Updated: Sep 21
It is the 17th of December, 07:00 am, when the boat is arriving on Bugaba Island. 27 children and seven adults waiting eagerly on the shore of the firefly Camp.
For most of them it is their first time leaving the island and traveling to the mainland. It takes time till everyone and everything is inside the big boat. Five boxes full with provisions and a little backpack per child should be enough for the next five days. The boat starts and that is the beginning from our class trip.
Our goal: Murchison falls National park.
The boat trip takes eight hours. Sitting on top or next to rice, fish, ice or other stuff doesn't make the situation more comfortable. Especially the midday sun makes it harder, but we did it. :)
(Photo from the kids on the boat)
After arriving and organising our self on the mainland , a 30 min. walk awaiting us to our accommodation. Lucky that a friend of Andrew helps us out with his car. and drive our stuff up to the hotel.
There we are greeted by a very friendly young lady. After everyone was assigned their rooms, we ended the evening with going out for dinner by a friend of one of the teachers.
18th of December 2020:
The next morning we have to leave the hotel at 05:45 am. We meet up with our bus driver at 06:30 am. On time, like everyone here in Uganda, we arrived at 06:45 am.
The kids are running to our big green bus and exploring it. They are so excited and we are happy to see that. :)
Around 07:00 am everyone is sitting inside and the bus drive starts.
(photos from the walk up there)
The journey starts very relaxed. The kids are screaming happily and the mood is good. But after two hours of driving on the Ugandan roads it is getting quieter in the bus. Some of the kids fell asleep, but most of the kids don´t fell very well. They are travel sick and the roads here support these a lot.
So we stop at the roadside and buying some ginger and how can I say this helps us a looooot. :)
After six hours we arriving at the gate of the park. The first monkeys giving us a warmly welcome and hoping for food. After a short check up and introduction about the rules we have to follow when we are inside of the park, we entry the park. It is kind of a strange feeling to know, you are in a national park with a lot of wild animals, which you expect at any moment that they cross the road or stand at your window. Although everyone is so tired, we still want to stay awake, because you are afraid of missing something exciting.
At the ferry we have one hour to rest. We use the time for eating and drinking something, dancing or just sleeping under a tree.
The transfer doesn´t take long and within 20 min. bus drive we are at our accommodation.
A large green house stands in the middle of a beautiful, wide African bush landscape. Inside: two long corridors with four bed to six bed rooms. Besides a room with showers and toilets.
Simple, but for most of the children very special. Sleeping in a real bed with a mattress and not sleeping on hay with a thin blanket underneath, standing under a shower and having running water and not taking a shower into the lake or sitting on a toilet is not an everyday occurrence for most of the kids.
The rest of the day we are preparing the dinner, dancing, listening to music and exploring our area and our new "home" for the next two nights.
Our first experience with the wildness we have before going to sleep. The bus driver and us, the volunteers, sitting on the veranda of the house and brushing our teeth. Suddenly we are watching something is moving in the dark. The bus driver takes out his flashlight and we are looking directly into the eyes of a small family of waterbucks, which are laying down in the grass right before us. Happy about our encounter we hear another noise.. The bus driver shines in the direction where the noise is coming from and suddenly we are looking at a hippo, which is 10 meters away from us and having his midnight snack.
Totally absurd somehow. Brushing our teeth while looking in the dark wildness and seeing a family of waterbucks and a hippo. This is the moment where we all realize: WE ARE IN A NATIONAL PARK!
19th of December 2020:
It is the next morning, 08:00 am. We are sitting together in our "kitchen" and having breakfast. Toast with jam and margarine. After our breakfast we have to hurry up. Our plan for today is a boat trip up the Nile to the Murchison falls and after that to hike up right to the waterfalls.
The boat leaves the port resident at 09:00 am. Armed with ginger in our backpacks we are very excited.
On our way up our guide explains a lot about the animals, we are encounter. Her knowledge is so bride. She knows a lot about the national park , his flora and fauna and the history. Especially the "sausage-trees" are looking really funny.
In addition to the many different species of birds, we even spot a fish eagle.
Besides we can often see hippos, lying in large herds in the water. Sometimes a hippo dives under the w