, we sailed down the Nile, we saw lots of elephants and hippos and giraffes and lions and warthogs and deer-like animals. It was a great way to end all of our days of hard work, although it was a stark contrast to how our last few weeks have been. The game park area is like a weird little bubble where real Africans don’t live… only animals and mzungus and wealthier Africans who work at the hotels are allowed in.
We talked about that difference and about how it was a little weird that we had been with the poorest of the poor in Uganda and now we were tourists and were falling back almost too easily into our American ways again. It’s going to be hard not to do that, especially once we actually get back to the US. That’s always the worst part for me. Right now, I feel like going back to my house and purging my room of everything I don’t need, but know that once I get back I won’t do it. And I’ll probably buy even more things that I don’t need shortly after we return. I wish it wasn’t so easy to fall back into being so “American.”
I want to at least try to be better about it this time, though. One thing that I realized over these past couple of days that I certainly want to keep in mind when I return is that I’m not poor. Well… that sounds stupid when I type it. I mean, of course I’m not poor, but I feel like I say it a lot. College kids in general say it a lot. “I can’t spend money on (insert chosen item or activity here), I’m too poor.” I hear it and say it all the time. And yes, when I compare the amount of money in my bank account now to how much I had my senior year of high school, it has dwindled a significant amount, and there are a lot of things I can’t afford… but all of the things I can’t afford are things I don’t need. Like concert tickets. And cute clothes. And sushi. And movies. And trips.
If I was actually poor, I wouldn’t be able to afford real things.
Or a house that’s not a hut.
Or a car… or even a bike.
Or clothes that aren’t ripped.
Those are things that a person who is actually poor can’t afford. And I need to get that through my head. And I need to stop saying that I’m poor. Because, really, I should be counting my blessings that I have the things I have. I need to remember that when I get back. And I know I will at first, but the connection I have to this place and to how I view the world at this moment are going to fade. I just have to find ways to remind myself of what I’ve seen.
PS: An interesting tidbit: we saw Omaha people today on our way out to do our game drive. One went to Creighton Prep and one went to Marian… contrary to what I said in my previous post: it’s a small world.