Saturday, July 5, 2014

Mpola, Mpola

"Slowly, slowly" (Mpola, mpola) defines how most things go in Uganda- the pace of life is so different here, and sometimes it seems like there are more than 24 hours in a day! But Alex and I just got back from a retreat at Queen Elizabeth National Park, and I think now that these next four weeks are going to fly by.. though I don't know what the phrase for "quickly, quickly" would be in Runyankole, and I almost doubt they have one! We stayed in the best hotel I have ever been in during my travels (Twin Lake Resort, for all you curious folk), and enjoyed some wonderful food- they even had drip coffee! It was like heaven. We were able to get away from Ishaka (small town life and days in the office can really wear down on me) and relax and enjoy some of the beautiful landscape that Uganda has to offer. On the 4th, we woke up at 5:30 a.m. and went on a guided tour of the park, led by a man who has worked in some of the Ugandan national parks for over twenty years! The reason we started so early, other than to pack as much into the day as we could, was to get into the park and search for lions- they sunbathe until about 9 a.m., and then go into the bush until the sun has gone down in the evening. With such an experienced guide, it took us almost no time to find them laying out in the grass, and we got to watch as they moved into the bush mpola mpola.

After that, we toured more of the park and saw elephants, hippos, water buffalo, warthogs, antelope, and probably about 50 different kinds of birds- QENP has over 600 different species of birds, more than any other national park in Africa! We rode a boat on the Kazinga Channel from Lake George to Lake Albert, which ultimately feeds into the Nile River. And best of all, our hotel overlooked a wide expanse of the park, so we were able to go to sleep and wake up to it each morning! We're back in Ishaka now, and after a few weeks of finishing some work in the office, we can finally get back out into the field and visit more people, villages, and organizations starting this week. As I said- these next few weeks may go by quickly, and I can't wait to soak up as much of Uganda as I can!

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