I'm taking a quick break from the series I was doing about our past, to update you on what's going on here right now.
I mentioned a while back that I would update you regarding our summer plans when we knew more. Well, the uncertainty has persisted throughout the summer, so I kept delaying any sort of official announcement that we had given up on our plans to go the U.S. Yet here we are in August, and the international airport here is still closed, and there is no sign that it will open any time soon. So I think it's now safe to say that we are stuck in Uganda for the duration of summer--which means that we will NOT be able to come to the U.S. to help our daughter transition to University, or visit churches and supporters. That obviously makes us sad, but we trust God, and will continue to evaluate future plans as the situation changes.
Well, seeing as how we are stuck here right now, and since we had not taken a family vacation out of the city of Kampala in well over two years (since we were in the U.S. last summer), we decided to take a few days to get out of Dodge, and breath some fresher air.
Some MAF friends of ours own a small rustic cottage in Western Uganda, that they rent out for very affordable prices, nestled in between two small crater lakes. There is a bunch of wide open space with hiking trails, grassy hills, and the sounds and smells of nature... just what we needed!
Here is the view that we enjoyed from the front porch of the cottage, as we ate our home-made dinner. Those mountains in the distance are the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountain range--the highest mountain range in Africa. They are on the border between Uganda and Congo, and although the ones in the picture are only 7-8,000' high, they actually get much higher just a bit to the south, reaching heights well above 17,000', with permanent snow and glaciers. Some day I would love to climb them, but it is very expensive to hire the required guides, so who knows.
We enjoyed watching the sun set behind that cloud, which looked to us a lot like a nuclear mushroom cloud. We joked that maybe some people just got so fed up with the Covid-19 stuff that they just decided to set off a nuke... thankfully it's not quite that bad, yet.
While we were there, Hudson turned 16! We celebrated by taking the family to dinner at a restaurant in Fort Portal. Being a large family on a tight budget, we don't often get to all go out to eat, so this was truly a rare treat. Hudson enjoyed a crocodile burger. Yes--it really is real crocodile. Don't worry, there were also plenty of chips (their word for fries) and a pizza, to help fill him up. ;-)
I mentioned that the cottage is nestled between two crater lakes. Here's a panorama showing the area. Tanner and Sanyu are on the edge of the rim of one of the craters. If you're interested, you might be able to click on the photo to enlarge it and see more detail.
The boys always dream of fishing, but very rarely seem to get the chance. There are HUGE nile perch available to catch up in the protected areas of Murchison National Park, but that is crazy expensive. In normal times, people fly here from all over the world to take part in fishing competitions there in the dry season. And you can also hire expensive guides and boats to go out onto Lake Victoria for trophy perch. But we were just happy to have a hand at catching some small tilapia in the quiet waters of the local lake. The boys were very persistent and patient, and eventually they all caught a few.
We also enjoyed swimming in the cold waters. The lakes are very deep, and so the boys thought it was fun to swim in the 'creepy', dark water.
We also did some paddling around in a little raft. If you look closely, you can see Sanyu also along for the ride.
In truth, it was mostly just Joy and I that paddled the raft around--the picture below is one of the rare times that the boys were actually using the raft in the way it was intended. Normally they were using it as sort of a floating "king of the mountain" thing--seeing who could get onto the raft and control it, without being pushed off or flipped over by their brothers. Good fun!
One of our favorite things was just to go for long walks... something that is definitely not doable (at least not with the peace and quiet and beauty of nature all around) in the city of Kampala.
One morning Sanyu (who absolutely loved hiking and climbing the 'mountains' around us) and I got up early and climbed to the top of a steep, pointy, peak, several hundred feet above the lakes. Once on top, we enjoyed a breakfast picnic of hot chocolate, cold dry cereal, and apples, as the sun rose.
And then Sanyu, who is extremely coordinated and flexible for her age, decided to do some stretching and then started doing cartwheels right up on top of the peak, with a tremendous view in all directions. It was totally epic!
Speaking of epic, the sunsets were pretty awesome when the haze cleared. Below, Joy and the kids are walking in front on me on the rim of a small crater, overlooking the farmland and forest leading to the foothills in the distance.
And this is just a classic one--Tanner and Sanyu, walking hand-in-hand as the sun sets in the West. So cute!
Ok, well I hope you enjoyed those photos as much as we enjoyed making them. We were way overdue to get a breath of fresh air, and it was SO worth it for our sanity! Next post I'll return to the little series on how we got to where we are today.