Now that I’ve had a few weeks to reflect on my trip to Central/Eastern Africa (Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda) and Ethiopia, I thought I’d share some of the lessons I learned. Here’s my top 10 list of the things that will always stay with me from Africa, indelibly etched in my memory: Don’t like coffee? Sorry, too bad. You will be required to consume at least 2 cups of coffee every day that you’re in Ethiopia at the request of your hosts, friendly strangers, and curious villagers (who invite you into their homes). You will learn to appreciate the intricate ritual of the Ethiopian coffee ceremony, performed carefully and respectfully with fresh cut grass, incense and a jebena. Don’t like being pulled into cultural dances? Sorry, this is also too bad. You will always become part of the exhibit with increasing likelihood the less you want to participate. It’s a combination of the locals laughing with you and at you, and sharing (or trying to share) the culture and tradition that’s steeped in them since birth. Of course the outcome is an utter spectacle. Alcohol helps with the shame. (I became part of this performance too a few minutes later. The more….
Today was another big driving day, as it took 7 hours to get from Kisase to Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. We got started at 0930 and didn’t arrive at our hotel, the Emin Pasha Hotel, until 1700. We stopped for lunch for about 45 minutes at an orphanage in a small village, and Marv made a donation. Leslie picked up some shawls at a vendor at an earlier stop, where we also picked up some Fantas….
We woke up early and a cup of coffee fueled us for the morning safari drive, where we opened up our Land Cruiser top and to spot animals. Our drive started at 0630 and we returned around 1000. We actually ended up seeing more variety the night before, but here’s what we found that morning:….
We started out on the road early, around 0800 since we had a big driving day ahead of us (about 5 hours) to transit the entire South-North expanse of Rwanda, through winding, mountain roads, not to mention several stops along the way. Today was the big day to really explore Rwanda’s history – from pre-colonial, to colonial, to neo-colonial, to modern….
On our second full day, we spent most of the time in the car on winding mountain roads, crossing from Bujumbura (Buja), Burundi into Butare, Rwanda. Before we left, Leslie captured this stunning photo of Vienne from the hotel, who toured with us the previous day – we later emailed it to him….