Mbalin in Mbale*

So we're back in action after a long weekend of relaxification and fun. Sorry for the huge downtime in posting, but I think it will be worth it because we actually have something interesting to talk about now. For everyone who sent me angry emails for not keeping up on the posting, it's nice to hear that y'all are staying interested.

We decided it was time for a little vacation and went to the mountains on the border with Kenya. We cruised up to Sipi Falls, on mt. Elgon, with our friend we've been staying with in Lira. When we got there, we met up with some French girls and some Rastas named Brown, Roots and Dennis (don't let the decidedly un-irie name throw you, homie can hang). It was my first time ever really hanging out with forreallife rastas, it was everything you'd expect it to be. We basically spent the entire weekend listening to reggae and laying around in hammocks. It's a hard life, it really is.

(burn it down)

(breakfast at speed zero)

The place we were at was really beautiful. It was like a mile above sealevel, waaaaaay up in the mountains. There were huge sweeping views of the valley stretching into Karamajong country, Uganda and Kenya. About the Karamajong: word is they're a cattle herding people. It sounds like they're a nomadic people and cattle is their lifelihood, that's really just what they do. From time to time there's a rival tribe in Kenya that rolls through to rustle cattle, when this happens all hell breaks loose and they say to get the hell out of dodge. I picture it like Tombstone, but with assault rifles and the specter of RPG's; honestly I don't know that I'm that far off. Anyway, there are these three pretty big waterfalls, which apparently get huge when you're not at the tail end of an abnormally long dry season. There's also a lot of good hiking that we missed out on because the weather turned on us. We're talking about coming back and attacking the summit, a 3 day hike that requires at least one stop for altitude acclimation.

(the view from our campsite)

We decided to go up to the ol' swammin' hole to get some relief from the heat. Swimming hole in rural africa, no big deal right? So we pack into the van and drive up there, and it is ruuural. Folks living their lives just like the rest of us though. We get to the spot, which looks very cold and inviting, but it's Africa and you're not supposed to swim in the water. How serious can they be? Oh, dude, that cow just shit in the water! Maybe lets just take a little walksie to think this through. We walked for like 5 minutes through a little mudhut village and ended up on top of this huge cliff looking out over like a million foot drop, which was of course amazing. But hey look, a woman washing dirty (visibly very dirty) diapers in, you guessed it, the very same river. Ok, Swimming is out. We took in the views and had a good chat with our guide Juma about life, fun times.

(sipi falls residential neighborhood)

So, it was a fun weekend. It was really a lot like your average mid-summer Oregon trip to the reever, except the water was sketchy (or maybe we need to get over it. Various real, fake and future Doctors out there, what's the recommendation?), and the hippies were rastas. We drank a lot of Waragi, which is the Ugandan liquor. It tastes kind of like gin, I think if we found some top shelf it would be really pretty tasty.

It started raining so we went to Mbale, the town at the base of the mountain. Mbale is awesome, no doubt my favorite town in Uganda so far. It's a cool little provincial town, there's even a clock tower.

We head back to Lira tomorrow. I think the plan is to go for little vacations like this every couple weeks just to see more of the country. So things should stay reasonably interesting.

*Credit to P-Pheezyon on the solid use of language


  1. I think a safe rule is: if you wouldn't drink it don't swim in it, but that rules out every swimming place ever including public pools (which some would have you believe are horribly filthy). Personally, I think if there is reasonable flow, a healthy ecosystem, and a lack of industrial scale effluent (chemical or sewage) it's probably as safe as any other river in Africa. Which is to say a few dirty diapers and cow poo don't compare to whatever is endemic in the water out there. At the end of the day, you're going end up drinking some of the water while splashing around, so choose wisely.

  2. hahaha ok,thats interesting but well at d end of the day ul probably see one of the kids in the neighbourhood diving in2 that water.., qstn is, how much immunity do you have and how used r u 2 such conditions?these can solve everything.. whereas some av a high immunity 2wards malaria n i dont, some could also av a high immunity 2wards nything that comes from these waters,. so dont hesitate to try,jst try..... Rodney


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