Still smiling and smooth sailing!Welcome welcome, so glad you're back!
It looks like we enjoyed our brief stopover in Brussels as we contemplated the origin of the Brussels sprout, whether or not to purchase a Belgian waffle from a vending machine, and many other riveting/relevant travel topics.
As I start writing this post, my computer tells me it's 8 am when it's about 5 pm here in Entebbe. Surprisingly, jet lag hasn't set in despite the 9 hour time difference--what a blessing! (Knock on wood...)
Travels were smooth despite the minor hiccups of switching my flight from Saskatoon to Calgary on the morning of the 14th to the evening of the 13th--praise God! I spent the entire journey from Calgary to Entebbe alongside my friend and fellow scholar, Brooke (4th yr Nursing). Casey (brand new RN!) and Anne-Sophie (1st yr Nutrition) joined us at Toronto airport and we set out internationally together. We were later joined by Rayden (1st yr Vet) and Haley (3rd yr Nursing) in the van taking us to the guest house, and Victoria (3rd yr Nutrition) landed sometime in the wee hours of the morning after her own adventures spent in Scotland.
Although I am filled with anticipation for what lies ahead, mixed in with these emotions is a sprinkling of sadness. As I said my good-byes and left Canada behind, I was reminded of the many things that I will miss. This list consists
Casey, the Chicken Whisperer
Just passed her NCLEX and is officially a registered nurse--but is now moving on to her true calling in life.
primarily of people (you know who you are!), followed closely by food. (Don't judge me, I'm a nutrition student...) For instance:
• Tim Hortons.
There's something strangely comforting about a cheap and mediocre cup of coffee that's pretty much synonymous with "Canada".
Raw leafy green vegetables washed in untreated water? The food safe part of my brain says NO while my love of salad cries a little.
• Ice cream.
Once again, in the name of food safety. Although I'm somewhat more likely to risk it with this one than salad...
• Bubble tea.
I appreciate that cassava is a staple food here in Uganda, but in my humble (Asian) opinion, cassava tastes best when it is in tapioca pearl form.
And so forth. But I'm not one to complain, and there have been many pockets of joy to be found in my brief time in Uganda, already! Just in regards to food, we've indulged in some delicious "half cakes", crepe-like pancakes, fresh fruit and juices for breakfast; sweet potatoes and matooke (plantain), okra, groundnut sauce, goat meat, and fresh fish for lunch; comforting foods like samosas, spring rolls, and soups for supper.
The beauty of the
Our Entebbe Home!
Presenting Anne-Sophie, the poster child for our current home away from home. :)
land is breathtaking, whether it's taking in the redness of the earth or the lush green vegetation interrupted by splashes of colour in flower form. I love the different lizards and birds that cohabit with us at the guest house, and I have deeply appreciated the huge amounts of patience and kindness shown by the people who have taken us around this little corner of the country.
After grabbing some Uganda phones and spending about a million Ugandan shillings (yes--a MILLION) on wi-fi modems yesterday, which only adds up to about $100 CDN each when split up among the seven of us, we had the opportunity to tour the botanical gardens that was filled with gigantic trees originating from all around the world: palm, Tarzan, (I'm sure there's an official name for the tree, but I don't remember it), breadfruit, jackfruit, starfruit, durian, "antimalarial" avocados, incense, and many more. We ended our guided tour standing in front of Lake Victoria, the second largest freshwater lake in the world (only edged out by Lake Superior--go Canada!) as we watched monkeys swing around the gardens that had allegedly escaped from the zoo.
Today we drove through some of the bumpiest,
My resident reptile
Just a friendly neighbourhood chameleon making his(her?) home on my hat. You know, the usual. ;)
slantiest roads to spend time at the Reptile Village--a community based organization that rescues/rehabilitates reptiles and seeks to educate the public about their value. In addition to learning a wealth of information about different kinds of reptiles, we had the opportunity to see chameleons, tortoises, snakes, and crocodiles up close (and excluding the crocodiles, we got to hold them too!). I am by no means a reptile person, but this was definitely an incredible and worthwhile experience.
Tomorrow we head to Ssese Islands and then we will be back in Entebbe for another couple of days before we head over to Mbarara for the start of our leadership training. Although the original plan had us going to Mbarara earlier and entailed less relaxing time on the islands and in Entebbe, I have appreciated this time for reflection and connection with team mates over cards, shared meals, supermarket adventures, and spontaneous walks. Anne-Sophie even brought her ukulele, so it's looking like we can celebrate the gift of music together. Honestly, this whole trip is such a gift and I am super-duper looking forward to sharing more of these memories with you.
Stay tuned and stay awesome!
Lots of love,
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