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This Was the Best Day of My Life

Bofa Beach

Gorgeous Bofa Beach. All alone.

Walking on to Bofa Beach

Walking on to Bofa Beach

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Sand so white.

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Calf prints on the left, the rest are goat prints. The herd walked through here every day I was here.

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Beautiful colors.

I arrived to Distant Relatives Ecolodge and Backpackers on Wednesday April 13th. The best day of my life (thus far!) was Thursday 14 April 2016.

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Swimming is one of my most favorite activities IN THE WORLD. It feels so freeing, comfortable, joyful, soothing, etc. “Backpackers” (as it’s called around here, aka Distant Relatives,) is about a 6 min walk to a salty creek beach. It’s nice enough, but the ocean beach is about 20 min by motorcycle. Thursday morning I’m checking out the nearest ocean beach that was recommended to me by several people: Bofa Beach, outside of Kilifi Bay Resort. read more

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I’m Trying to be Patient with Kenya…

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Jumping monkey! At Rondo Retreat Center.

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Retreat in the forest. Do you see some monkeys in there?

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Beautiful path at Rondo.

I’ve been in Kenya for about a week now, at a Christian Women’s Retreat in Kakamega Forest. It was a good, peaceful time, rejuvenating spiritually and was just what I needed to start me off on this next adventure. I met some great ladies and saw some monkeys. I feel like

The ladies of the retreat.

The ladies of the retreat.

I’ve been shown some clarity about my “mission” and my path (enough clarity anyways!!!). I’ve just come to accept and appreciate that if I can only see 2 feet of my path in front of me, that’s fine and great and what wonderful adventures may lie before me. Maybe I’ll find something wonderful in Kenya I want to get attached to, maybe I’ll go back to my Uganda, (yes, I said MY Uganda), maybe I’ll go on another tour of African countries like South Africa and Namibia or Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria, or maybe I’ll enjoy my family in Nebraska for awhile. WHO KNOWS, and I’m OK with THAT!!! read more

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Taata Kids, Mbale and Teaching P6 and P7 English

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Volunteers at Taata Kids Guest House. From left: Rushmi, Joelle, Me, Pablo, Peter and Esther.

I feel very comfortable here. I have my own room, my own space, my own bathroom, my own mirror, my own life. Mbale has a mountain to the East, supermarkets, lots of wifi bar and cafes, lots of good restaurants. It feels very safe, I have never felt anyone trying to hurt me or rip me off. How I feel now really makes me think that I’ll be coming back to Africa for a longer stay, maybe to Mbale!

It’s great that there are so many volunteers here at Taata Kids. The first batch that I met here: Esther, Pablo and Devon were young, fun, risk takers that helped me do crazy wild things like ride motorcycles, stay out after dark and climb insanely unsafe looking ladders. They have all gone now, though Pablo and Esther should return for a couple weeks about a month from now. I am looking forward to Pablo and Esther coming back for sure! This week, a Spanish girl helped cut my hair!

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Mbale from Bam Supermarket’s balcony.

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Kasese Trip Part 3… Rwenzori Hotel Chilling, Kampala and Traveling “Home”

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My room. My haven.

I found the safari to be pretty stressful actually. I has happy to get back to the hotel, the Rwenzori Internation Hotel. I was ready for some decompression time, journaling, sitting, laying, watching tv, drinking tea, coffee and wine, etc. I REALLY liked the hotel, for 50,000 shillings, which is about 15$ USD, I had a great room on a great property with really good free breakfast.

My room had:

  • me as the only occupant. For the last half of the weekend I was the only occupant in the whole building (since there were multiple buildings on the premises)!
  • a tv with two channels
  • an AC that was ok, it didn’t get super cold, but it was still nice
  • no bedbugs!
  • an extremely clean looking bathtub
  • a balcony, on the ground floor (so I guess that’s a patio), and if I sat down (on the floor of the patio,) there were bushes that totally hid me but even if I stood, there weren’t many people around at all
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Relaxing. No bed bugs and a whole building all to myself! Heaven!

Sunday was an all day chill fest, which was very nice. I don’t even recall everything I did. I just REALAXED. I remember drinking some delicious coffee, instant with half water, half milk, both boiled, (which is typical for Uganda and me). I got a massage for 20,000 shillings ($5.88 USD), which was nice but probably not 100% sanitary. I tried to (and did) have lots of good alone time, meeting up with Luke for lunch, dinner, a walk, here and there. I thought a lot, journaled a lot and I think I got my head back to thinking about the professional and spiritual aspect of my trip, rather than the “It’s hot” “My feet are dirty” “My hair is a mess” and other cultural annoyances that I had been fixated on for the week leading up to the trip. I’m very happy for the realignment. read more

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Kasese Trip Part 2… Safari at Queen Elizabeth

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Lots of buffalo.

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The model, shot 1. Most of the elephants were eating, walking or just doing their own thing. Not this one. She seemed to really like our attention and just kept striking poses.

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The model, shot 2.

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The model, shot 3.

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Baboons.

(click on any picture to see a bigger version)

My last blog left off with me on the way to the hotel. The hotel was awesome, but I’ll talk about that in my next entry. The first night was uneventful so here is the Safari story.

On Saturday morning, at 6:11 AM we (me and a friend of mine, Luke, from the UK who I met in Uganda) head out to Queen Elizabeth National Park with Stuart as the driver. The vehicle is more like a mix between a minivan and small SUV than an awesome safari vehicle, but that’s ok for what we paid. We actually only paid 77$ for the safari, and that would have been each day if we decided to continue. That doesn’t include our 15$ a night hotel. read more

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Kasese Trip Part 1… Traveling to Kasese from Mbale

Uganda Map with QE trip

Uganda, with this adventure’s path drawn in yellow. Mbale to Kampala and Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) and back.

This is the first part of a six day adventure that included a safari…. I went to Kasese, a town next to Queen Elizabeth National Park, meeting a friend, (Luke, from the UK who is living in Southwest Uganda and who I met volunteering with Sprout Care Foundation,) to do safari. This is that story….

On Thursday February 11, I left TAATA Kids Guest house, which I call home right now, for the latest adventure. I had my big backpack and my messenger bag stuffed. I don’t feel comfortable on boda bodas (motorcycle taxis, the number one way that Westerner’s die in the third world) so I REALLY wanted to take a matatu (a minibus/van taxi) to the post office to get on my bus that would then take me 6 hours to Kampala. The bus was Posta Bus aka Post Bus, which is the bus service that the Uganda Postal Service has. The Post Bus seems to be the best bus in Uganda for two reasons: it leaves at a scheduled time and they don’t pack it full, so I have always had a free seat next to me when I’ve taken it. It’s a great no hassle way to travel. The biggest problem with Post Bus, is it only travels once a day, the other buses might have 6 a day. read more

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Hell Week

Right now it’s 6:15 am and my last day of one week with an org in which I did not have a good experience.

This week I have dealt with baby cockroaches in my toothbrush and mouth piece case, living in a storage room, bedbugs, mice (living in the home at peace with the family), compulsive lying and finding all my luggage had been looked through. I stayed in two different homes because I was not comfortable at the first. I would have been comfortable at the second, but that is where there were bedbugs were.

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This is how I spent yesterday. All day. Busted my butt. Nice lunch, huh?


I don’t know if this org is a good one or not but I couldn’t work on the website when I couldn’t trust the information I was being told. While I was doing the website I realized that they had lied to me prior to my arrival too. I do have to say the org isn’t totally bad, some of the people I met were great, and I know this org is doing good work because I did witness some good projects. They are probably doing other great work too, that I didn’t get a chance to see, but I’m just done. read more

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Teaching and Making Websites

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A 5 min walk from my Kalisizo home.

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Some serious local cuties.

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Another 5 min walk from my Kalisizo home.

I have spent the past month teaching a basic English class for adults and working on a website for a non-profit in rural Uganda, south of the Equator, in Kalisizo.

This has, hands down, been the best month of my life. Every day is not “perfect” and there are things I dislike but duh, that’s life. In fact, there were times that were VERY hard. But again, that’s life and it always felt good once the struggle passed.

My English Classes

I have two classes, each meets two times a week. This is my last week. 🙁 At the first class, many of the students, when greeted with “Hi” or “Hello”, would reply “I’m fine”, which is very understandable when you consider how their language, Luganda, is. They don’t have “Hi” or “Hello” in Luganda. Their simplest greeting is “How are you?”. So I can see why some have trouble with “hi”. read more

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Ok New Year’s Celebration, Fabulous Life

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Me and my village English class.

The end of the year! When I think back to what I was doing last New Year’s, I knew I wanted to get to Africa some how but I definitely never thought that I would be here one year later! Yay!

I haven’t been blogging as much as I did when I was in Liberia because I’ve been busy doing real work! I have been teaching English classes to adults and working on the website for Sprout Care Foundation.

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Me writing some stuff. I never thought I’d teach outside under a tree! What a joy!

Sprout Care Foundation, the organization that I’m currently volunteering for, is a community development organization that works to help their district of Uganda by doing many things. Some of the things are sponsoring children’s fees in local schools, helping poor families with various types of assistance, doing community education and awareness of stuff like HIV, waste management, nutrition and also adult education classes like English and Career Development. read more

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Wifi Let Downs, Telenovela Pickups and Pumping Water

Ok. I’m bored. I’m also annoyed. I’m experiencing wifi problems like I have never encountered and hope to not have to encounter much more after Liberia, but I very well might!

How we are using the internet here is with a small wireless hotspot that runs off of 4G towers. William Horace, the man of the house, when he got here in mid November, he says he paid 5$ USD for one month of service. When the three other guys were here, all of us were trying to share that service and basically it was extremely hit or miss and I was never able to get my computer hooked to the internet and therefore not able to post to my blog or share pictures that were not on my phone. My phone would only connect for about a few seconds at a time once every 24 or 48 hours. I adapted. It was ok. I’m glad I didn’t don’t have enough internet to scroll through newsfeeds for hours and waste time reading about stupid celebrity and reality tv trash. I’m very glad! read more