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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gulu to Entebbe, let's stop in Murchison Falls National Park.

We were exhausted after leaving St. Monica's. We had worked long days caring for children and adults in the community. The bus ride would be long back to Entebbe (10 hours?), but we thought a visit to Murchison Falls National Park would give us an opportunity to see what most people travel to Africa to see-native animals.

African Queen was filmed here at Murchison Falls National Park and the park was visited by Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway. The Nile flows through the Park and Lake Albert fronts on the Park as well.

Our plan was a quick ride through the Park to see what animals were out during the middle of the day. (not choice time for sure!) As we drove into the park, we saw the Ugandan kob, warthog, elephants, baboons, cape buffalo, hartebeest and giraffe. Pretty spectacular for a quick visit!

This put us a bit behind schedule and by then we had been on the bus all day. Keep in mind the bus is not a luxury liner, but more like a cheap school bus, complete with fold down seats. Air conditioning? Who needs it! We love having our hair wrapped around our heads three times!

The Nile River. I'll post more picture after I receive them from those on the "right" side of the bus.
Majestic elephant.

We saw a number of majestic giraffes. Aren't they beautiful?
Students were walking home from school. The public schools are not good, but most parents have no alternative. There is little money for food, let alone private schools, no matter how inexpensive.  Many private schools are funded from private donations.
Despite the long days and close quarters, we look pretty happy, don't we?

We drove by many small villages. Usually homes are in a group with retail in front of the homes on the main road. Families try to make a living growing bananas, sweet potatoes, passion fruit or corn. The families prefer to sell their crop than eat the crops themselves. Survival is difficult.
Bananas are transferred on the bike to the city and crops are sold in the larger cities, such as Masaka.

Avocados are plentiful here. These avocados need more time to ripen. We had avocado at every meal! Yum!

Did I mention the roads were really bad? Sometimes there is a bit of pavement, but with the heavy rains (First rainy season begins in March), the roads often wash out.  We saw a number of buses along the road as well as trucks. People travel many miles on a motorbike with as many as 5 people on board one bike.
Motorcycles abound. As we pass through villages, we see shops

Just hanging out along the road. Head feeling a bit heavy today.
The non-western toilet is beginning to look a bit too familiar. Should have worked out those quads a bit more.
Northern Gulu homes are constructed as shown. In the South, the homes are brick and are not round.

I'm not even sure if this is right side up or even working, but this was such an amazing experience! After we left Murchison Falls National Park, we drove toward Kampala toward the airport at Entebbe. There are no major roads or highways.....just roads and more roads......and traffic.  We knew we could never make the airport on time, despite leaving Gulu at 9AM. Most of our flights were after midnight or later.

Alan, our security officer knew we were in trouble with out timing and took matters into his own hands (which he did through our entire trip). Alan directed the bus driver onto the sidewalk and literally got out of the bus and told cars to move out of our way. When a police truck stopped us, within 2 minutes, we had a police escort to the airport! We had an hour and a half escort to Entebbe! Sirens blaring! The police truck intimidated cars to move and Alan at times jumped out of the police truck and threatened drivers! We all made our flights with fond memories of our time in Uganda.

Alan will soon be done with his Phd, and is working to be President of Uganda someday. We believe Alan will be President! He can do anything!


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