Friday, May 22, 2009

Did I mention?

Oh and did I mention that ten minutes before taking off for Africa, I was offered a year-long fellowship with Bread for the World? They are holding the position for me until I get back and I can't wait to start. Looks like Washington D.C. will be my new home, as well as, the longest I have been committed to one place since I graduated high school... my mom is most excited about that part.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Treking

From Kampala we decided to trek to what is known as the "Switzerland of Africa" Lake Bunyoni ( which happens to be one of the sources of the Nile). We went to the main bus terminal which was probably one of the most sketchy experiences I have had in my travels, then we took what should have been a 5 hour bus ride to Kabule but ended up being 10 hours. From there we grabbed a taxi to take us to the top of the mountains surrounding Kabule where the lake was.

Lake Bunyoni was incredible although I must say that whoever deemed it the Switzerland of Africa, must never have been to Switzerland. It looks more like what I would think Nepal would look like. Steep terraced farming, on green rolling hills, a giant lake and over 29 small islands. We explored different islands, went out to some villages that had never seen white people before, hiked to the Rwanda border, played on the rope swing, paddled some authentic dug-out canoes, checked out the local market, basked in the sun and made friends with the locals.

From Bunyoni we went to the border. Turns out you can't re-enter Uganda without paying for a multi-visit visa which will cost around 400 USD. I didn't want to travel solo to Rwanda so we negotiated and worked it out so that everyone could come with me. When we went through customs in Rwanda, they made us empty our bags and throw away any plastic bags. Plastic bags are not allowed in Rwanda, they only use paper or cloth for environmental reasons. Awesome! They also have one day a month where everyone is required to clean up the cities, so neeedless to say, it was a completely different world then Kenya and Uganda. The roads were paved and not dirt, the security is much more emminent, and it's so much more clean.

So after a long night of border crossing and trying to find a hotel without any Rwandan Francs ( money), we finally were able to sleep only to have to wake up early and hit the road again. I went on my way to Gisenyi while the rest of the group went back to Uganda. At least now they can say that they have been here right?

The ride to Gisenyi was incredible! The mountains, waterfalls, terraced hills, villages and people were so inspiring and I'm so excited to be here. Gisenyi itself is breathtaking and I can't wait to relax on the shores of Lake Kivu.

I have met the people I will be working with and can't wait to start! I will keep you updated!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jambo!

Jambo means hello in Swahili and everyone everywhere in Kenya says it when you pass them on the street.

First things first,
I flew to London on Virgin Atlantic (awesome airline) and had a 12 hour layover. I took my time and explored the city by buying a bus ticket and stopped by all of the major sights. London is a wonderful city.

I got back the airport in perfect time, we loaded the plane and thought we were ready to go. Not, they had a mechanical error so they kept us on board until they fixed it. So here we are, just sitting at the gate for over an hour when they tell us that it can't be fixed and that we will have to switch planes. As if that is not enough, they had to go back through and hand each passenger back his/her boarding pass which took another hour. By the time we de-planed, they switched gates, got all of the luggage switched it was 4 hours later.

Luckily when I arrived in Nairobi, my friends were patient enough to wait for me and then we took off. We explored the bustling city, grabbed some lunch ( they even had a veggie burger!) and then we went to the cultural center where we watched different dances of native tribes. So great.

We then hopped on the overnight bus to Kampala Uganda. After 17 hours, dirt roads, no shocks, humidity, no shower for 4 days and having to deal with customs, visas etc at 3:00 AM it was a relief to finally make it.

Kampala is GORGEOUS! I love it here and the people are so wonderful. I have yet to meet a person who was mean, or even somewhat rude. They have been so hospitable and kind. I think having a 2 year old with us helps a bit :) Well I am off to relax and read while overlooking Lake Victoria... Pure Bliss.

(pictures to come)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Finally!



It's official...I'm gradeeeated! Now what?

For now: AFRICA!

Tejas




I drove to Texas with my brother. After 2 days solid in a car and one day on land, we had quite the memories to recall.

Memories:
-RAIN.... the WHOLE drive
-Driving through 500 ghost towns on small state highways
- Experiencing prom night at the Chili's in Roswell New Mexico
-Checking into a motel at 2:00 AM and having the best sleep of my life
-good tunes
-Wal Mart in Brownsville
-not being able to find anti-bacterial anything due to Swine flu paranoia
-seeing my first wild toad
-going grocery shopping for Cams survival food... PB&J, Spaghetti and cereal.
-grilled cheese and tomato soup
- gender equality throw-downs with Cam's roomies
-experiencing 10000% humidity
-talking and hangin with my awesome bro