All photos and text are property of Dave Forney and may not be used without express permission.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Eastern Uganda

Here's a few shots from Eastern Uganda, close to the border with Kenya.  The people in this area are cattle herders.  In fact, at the strip below, there's usually hundreds of cattle wandering around (and on) the airstrip just before we land.  The boys and men quickly get the cattle off of the strip before the plane is on final approach.  Then, as we drop or load passengers the cattle tend to wander back out onto the strip again until just before we're ready to take off.  I thought it was funny that the first and only photo I've taken from this strip has a goat in it, rather than a cow.  Oh well.  

I wish I could speak the local languages.  The people are so smiley and friendly, but don't understand much English in these parts.  But I always feel super welcome here! 

I love the big, vast skies up in the northeastern parts of Uganda.  They remind me of the skies in the American West and Southwest, where you just feel so tiny and insignificant.  There tends to be a lot of haze and dust and poor visibility around Kampala, where we live, so it's nice to see the blue skies and epic clouds stretching from horizon to horizon out in these parts.  Can you spot the plane in the picture below?  It's there, on the runway, just to the left of the mountain in the distance.

Here it is up close.  Looks a lot different than the Kalimantan, Indonesia scenes I was used to for the past eight years!  No steamy jungles and dogs and chickens running around--and the strips aren't in the center of the villages.

Here's a beautiful mountain peak that rises from the valley plateau.  It's 10,000' or so tall, whereas most of the valley around is about 4,000' above sea level.  I don't know what it is about peaks like this, or big rocks, but when I see something like this I desperately want to be standing on the top.  One day I'm going to find a way to get to the base of this mountain and climb up there and fly a kite from the top.  Or even better, get a hang glider and jump off the top!  There's actually a little village located just over the edge of that grassy slope, not far from the top.  It's really picturesque looking.  It always amazes me where you find people living.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our Little Pack Rat (And other animals)

So last week our little "pack rat" had an actual pack rat in her closet.  It's no secret in our family that Hannah loves to collect things--anything and everything.  If we're throwing it out, it's a priceless treasure for Hannah, and she wants to collect it and keep it.  We often joke that she's our little pack rat.  

Well, it wasn't a joke last week when Hannah informed me that she heard "rat noises" coming from her closet.  I looked it over briefly and thought there was no way a rat could get in through the doors--they fit too tightly.  So I told her not to worry about it.  The next night she said she heard it again.  And the next.  So finally, armed with a flip flop (I might have gotten something more substantial had I actually expected to find something) I began pulling all of Hannah's priceless treasures out of her closet one at a time.  The pile in the center of the room grew ever larger...but still no rat. Finally I pulled out the last drawer at the bottom of her dresser and guess what popped out?  Yep, a real, live rat--a pack rat!  A few well placed blows with a flip flop dispatched it, but Hannah was absolutely horrified that a pack rat was living among her treasures.  And despite the extreme irony of it, and the jokes from her siblings (and daddy) she insisted that it was NOT because she was a pack rat. :-)  But we all had a good laugh over it.  Here's a shot of the newly deceased.

Speaking of being horrified, a few days later I came down in the morning to make some coffee.   It was about 5:00am and still dark outside and Joy had just walked into the kitchen a few seconds before me and claimed she'd seen a rat scurry across the kitchen counter.  I looked around and thought, there's no where for a rat to hide here...they wouldn't be dumb enough to come out into the open like this.  But I pulled the toaster out just to put Joy at ease and guess what popped out?  Yep, another rat, though a tiny one.  The only thing available were the flip flops that I was wearing which chocked up kill number two!  Who needs a rat trap when you're wearing an old pair of cheap flip flops?  

Now, in order to balance out the disgusting-ness of rat pictures, here's a shot of one of the pretty little birds that frequents the flower bush just beside our porch in the early evening.  Some day I want to walk around and take pictures of all the birds and butterflies and flowers in our yard (or garden as the Brits call it), but I just don't seem to have time for that yet.

Since we're on the theme of animals, check out these ape hangers!  OK, so it doesn't really fit into the animal theme exactly, but I still wanted to show you.  For those that aren't into motorcycles, "ape hangers" are a term used to describe the modified motorcycles where they make the handlebars super tall, so that the rider has to put his hands way up in the air like an ape while riding.  This guy could just barely reach them with his fingertips.  And the best part--he was riding while talking on his cell phone, although when I took the picture he had briefly stopped at an intersection.

Two weeks ago I had to fly in to pick some people up from the very exclusive Chobe Resort on the Nile.  They had done some short-term mission work and then took a few days here to unwind.  I took a picture just to show you how gorgeous it is.  The staff invited me to bring my family back and stay there some time.  I looked at the prices and ummm, yeah, we'll never be staying there.  "Sorry kids, no college for you--we went to the resort for a few days instead."  But it was nice to get to see it anyway.

And while I was waiting for the passengers I did get to walk around a bit and managed to see a few African animals other than the cows, goats and birds that is basically all we get to see around the city.  I didn't have my "good" camera with me, so I couldn't get really close-up shots, but at least I can prove that I've now seen a hippo and some warthogs.  I also saw some buffaloes but didn't get a picture of them.

Sometime we're hoping to do some camping (more in our price range) and then I'll hopefully get some shots of some of the other African wildlife.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Under the Hot Sun of East Africa

Although we live really close to the equator, the temperatures aren't too bad here in Kampala.  In fact, because of the higher elevations here (close to 4,000') the weather is usually rather pleasant. But that's often not the case in the villages where we fly.

As you get further north, especially when you get up into Northern Uganda and South Sudan, it gets really hot! And the sun is oh so bright!