We are in Ant-Abba, Uganda. Uganda's only international airport is located here. Therefore, we came to this city first. It was a nighttime so, our guide, Richard, and I said we wanted to sit down and have dinner at one of Ant-Abba's most beautiful restaurants.
We started talking about extreme sports. Therefore, we talked about rafting too. Hence, there is a very popular rafting place in Jinja, Uganda. I told Richard we wanted to try ourselves in rafting. That is why he called the rafting center. They said that there should be six people on the raft (an inflatable rubber boat), four people were booked for tomorrow, and two people were needed. Thus, we accepted this as a good message of fate.
Here, we are going from Ant-Abba, Uganda to Jinja. There was also a road from the center of Kampala, but we did not enter the city, we took an outside road in order to get there faster. We left early in the morning so that we would not lose our day. Early in the morning, people always rush to work or the market. Poverty is rampant in the country's roads and it is obvious in people's appearance. You feel like you are in a very strange world. The cars we come across on the road are very old. They use motorcycles as a cheap and fast means of transportation. Since the roads were in a very bad condition and the car was very old, our trip took a long time.
Since it is morning now, the air is still fresh. However, the weather will soon become terribly hot. In addition, the air conditioner in our car does not work. We closed all the windows tightly because of the dust. Nevertheless, during the trip, the dust still filled the car. In some places, it was so dusty that we had to cover our faces with our own clothes.
As soon as we reached Jinja, we found a suitable hotel and settled down. This smiling woman registered us and then showed us our room. The time, as you can see, is 9:40 in Ugandan time. It is just an hour behind our time. We unpacked our things and then left the hotel. We needed to hurry to get to the rafting club in time.
We headed to the place where the rafting would take place. Along the way, we came across very small, poor houses. It is heartbreaking to see that in such scorching heat, people live in thirsty, difficult conditions. They have almost no earnings. They have nothing to cultivate and no livestock to sell. They live completely unaware on what is happening around the world - education, books, plans, modernity, and technology.
Children who saw our car were waving at us and would run after the car. Sometimes, when they saw the car approaching the villages from afar, they would run away. There are villages where there is very little traffic. When children see a car, they are overjoyed, they want to get closer, to buy something, to communicate, to have a closer look in order to try to quench their endless interests.
This is a church. The only neat, clean building in this area was this church. Christian missionaries work very hard in Africa. At least, they used to be very strong. The propaganda of Muslims is quite weak compared to theirs.
These people look awesome. They did not smile all the way long. They had such serious faces. Sometimes, we managed to make them smile. During such trips, a person often feels threatened and frightened. But sometimes one wonders what would happen if they suddenly decided to rob you.
When we reached the rafting center, we met our teammates. These people were young doctors who were volunteering in Jinja. The boys came from England, and one of the ladies was from Australia and the other one from France. They came to the rafting to get some adrenaline, and to be away from the hard work. In fact, Africa is adrenaline from head to toe; there is no need for extra adrenaline.
Finally, we reached the Nile. It still looks calm and hospitable. We went over it to go to the rafting club. The first time I looked at the Nile, I had strange feelings. Even now, I feel the same way when I look at its pictures.
This is the rafting club. Here, after the preparations are over, we will leave for the beginning of the Nile, which we so much were in a hurry to see. This is where our adventure begins.
Although there is a shortage of opportunity that facilitate rest and relaxation within the club, they still have created certain conditions. This is our guide Richard. Here, we were asked about to what degree we were familiar we with rafting. They were interested in what stages we were ready to go through. We told them that although it was our first time practicing rafting, we were ready to go through all the tests. In fact, there was a small misunderstanding, for we did not understand what they said. This misunderstanding would have cost us dearly. You will see for yourself in the second post about rafting.
The club has a very interesting interior.
While their colleagues work comfortably in their home countries and receive good salaries, these doctors came to Africa to help people without any compensation in return. When asked, "What are your interests in coming here?" they were surprised saying, "does a person have to have personal interests in order to help those in needs?" It is difficult to understand how selfless these actions are without seeing Africa that has a harsh climate and dilapidated infrastructure. It was a great pleasure to meet these humanist and noble people.
We are smiling, completely oblivious of what exactly awaits us ahead. We will have to swim 30 km under the scorching sun, above the underwater rocks and cross various barriers.
We are very ready for rafting. We are not allowed to take sharp or broken items. We left them all in the car. It is necessary to wear a helmet in rafting. There is a danger of the boat capsizing; we could get injured by hitting against the rocks. I will share with you what we experienced in rafting. In the next photo we have left this dangerous adventure behind.
The Nile has such a beautiful view. We went up to the heights, sat under the trees, and watched the view. After a hard rafting test, this scene had a different presence. The ancient and magnificent Nile, which you know only from books, is now in front of you, you can bathe in the water, and you stand on its shore and watch. We have had different adventures since we arrived in Africa, and now I have the opportunity to sit back and think. It is strange to realize all that in Africa - at the head of this world, on a different continent. One starts wondering, "Where I was a week ago, where am I now"?
After the rafting, a table was set under this pavilion and we ate with the whole team. The buffet was open, and everyone approached and picked out the food they wanted. We meant that there were only two types of food when we said, "the food they wanted". We took some pasta from the table, added some canned fish we had brought with us on it and ate it.
After rafting, everything that is softer than stone tastes good. These baskets can be used as a small table; you put a tray on them and start eating your food.
Elvin finds friends everywhere. There is no white or black friend for a friend is a friend. These are members of the rescue team. As we moved on the raft, they followed us on kayaks in order to help us in times of danger. They were very helpful in certain moments. The longhaired lady passed through the most dangerous places with her solitary kayak so skillfully that it was immediately felt that she had grown up in the arms of the Nile.