Sunday, 30 August 2009

Uganda - MOH Day 3

Some people might say that a rest day, directly after the initial work day, is a little, lightweight, and frankly, i would have agreed with you before we actually came out here and did anything. However, we were all blessed that today is Sunday, and we couldn't work today, even if our already calloused hands would let us.

This allowed us to spend the day exploring the surrounding area, which started with a 1 hour rally/bus drive to the nearest town of Jinja. Jinja is home to the source of the River Nile as well as the burial site of Ghandi (though no one could quite explain why, answers on a postcard/email/twitter, much appreciated).

A brief boat trip took us up river, where we able to clamber up onto a small island and from there see the water ripple and bubble as it rose quickly out of the ground beneath. Before the river reached its current height, the source was a spring that would rise several feet out of the ground, now though, if you didn't know where to look, you may miss the swirl and negative currents as the Nile continues to grow.

Post river exploration, was followed immediately by a lunch at a local hotel. On Toby's recommendation, we all ordered a Tilapia fish. They are a local delicacy of these here parts and we were all curious to try the kind of fish you can eat 98% off. "Don't eat the lips" we were told by our guide, which raised several questions of A) whether fish actually have lips & B) Whether other parts of its anatomy such as the eyes, are free game (it is by the way, and is a required taste to say the least).

After a hearty meal, we were whisked off to the Jinja Rapids, which is a true force of nature to behold. We rather Britishly kept our distance from the river edge, apart from a few keen photographers, and watched in disbelief as a young guy threw himself in from the top of the rapids, and rode the river down to the calmer waters, all for a princely sum of 2000 shillings (approximately 60p), only aided by what seemed to be an inflatable yellow ball, which he rode expertly through the rocks. Clearly bonkers.

On our way back, we stopped off at Lugazi Market, which is a fantastic amalgamation of fruit stalls, fish mongers, clothes shops and fridge shops and anything else you may want. We mixed in as best you can when you are clearly white, rich and dripping in camera gear (me especially), but gradually we were welcomed by the vast majority of the town and ventured about to take in the various smells and flavours. Mark experimented with some Yam, which i'm fairly sure he wont be doing again.

As the sun began to set over the town, we made our way back to the hostel to another tasty dinner courtesy of our cook Irene who had worked her magic on a chicken that had been given to us by an appreciative local. You don't get fresher than that, not even at Morrisons.

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