This past weekend we decided to take a break from our regular schedule of school gardens to do a little sightseeing. The night before we embarked on the three-hour journey to Murchison Falls, northern Uganda experienced heavy rains. When we arrived at the main entrance to the park, the road was flooded with running water. Growing up, my mother always told me "You never drive through running water." As her words echoed through my mind, our driver decided to take the leap of faith and drive through the water. We made it through the flooded drive, thanks to many prayers coming from the passengers.
LaNese sees a giraffe during her trip to Murchison Falls.
The first few hours, we drove around the safari taking photos of animals. We had the opportunity to see elephants, giraffe, baboon, East African oryx, Nile monitor, oribi, warthog, gazelles, Coke's hartebeest and African buffalo.
Irene and LaNese (left) take a "Mom, I'm Fine," photo with the warthogs at Murchison Falls.
At the picnic area, there were warthogs walking around amongst the people. Irene and I decided to get close enough to take a picture with them. Probably not the smartest decision, but we were successful with only one nerve-racking moment when one of the warthogs decided to snort at us.
Irene, Timothy (Irene's brother) and LaNese on the banks of the Nile River.
The next adventure we embarked on was a boat tour of the Nile. I am afraid of water, especially crocodile-infested waters, but how many opportunities do you get to take a tour of the Nile? While on our way to Murchison Falls, we saw an elephant, hippopotamus, crocodiles and several different types of birds. This was probably one of the main highlights of my trip. If you travel to Uganda, I highly recommend a trip to Murchison Falls.
One view from a boat tour on the Nile River.
I was very fortunate to make some incredible friends during my time in Uganda. The last week of my trip centered on telling my friends and individuals I worked with "thank you" and "goodbye." I believe this quote sums up my adventure in Uganda: "I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world." This once-in-a-lifetime trip changed my life, and I am looking forward to many more trips to northern Uganda.
LaNese Mahan is a 2017 MIAP-Noble Fellow serving in agricultural development roles in Uganda. Mahan is from Sheridan, Arkansas, and is a student in the Master of International Agriculture Program at Oklahoma State University, where she focuses on education and sustainability. This fellowship is sponsored in part by the Noble Research Institute.