Rebekka Campbell

bekkac

Rebekka Campbell

At large in Africa



Africa » Uganda » Northern Region » Murchison Falls NP July 26th 2009

My other big trip here in Uganda has been to Murchison Falls, a vast waterfall on the Nile several hours downriver of my current home in Bujagali, with a game reserve and rhino sanctuary nearby. I travelled up with a friend, joining another six people at Red Chilli Backpackers in Kampala for the six hour drive north-west. I’m getting more used to journeys here now: the long, dusty roads, the massive billboards advertising beer and cooking oil, the enormous speed bumps at every trading centre, the hands of bananas, meat on a stick, bottles of water and cassava chips thrust through the window, children waving and yelling, “Muzungu, Muzungu!’, the dirt tracks, pot holes and lush vegetation. The uneventful, smooth roads of home, with their shiny clean service stations, informative road signs and total absence of ... read more
Foam
Red Chilli campsite, Murchison
Giraffe


It’s not all work, work, work here, of course! I’ve treated myself to two amazing trips while I’ve been here, the first to go Gorilla tracking in Bwindi, over in the west of the country, and the second, last weekend, up to Murchison Falls, around six hours north-west of Kampala. The Afro-alpine landscape of Bwindi (sometimes known by the wonderfully romantic title ‘Bwindi Impenetrable Forest’) is very different from Bujagali, and although the distance is little more than from London to Manchester, even in a private vehicle the journey took us fifteen (yes, really!) hours. Much of the road on the way is still unsurfaced, and the last two hours of the journey took us crawling in pitch darkness up a narrow and precipitous mountain dirt track to the Nkuringo campsite, a comfortable tent and a ... read more
Into the forest
Chilling out
Watchful

Africa » Uganda » Eastern Region » Bujagali Falls July 3rd 2009

It’s hard to believe, but I’m now at the end of week four of my seven weeks in Uganda. The past few weeks have been incredibly busy, both with work and socialising! Access to the internet is limited, and power has been pretty erratic, so I’m grabbing an opportunity to upload this now and have another entry half-written to follow soon. Struggling with photos at present as the uploader is playing up, but have added them to the previous two so you can start to get a picture and managed to get a few in here. Loads more to come later. Thanks to all who have posted messages - please keep them coming! It's great to hear from home - sometimes I feel very far away, and texts and emails often seem to be going astray. ... read more
Making organic pesticides in the agriculture lesson
With friends at St John's secondary school
Crammed in at St John's dorm

Africa » Uganda » Eastern Region » Jinja June 10th 2009

It’s mid-afternoon, I’ve finished work and had a lazy late lunch overlooking the Nile, and now I’m settling in outside my banda for the afternoon in the shade to do some writing/reading/thinking dozing. I’m starting to settle into a nice African pace of life now, and getting to know the area a little better. Sunday began with a guided walk around the village, led by Muganda and Oko, two 17-year-old local guys who are earning a little extra cash to see them through secondary school. They introduced us to their families and to some of the locals and showed us the various crops being cultivated in this incredibly fertile soil - matoke (green bananas), coffee, avocados, mangos, paw-paws, sugar cane, chillies, maize, jack fruit to name a few. They also taught us to greet people in ... read more
Teacher and children at Kyabirwa pre-school
Painting at Namulesa Primary School
The HIV/AIDS message is pretty blunt here - poster displayed in the primary school office

Africa » Uganda » Eastern Region » Jinja June 6th 2009

I’m trying to avoid sounding like a stuck record, banging on about contrasts, but have I experienced some over the past 24 hours!! Joburg to Entebbe, Uganda’s airport, is only a four-hour flight north, so I was glad of the check-in time at the start to process some of my experiences and prepare for the next stage of the adventure. And by huge, astonishing coincidence, I bumped into Carolyn, a friend from Hampstead Quaker Meeting, queuing for the flight! She was on her way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with two African colleagues and is working for Peace Direct, a charity which supports local peace-building initiatives in a number of African countries. Her journey makes mine seem very tame - she’s visiting projects in Mozambique, DRC and Sudan. Arrived at around 7pm last ... read more
My banda
Flowers at Eden Rock
Inside banda number 5

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Cape Town June 4th 2009

Apologies - no pics for now as the connection speed here in Uganda is pretty slow! Coming soon... We spent the last three days of my South African trip in Cape Town, soaking up the atmosphere of the harbour with its glamorous shops and restaurants, visiting the museums and driving up the stunning coastline to Pringle Bay, past the vineyards, the mountains and the golden beaches with their communities of pastel-coloured holiday homes. The Cape - green, rainy and much more familiar to my northern European eyes, felt much more relaxed and also a little more racially integrated than Joburg. We walked, even after dark, and although the car doors were still kept locked, it was to keep out the baboons, rather than to prevent robbery! I continued my cultural education at the Slave Lodge, the ... read more

Africa » South Africa » Gauteng May 31st 2009

Well, I’m certainly experiencing the contrasts and contradictions of Africa. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever encountered so many in one week! On Saturday I was taken on a tour of Soweto, the residential district formed from the South West Townships where much of the city’s black population was compelled to live (under curfew) during the years of apartheid. It might seem voyeuristic and intrusive to ‘tour’ a residential district which is home to several million people, many of whom live in desperate poverty. But tourism has helped to create jobs and income for local people and Ebrahim, my guide, assured me that I’d be given a friendly welcome and that the residents are proud to share Soweto’s life and history with newcomers. Even Soweto itself is a place of contrasts. The vibrant community life ... read more
Former miners' homes, Soweto
Shanties and gardens, Motsoaledi
Inside a home, Motsoaledi

Africa » South Africa » Gauteng » Johannesburg May 28th 2009

And here I am, in Africa. The overnight flight was completely straightforward: a little delayed, but friendly, efficient and uneventful. I found myself slightly obsessed by the flight tracker, which traced our journey out of Zurich and south over Italy, down the centre of Africa and finally to Joburg. When I woke we were passing over DRC, Zambia and then Botswana; I was childishly excited to see that placenames like Stuttgart and Geneva had been replaced by Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Livingstone, Lusaka and Gaborone. I now have my first ever visa in my passport, a mark of how little travelling I’ve really done before. My friend Sandy and her husband Colin were at the airport to pick me up, and by mid-morning I was sipping rooibos tea by the bougainvillea, watching the autumn leaves drift from the ... read more
Maple leaves in the garden, Auckland Park
Snoozing hippo at Joburg Zoo

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Willesden May 22nd 2009

About Soft Power Education Here they are in their own words. Should you find yourself thinking: "They sound amazing. I'd like to contribute!" I have good news for you. Go to my JustGiving page and you can donate. "We are a British-registered, non-religious charity and a Ugandan registered NGO. Initially we built two preschools for AIDS Orphans, which we continue to run. Each has around 120 children under the age of five and the preschools provide an opportunity for them to be children, have some fun and learn some important life skills. Each preschool has three teachers and a cleaner/cover tutor. Soft Power Education covers all the running costs of both preschools. In 1997 the Ugandan government introduced Universal Primary Educati... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Willesden May 22nd 2009

For anyone who's still wondering what on earth I'm doing, here are some answers to the questions I've been asked a lot over the past few months. What will I be doing? I'm spending the first leg of my trip in South Africa, staying with my friend Sandy. We met through work when she was over here a few years ago - we were both teaching in a school in north London. She runs a language school now in Johannesburg. Sandy's promised to keep me busy with both work and play, so I'm hoping to spend some time meeting her staff and students, learning a bit about South Africa and also having a little rest and relaxation before heading for Uganda. In Uganda I'll be working for a British charity called Soft Power Education, based near ... read more




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