“With it’s mouth wide open and  teeth looking well sharpened, only being devoured could follow”

Every member of the team was told they were crazy for attempting to bike through Uganda. To quote  Teddy Roosevelt , “credit belongs to the man in the arena” So go out there – explore, get experience, get dirty. And do good. That’s exactly what we did.

 We thought biking across Uganda would give us a holistic view of the country.  Not many Ugandans have crossed the country by car from east to west – let alone biking it. That being said, I also wanted the team and the world to know what Uganda has to offer. The usual poverty, gender issues, Kony etc surround the international media. People often find it hard to believe that our countries are much more.  And that is why we had to raft the Nile on this trip.

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“For the first time I saw my life flashing before me.Too bad there won’t be a little Muyambi to carry my genes. I daydreamed”

With the arrival of Lauren and Eric Sunday morning, we were ready to head to Jinja to raft the Nile. The entire group was full of excitement. After the conference calls, shopping for energy bars among other preparations, we were about to begin the trip. The traditional fundraisers would prefer we just bike, post facebook pictures of the bike ride and be done . But not us. We wanted to explore everything we can. I hoped that when the team returned home, they would have all kinds of stories…from the unbelievable beauty of the country, the wonderful people to a host of opportunities in this great nation. It is these stories that would attract more visitors into Uganda – not the stories of poverty and crying hungry babies. Yes hungry babies do exist in Uganda but no good foreign investment or increased tourism will come out of that. Correct me if I am wrong.


While I had rafted before, this group made it all different. The energy and anticipation was just out of this world. I watched as Will Peterson anticipated the next big wave and Powanda quietly taking in the moments. Eric and Lauren had been looking at each other in disbelief.  There could be no better way to raft the Nile than with one’s sister. This was going to be a memorable experience. And it was.

As we took the last turn, there it was. A thing of beauty and danger. Magestic and monstrous.  A class 5 rapid. Next to it was a class 6 (highest level in international ranking of rapids). The plan was to avoid the two all together. But as we neared the end, something changed. The guide – to the best of his knowledge believed we could handle the class 5 rapid. Oh, people stay away from the class 6  section entirely. You would need your lawyers present to do that. And few venture into the class 5 section that we were heading into. There I was, seated in the front of the raft. Will Peterson to my right. For the first time I saw my life flashing before me.Too bad there won’t be a little Muyambi to carry my genes. I daydreamed. Until a lion’s roar awake me.FORWARD. PADDLE HARDER. GO GO shouted the voice. It was our guide in command. I felt like a military general had taken over our raft. It was that urgent. The last thing we wanted was to capsize. Only danger could follow that. So with my heart almost literally pounding out of my chest I paddled harder. And so did the whole team. Why did I sit in the front? This is it. I am done. Fear gripped every part of my body.


That’s when I heard the quote of the trip, “THIS IS WHERE WE WANT TO BE” shouted Kevin. As our raft dipped front first into the biggest wave I have ever seen. I was sure Kevin had gone mad. No normal person would utter those words at this moment. This was precisely where I never wanted to be. I watched as the wave spread its arms far and wide. My body is now 5 inches away from going in for a hug. I certainly didn’t want to feel it’s embrace. With it’s mouth wide open and  teeth looking well sharpened, only being devoured could follow. For God’s sake – I can’t even swim. Although given the strength of the waves, it seemed to not matter. Michael Philips or not – it made no difference. Somehow Kevin thought this was entertaining. With a newly found vigor, I paddled as hard as I could. My life literally depended on it. And after what felt like a million years (time was an illusion at this point), we finally emerged out of the 20-some foot wave. A huge uproar of victorious noises emanated from our previously shut windpipes. Arms way up in the air, fingers wide spread – I give Will the loudest high five I have ever given.  Both in disbelief that we had not capsized but also excited that there was no more terror surrounding me. A few seconds later, we were all in laughter and Kevin’s statement would stick in our minds forever.


After the white water rafting had given us a run for our money, we were ready for some good Chapatis, fresh fruit juice and the group’s favorite – Avocado. Everyone seemed to devour every edible on their plate before we took the drive to Mbale for the next day. We couldn’t imagine this getting any better. Especially after the rafting. But oh men were we in for a surprise.


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