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Week 44 Revisited: Lodwar Videos Totaling Four

Lodwar School Choir (if you’re only going to watch one video please make it this one)

Refiner’s Fire (Tebi and me leading morning devotion music)

Hakuna Mungu Kama Wewe “There is no God like You” (Tebi and me leading morning devotion music)

Atooity Top (me leading an in-betweenie at a school in Lodwar)

Week 45: Rafting the Nile in Uganda

Our YAV year is winding down and so it was time for our closing retreat.  Ideas and thoughts had bounced around for quite some time, but it was eventually decided that we would go to Jinja, Uganda to raft the source of the Nile.  So, the seven of us hopped in a bus for twelve hours and found ourselves doing just that the next morning.

The Seven Kenya YAVs before:
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I had crossed over the Nile during my visit to Kampala, Uganda with Cosmas in December and was awe struck by it.  Then in Cairo in January I crossed the Nile more times than I could count, but I had never been “in” the Nile so I was excited for the opportunity.  You only live once.

Our group of seven has grown accustom to being told what to do and then doing it without question which made for good Nile rafters.  I was very happy that everyone was willing and able to participate.  We found our helmets and life jackets and headed down the Nile with our Ugandan guide, Jeff.  Our favorite quote that Jeff kept repeating was, “And just enjoy the Nile.”  It was what he said previous to that statement that made it funny.  Jeff would say, “When you find that the raft has flipped and you’re under it, reach around, find the sides of the raft, pull yourself out, lean back, grab onto your life jacket, and just enjoy the Nile.”  Awesome.

We flipped collectively, as a raft, twice, but individually we found ways to make our way out of the raft as well.  We went down eight big rapids that were all class four and class five.  Class five is the highest level that rafts can go on, but the classes go up to seven which only kayaks can go down.

As I said, we’ve become very good at taking orders and following them which resulted in some really entertaining bo-jazz.  Story number one, Jeff would say wave at the camera and we would all turn and wave to the camera not realizing that the camera’s presence meant that we were getting ready to go down something that was worthy of being photographed.  Therefore, after Jeff would tell us to wave, a second later he would say, “Get down!” which means that you turn back to back bending down in the raft while holding onto the rope for dear life… “and then just enjoy the Nile.”

This is what happened:
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Story number two, Jeff would tell us to paddle hard and so we would… not asking what we were paddling to.  Turns out one time we were paddling toward a waterfall, so if we paddled hard we would get to go down a waterfall and if we didn’t rapids.  We paddled hard because we were told to do so and were the only group out of the three to go down the waterfall… backwards.  Awesome.

Going down the waterfall backwards:
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Flip Number Two
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I spliced together a very short video from our rafting experience:

This was my favorite touristy thing that I’ve done in Africa so far.  I’m a very outdoors adventure kind of person.  I think being with my six good friends for the last time in Africa made it even better.  As Dave Matthews says, “Turns out not where, but who you’re with that really matters,” however, I would argue that where you are can definitely add to the experience as it did in this case.

To view all of the photos click here.

Seven Rapids and One Waterfall later we decided to just enjoy the Nile:
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Dave Matthews Band live tonight on Fuse

Alright, my favorite band, the Dave Matthews Band has a new album coming out Tuesday.  I’ve traveled the country to see them 11 times, but tonight we all have the opportunity to watch them from our homes for free.  So, please do.

Dave Matthews Band live tonight 10:30 Central streaming on On the tele at 8 Central on Fuse. I’ll be dancin in front of the TV… no joke, we’ll see if any pictures surface from said dancing.

Here be a informational session from CBS Sunday morning yesterday:

Here be a video to inspire you for tonight:

We are the World

I’ve had a few discussions about this song recently and I love it.  Enjoy!

Week 35: Climbing Mount Kenya

As previously mentioned, I met two guys at a coffee shop in early March from Oklahoma and Texas, Nick and Mark.  Well, we have gotten together a few times since then and two weeks ago Mark invited me to go climb Mount Kenya with him and his girlfriend.  First thought, “welp, you only live once.”  My boss okayed the trip and as the day approached for us to leave I slowly learned more about what we were doing.  I’m an outdoor kind of guy and love to go camping, but have never been on a serious climb/hike.  Mark’s major in college was Outdoor Ministry, so he is THE outdoor man and gets to say things like, “I know how to do an Eskimo Roll out of kayak, do you?”  So, I started asking Mark what to bring and he told me that I needed clothes for ten degrees and I said, “Celcius, right?”  Nope.  Fahrenheit.  Poop.  Furthermore, I thought we were going with just a guide at first.  No, we had three porters, a cook, and a guide.  We ate like royalty.  Besides the climbing it was the most posh outdoor trip I’ve been on.

The Contestants: Robert, Mark, and Karen (who is strangely the first cousin of a person I went to college and Dwight Mission with)

Monday – We woke up at 5 AM and were on the road to Mount Kenya getting to Chogoria at around 9 AM.  Then we took an old-school Land Rover from Chogoria to the Park Gate which was 20 miles.  We only got stuck once and it was thoroughly entertaining with the nine of us in there.  We reached the park gate and had lunch and then began our relatively easy 7 km (4.35 miles) first day.  Our camp site was in a cave by two water falls and was absolutely beautiful.

Mark and I at the Edge of the Waterfall:

It was -5 degrees Celcius (23 F) that night, but we were all warm.

Crazy Cool Flower:

Tuesday – We had a leasurely day on Tuesday only going 10 km (6.21 miles).

Us Hiking on Day Two:

Beautiful Waterfall and View on Day Two:

I got a migraine at some point during our way up and right after lunch my stomach started feeling queezy.  We were now at 14,075 ft. and so I believe me and the altitude weren’t agreeing on life.

Minto’s Hut (where we stayed Tuesday night)

My migraine got worse so I went to bed at 7 PM which was good because…

Wednesday – we got up at 1:30 AM so we could be ready to climb to Point Lenana.  Point Lenana is the third highest peak of the Mount Kenya peaks at 16,355 ft.  The first two have to be scaled with equipment, so those were not options.  So, by 2:45 AM we were climbing the last 7 km (4.35 miles) to point Lenana.  It was dark (obviously) and about half way I saw the first snow I’ve seen in Kenya which was exciting.  Then the snow and ice became a nuisance.  My altitude sickness got a bit worse as we increased altitude (who’d a figured), but we arrived at Point Lenana just as the sun was rising.  It was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit and windy, but we had plenty of layers on so it was not bad.  We stuck around at the top for about fifteen minutes and then headed back down.

At the top of Point Lenana of Mount Kenya at sunrise:

Mountain Peak Circle Rainbow (note the ice on the bottom left side):

The down was more annoying than the up because of the ice and rock combination so I took it really slow.  I’m definitely a 25 year old tortoise rather than a hare.  Slow and steady wins the race… or doesn’t get hurt.  We got back to where we had spent the night Tuesday and met our porters and had breakfast.  I was feeling pretty sick, but after lying down for an hour I felt much better.  Then we walked the entire distance we had walked the previous two days back.  Therefore, we walked a total of 18ish miles Wednesday… I slept well.  I was really proud of my body and especially my legs because one has a titanium rod in it and the other has shin splints, not so great.  So, I was proud of my 18ish miles in one day and my legs, good job guys!  We got back to Chogoria later than expected so we had to stay the night there and catch the 5 AM matatu back to Nairobi.

Me in the back of the matatu for the ride home. I hope you’re entertained because I sure wasn’t during this experience, but now looking at the picture I am definitely entertained…

It’s cool to say that I climbed Point Lenana of Mount Kenya and was at 16,355 ft.  So, I said it, I feel cool now.

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