Saturday, 18 February 2012

So long, farewell...

My last stretch in (Ru)ganda was full to the brim with fabulousness. Two weeks ago, a group of interns and I took a bumpy 8 hour bus ride to the western edge of Uganda to stay on the shores of Lake Bunyoni, which true to its reputation as the ‘honeymoon hot-spot of Uganda’, was spectacular.  A Canadian, Brazilian, 2 Dutch, 2 Japanese, and 3 Chinese kids canoed, swam and dived from a tree-top (enema-inducing) diving board into the deepest, and arguably the most beautiful lake in Uganda. 

Hello paradise!
note: canoeing is NOT as easy as it looks in the movies.
The last week at the office was bittersweet. Some difficult goodbyes to be said, but I finally got to do some of the fun things that I’ve been putting off over my five months here: I taught the teens how to tie-dye, they in return taught me how to make traditional Ugandan paper beads, and since TEENS Uganda operates an AIDS clinic, I thought it appropriate to get myself tested for HIV*. 
TEENS Uganda: home of Uganda's wildest.
The next weekend I decided to up the adrenaline factor, and went white water rafting on the Nile in Jinja, which boasts some of the best WWRafting in the world. I’ve never been so terrified and at the same time so exhilarated in my life.  Being thrown out of the raft five times on class five rapids in croc-infested waters was just the thrill I needed to honour my last weekend in Uganda.
You will be sincerely missed, my matooke-ridden nation.

*Negative. Thought I’d leave you hanging there.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Sippin' on Paradise

exceptionally sweaty
Ventured to Sipi Falls last weekend, the set of three spectacular waterfalls at the foot of Mount Elgon. It took about five hours (and a delightful slue of near-death slip n’ slides) to hike to all three falls, but the effort was well worth it (the pictures tell it all). 

 In addition to the falls, we also took a tour of a local coffee plantation and learnt just how much work goes into the production of a quality cup of joe. We picked, husked, roasted, and ground the beans, all by hand, and in the end were able to drink the fruits of our labour. Considering I only ever drink the stuff when I'm hungover or in the thick of exam season, I can genuinely say that I've never tasted a better brew. Look out Starbucks, I now know all your secrets. 
A coffee bean; freshly picked and peeled. Yum.

Beans are dried, then ground to remove the husks.

Beans are roasted over a charcoal pit stove, cooled and ground again, boiled with water, then voila: liquid gold!
On this trip I was also introduced to the game Mafia, and discovered that under the scrutiny of a mob of townspeople, I am a horrible horrible liar.