Tag Archives: Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project

Days 4&5 – All the animals

  • Ugandan Kob – many
  •  Birds…so many birds
  • I think that was a pair of lions?
  • Hippos!
  • Baboons on the car

And those are what my notes resembled from day 4 and early day 5 of our recent trip to Uganda. Because the schools were not open on the weekend in Nyaka and Kutamba, we spend Saturday and Sunday morning touring Queen Elizabeth National Park before arriving in Nyakagyesi at our accommodations for the week. While this isn’t a ton of time to tour this gorgeous part of the country, we certainly made the most of it.

The lakes, craters, savannah, jungle, forests, and everything in between are truly stunning. It is an impressive section of Uganda with two growing seasons, an abundance of wildlife, and the opportunity see a variety of African ecosystems in only 24 hours. As the day began, I started writing down what animals we encountered. My list quickly disintegrated after the first flurry of furry creatures astounded my Michigan eyes.

img_5247  I know this one is kinda hard to see but that is a pair of lions, male and female, walking across the road in front of our car the same way we might notice a couple of whitetail deer. Amazing. What is even more amazing? The fact that we had just passed a young man on a bicycle with two gigantic bunches of bananas. He was riding on this same stretch of road on his way to the lake where he would sell the fruit, use the money to purchase freshly caught tilapia, and then ride back to his village to sell the fish and begin the whole process over again the next day. I was impressed by his entrepreneurial spirit but shocked by his willingness to ride on a road that had honest to goodness lions waiting in the wings. That was early in the day and truly set the tone for the next 12 hours of travel. We were in a strange and beautiful new place.

In addition to the lions, we say water buffalo, Defasssa Waterbuck, Savanna Elephants, Warthogs, a Leopard (see the previous posting…crazy…https://multidenominationalthoughts.com/2016/12/09/day-4-what/ ), Nile Crocodiles, Topi, Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Mongoose, Monitor Lizards and Black and White Colbus Monkeys, just to name a few species that crossed our paths. img_5307img_5413

We started and ended our day at the Enganzi Lodge ( http://enganzilodge.com ) just offer the Kasenyi Savannah Plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Our drive took us to the Mweya Peninsula on a boat cruise through the Kazinga Channel. It was a stunning and overwhelming day. I’m delighted we took the time to have this experience. It truly was once in a lifetime. Pictures, stories, and lists of animals will never do justice to what we actually saw and experienced. All I can say is thank you to Kasozi Robert, our guide from Bic Tours who kept us safe, happy, and healthy throughout the whole trip. He exceeded expectations in all ways possible.

Our lodge included private yurts for each couple or individual. The walk to the each cottage was down  steep hill where we overlooked the beautiful Savannah Plains. The views couldn’t have been better.

The next morning, Day 5, was a travel day to get to Nyaka. On the way, we drove through the Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, an area especially known for the tree climbing lions. We were never promised we would see anything but sure enough, we did! Again, this stuff felt like something out of a movie. I’ve worked and lived in Alaska an even then, surrounded by wildlife, I never experienced anything like the great Ugandan outdoors.img_5594img_5602img_5616img_5623

The other highlight of the drive to Nyaka was the troop of baboons. They were everywhere while driving but this particular group was interesting because it stopped when we stopped and one very curious baboon jumped up on the car and began to lick the windshield. Enjoy the video!

After all of these adventures, we were finally on our way to Nyaka. We arrived at the Kigezi Forest Cottages in the afternoon and quickly settled in for the night. Jamie, Robert and I went for a 5k run out to the school and back. I COMPLETELY forgot about the hills. That was more than I was prepared to do. I felt like garbage during but great afterwards.

With all of the traveling we had experienced the first 5 days, I was quite ready for a break and a bit of stability. I fell asleep easily and quickly that evening! I was ready to see the Nyaka students again and truly looking forward to a great week with this amazing organization.

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What a trip…

 

My head is spinning. So much to process and so little time to sit and put it all together. This has been an outstanding past two weeks. Without hesitation or qualification, I can happily say our trip to Uganda to partner with the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project was an overwhelming success. For 11 days, I traveled with my wife, Rachell, Kurt and Pete Guter, Jamie Morris, and executive director and founder of Nyaka, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri.img_6075 This was my second trip in the past two years to work with Nyaka in Uganda. The Peoples Church has supported this outstanding organization for nearly a decade, with the support beginning before I arrived in East Lansing as their pastor.

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Over the next few days I will post a rundown of each day on the trip. Until then, here is a brief list of highlights:

 

  • Visited 3 schools and interacted with over 500 students and dozens of faculty and staff.
  • Toured the Mummy Drayton Clinic
  • Explored the two libraries and support facilities established by Nyaka.
  • Assisted in the construction of a grandmother house that was paid for by generous members of The Peoples Church in honor of Dr. Curt Liechty, a friend and congregant who visited Nyaka in 2015 shortly before his unexpected passing.
  • Attended the world premier of the independent film, “Cornerstone,” a groundbreaking documentary exploring the history, founding, and continuing excellence of Nyaka.
  • Preached and spoke to each school for their devotional period
  • Keynoted the local Rotary club meeting in Kihihiimg_5969
  • Took a day to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park, where we saw all manner of wildlife.
  • Crossed the equator four times – twice by car and twice by boat
  • Ate incredible Ugandan food with even better people in all parts of the country.

There is so much more to this past trip but this gives a good start. I’ll take a look at each day and include photos and video for each day of the trip. Until then, thank you for your prayers while we were away and please know how much the children of Nyaka appreciate your continuing support. Peace be with you and thanks for reading.

On our way to Uganda…

And so the journey begins…ug-lgflag

We leave for the Pearl of Africa this morning and will return on December 3. I’ll be doing my best to blog while away with pics and updates of the trip. Until then, please pray for our safe journey to the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project.

This is my second trip to work with, visit, support, and advocate on behalf of this outstanding organization. There are few international non-profits that do as much good with the limited resources they have at their disposal. I would encourage you to give generously to this project. To my Peoples Church people, THANK YOU for all you have done for the children, teachers, grandmothers, and communities who benefit from your good work. It is an honor to have our congregation be such an active participant with Nyaka and I am so happy to see this relationship continue, grow, and flourish.

Peace be with my fellow travelers and please remember us in your prayers as we journey to the center of the African continent! uganda-04