While I`m still processing the Uganda Adventure I think I owe you a big thank you and some brief “How It Happened” story.
So, on my first night we had the worst thunderstorm I’ve ever seen. Reminder: we’re staying in a tent… No worries, we survived it, only damage is some wet clothes and mud in the tent.
Actually it is indescribable as it was an incredible week for me.
I was a bit worried, I couldn’t imagine what is waiting for me there. Well, the friendliest people, delicious food, sunshine and smiles everywhere. I felt safe and wasn’t afraid for a minute. Maybe once, when an elephant started running towards us. It just wanted to get some more snack from another tree.
Obviously the running day was a hard one, I had to cope with high humidity, heat, hills, injury.
Rise and shine early on a Sunday, yes, the race is today! Breakfast at 4.30am, when the sun’s still sleeping and you need a head torch to navigate in the camping. Anyway, everyone looks excited and ready for the big day. Let’s go!
The crowd is already warming up at the start line and the atmosphere is amazing, smiles everywhere and the sun’s just rising. 3, 2, 1, Gooooo! My first race ever and I’m doing it in Uganda, how awesome is that? People cheering all around, clapping and thanking us to run.
I could`ve given up at the half marathon`s finish but I stayed out for one more round (the second half) and made it. There was a point when I saw myself diving into a cold pool and drinking it up (hallucinating without drugs? Cool!). Then I shook it off and kept going.
The route had some spectacular views, we were on 1200m and the fog was just about to disappear in the valley. I have to admit I was walking up on the hills a few times, the 35 degree heat and the 500m elevation were against me.
But on the other hand running in this beautiful scenery kept me energized so are the villages and schools that we ran through where kids were waving, smiling, cheering us, running to us to hold our hands or even pulling us up onto the next hill.
Thousands of them along the course and everyone wants a high five, a hug or just to touch you. One of the best moments was when a small girl ran to me and she was clapping in excitement, only because she was able to touch me for a second as I was passing by.
I felt freedom and happiness. But I still don`t like running (or not more than 10K).
Things, memories keep coming up in my mind: campfire, friendships, wild shower, sunrise and sunset above the valley, beautiful green scenery, unbelievably welcoming people, the calm morning breakfasts at the open air canteen with that view, the kindness, the laughs, my tent, I think I even miss my headtorch and mosquito repellent or just being a bit dirty, the bus journeys with a new person to get to know next to me each time and kids, kids and kids. General happiness everywhere without having much. A lesson, an inspiration.
My main project was the Bugabira Primary School, where with the UGM Team alongside with the runners and with your generosity, they (we) could establish a sustainable system to provide proper education there with a meal 3 times a day for the local kids. Huge achievement.
Actually that was the best day when we visited them. They ran to us to welcome with a high five, a handshake or a hug. They were singing and dancing to us and were competing for our hands to hold them. We spent the day with some groundwork in the school and hanging around with the kids, playing football and teaching some English in the class.
They started the class with a song and a hug. They're taught to love each other. Isn't it just simply awesome? A verse was also told together with a big round of applause each time when a student answered correctly to the teacher. E.g.: "Well done "name", you're very clever and we love you."
I have hundreds of pictures of that week and every single one of them erupts a dozens of other memories with a bunch of feelings. I don`t think I can ever fully describe it but there is one thing for sure, I`m much richer now.
What can I say?.... This really was an experience for a lifetime. I enjoyed every minute of it, even the ones when I had to fight with mosquitos or bugs in the tent, running up on hills or having a cold wild shower in the morning- the view made it up for it for sure.
It was unspeakably beautiful, but I can say it, I love Africa.
So, let me present to you a short youtube clip I put together:
If the quality is poor it's not just my lack of skills and lack of equipment (used my phone for recording) but maybe it`s down to settings (720p is recommended).
Namusisi and Musisi
(our given names by the kids in the Bugabira School, means: earthquake (female and male))