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Showing posts from September, 2009

Where's the Adventure?

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I am really missing this type of thing right now. Three guys, two chickens, two bodas and one winding, dusty mountain road. Just a little bit of the ol' fear of God, what with the lack of helmets, the poorly maintained motorcycles and the hundred foot drop over the edge of the cliff.

But come on. The closest thing to adventure I've seen in the last week was a train-full of drunken Sox fans, but considering they'd just clinched the wildcard, I don't even think anybody was looking for somebody to stab.

But I don't know, let's wait and see how the weekend comes together. I have faith.

Just trying to keep (a) my silverware in my hands and (b) my fingers out of my nose

So that's that. I'm back in the US, sleeping on a couch in Cambridge and trying to figure out my life. As it turns out, I'm staying about a block away from the first apartment I lived in here after leaving Middlebury, so it's been a pretty fitting reintroduction to life in the developed world.

I don't even know where to start. The last two weeks have been pretty wild, between the mysterious Kenyan Bus Robbery, a final Restville blowout and one last Dr. James kidnapping, I was just glad to make it on the plane and through immigration without having my passport confiscated. Thanks for the memories Uganda.

And of course, three totally bizarre days in London. Looking back, I think we really just ate. I honestly don't remember much else. I think there were some castles and English gardens. I definitely remember some kind of huge ferris wheel right downtown. But it was mostly food. And beer. Delicious beer. Hopefully Luke can go back to Uganda nice and fat.

After one da…

"Sometimes the bar, well ... he eats you"

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I'm not sure where we went wrong. Maybe it was overconfidence. Maybe it was just bad luck. Either way, Nairobi, you got the best of us.

It started out well enough. We decided that we would try to just cover the 500 miles between Mombasa and Mbale in one day. It would be a long day, but with not too many days left, we figured there was no sense in wasting two days on super long bus rides.

These were deluxe buses, too. I mean, given the typical local conditions. We left Mombasa at 8am, were supposed to arrive in Nairobi "no later than" 5pm, well in time for the 8:30pm bus to Mbale. About halfway between Mombasa and Nairobi, we took a mysterious detour into the mountains. No problem, we got time. Then we took another, even more mysterious, detour to pick up the passengers on a broken down bus. Again, no biggie.

But we dawdle in the mountains for a while. Sun goes down. Dawdle a bit more. We're really getting "down to the wire," which wouldn't be a big deal e…

Unrest

In case any of you hear it on the news, yes there has been some rioting in Kampala. By all (credible) accounts, though, it should end up not being such a big deal. Of course you never know around here, but things are supposed to settle down, and may already have.

In any case, Mbale is a long way away from Kampala. And since the fighting is about a disagreement between the Buganda King and the President, that's mostly central Uganda. Out in Bugisu country (where Mbale is), there's no trouble.

At least that's what we've been able to piece together. We're traveling on the Kenyan coast, "researching" the operations of successful NGOs here. So what if they work in ecotourism. Non-profit management is non-profit management. It's amazing out here, by the way. Some serious pictures are in the pipeline. As a taste of what's to come, we went for a ride on a catamaran made of driftwood and held together with maybe three feet of fraying rope (as rinkydink as it…

Western Region

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I’m at that point where I have to accept that I will be really, actually be leaving soon. That means, among other things, tying to fit in a bunch of traveling into a quickly dwindling amount of time. Something about satisfying unlimited desires in a world of limited means.Fort Portal is a scenic little town in Western Uganda, conveniently located within striking distance of a huge national forest populated by chimps (expensive), another full of gorillas (seriously expensive), a swamp full of birds (birds? Eh. Plus don’t swamps smell bad?) and some crater lakes (wait a tick, we have one of those in Oregon).(Can you make out the Nancy Drew Jersey?)
(One of those scenic lakes)
Seriously though, you could spend weeks there. With only a few days, we opted for the lakes. As cool as seeing chimps and gorillas would have been, I can’t complain. We camped on a hill overlooking one of these bizarre crater lakers, hiked around, swam in a waterfall and saw one of the more incredible nighttime star …

Check Out my Shine

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"Be fully prepared to drink hella haterade, cause ya'll about to see how good it is to be me and how bad it is to be you."

-Thugnificent


Pretty good lookin' kicks, huh? Yeah, I know. Expensive too, cause them is real hundred dollar bills on the outside. At least that's what the guy that sold them to me said.

Hard to Believe...

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But I'm down to my last few weeks here. It really seems like just yesterday that we were sitting in a hostel, discussing how utterly charmless Kampala was and wondering how in the hell we would (a) survive being here for six months and (b) create an NGO out of six phone numbers (of which, probably half were disconnected) and a general interest in microfinance.

And now here we are. Luke has officially signed on for another four months. I'm trying to find a way to continue doing this stuff for real (i.e., get paid) back in the Land of the Morbidly Obese. As for MAPLE, the group has a house/office, clients and a product to offer, not to mention a pretty solid niche to work within, focusing on a real need that people here have and that we as a group can reasonably expect to address. All in all, not a bad use of the last six months. Not bad at all.

(Personalized Business Skills Training Seminar? Yeah, why not)

It's really gonna be tough to leave. People always talk about how we [f…