Last weekend, Michael celebrated his 29th birthday African style. It was a really special day, and reminded me of how blessed we are to live in this stunningly beautiful country. (see bottom of post for slideshow of photos!)
We spent the day about 5 hours from Kampala at Murchison Falls, one of Uganda’s most popular National Parks, with our Ugandan family. After much discussion, it was decided a few days before that we would go on a family road trip (minus the brothers) and so we (M&I, mum, dad, and sisters Esther and Rachel) bundled into a van Saturday afternoon ready for some fun and animals!
One of my favourite things about Uganda is the availability of good food anywhere, anytime! The last few years when Michael and I were living in Adelaide, we often bemoaned the lack of street food, driving the suburbs looking for a late night snack. In what seemed like the middle of nowhere – a road junction with a few stalls and some huts – we stopped to enjoy hot roasted cassava (for those of you who don’t know, its a root/tube thing) the perfect accompaniment for the long drive.
We stayed overnight in a guesthouse in a nearby town (to avoid paying enormous accommodation rates in the park!) and set off at 6 the next morning for Michael’s birthday celebrations. In four hours, on our morning game drive, we managed to see herds of elephants, gazillions of giraffes, buffalo (from a safe distance) lots of species of antelope, and many other animals. The National Park had a fantastic contrast of scenery – rainforests, lakes, savannah –complete with the river Nile meandering though the centre.
Lunch was a chance to relax and Ephraim, our Ugandan dad, ordered a cake off the menu for Michael’s b’day . We assumed it was the whole cake, but what was bought out was only a slice – generously Michael still divided it between the 6 of us! See iddy biddy cake photos below…
We set off on a boat ride down the Nile (as one does on such occasions as this) and managed to spot plenty of hippos, crocodiles and much other wildlife. The gamepark itself was named after a magnificent waterfall called Murchison Falls, that we reached by our boat ride. Exiting the boat at the base of the falls we hiked to the top, and although you can’t really capture it on camera, there were some pretty amazing views along the way and at the top!
But the most special part of the day was being able to spend it with our Ugandan family. Michael has known them for almost 10 years now, and I am still amazed that on getting engaged to Michael I had the privilege of adopting 2 families – one Australian, one Ugandan. Every extra day we spend in Uganda, we realise how impossible it would be to live here and make this place our home without their support, love & encouragement. Having a mum and a dad living in the same country as us that we can lean on, score hugs and advice from, laugh and cry and pray with, constantly crash at their home when we’re in Kampala, and a whole lot more makes a huge difference to us being so far from our Australian families. It’s not quite the same as our own families, but it’s as close as it can get, and I love and appreciate the Gensi family more each day!