After an early start with a blessing on departure from Rev Stephen, and a waving party of Felix (with his new trombone) and some members of the church brass band, two buses set off for the holiday.
The third bus stopped in Nebbi to collect Francesca who was to join us at Paraa Lodge. This was just as well because 20 minutes later there was a big bang from the lead bus which had a burst radiator hose. The second bus then became the lead bus and headed off to Murchison Falls and a holiday.
The occupants of the broken bus sat and waited on nearby rocks in true patient African style and passed the time by chatting lightly about this and that. As if by magic, a number of local children appeared apparently from out of the rocks waiting to have their photos taken. After Simon had sketched and Clare had collected a couple of rocks, we were ready for the mechanic to mend the van – which he apparently did.
Some miles further on, the driver pulled into a conveniently located petrol station to check the hose – and released a marvellous head of steam into the van. Luckily all the passengers were outside surrounded by local hawkers. A number of us were encouraged gently into parting with 1000’s of shillings.
Liquid refreshments were supplied to both van and occupants and we were off on our merry way. Again.
For the intellectuals amongst you, Murchison Falls National Park is a National Park with waterfalls named after Murchison. It’s on the Nile. And in Uganda. But close to Congo and in the East African Rift Valley. There are (and we’ve seen):
An awful lot of giraffes (Simon), hippos, Jacksons hartebeest, oribi, waterbuck, buffalo, elephant, crocodiles, warthogs, ground hornbills, Ugandan kob, patas monkeys, marshall eagle, lots of eagles, some birds and there was a leopard here a minute ago (Stuart)
We had a warm welcome with a cold flannel and cold fruit juice at Paraa Lodge (easily the coldest welcome so far). The imaginary swimming pool finally materialised, as did beer, G&T and pudding.
In summary we have sore bottoms from sitting on the roof of the vans saying “Look at that” and squealing a lot. And we plan to do it all again tomorrow after an early night ready for an early start.
Goodnight from Clare and Di, with dubious assistance from Nick and Simon