My Parents in Africa
My mom has always said that she and my dad are "travelers, not tourists." I always chuckled at that comment because they had just returned from their eighth cruise or toured around England. Their "traveler-ness" hadn't been tested until the day they would go to Africa. And they were up to the challenge.
When the day finally came for their arrival, I excitedly waited for them outside the airport exit. They were exhausted from the travel ... 30-plus hours of airport/airplane time really takes a toll on a person. On the drive back to Kampala, my father was appalled by the lack of taillights on most vehicles that were in front of us, even the public transportation busses. This is Africa, as they say.
Day One: we went to the large fruit market. We bought fruit, vegetables, and even tea and spices. We made a delicious dinner with our recent purchases, and they went to bed early. The time difference of eight hours is tough to adjust to.
The beautiful and colorful display of food that can be bought at the outdoor markets.
Day Two: I introduced them to a Watoto Church service. Of the 12 campuses, we attended the largest and original church. The charisma and music is so much different than the churches that my family is used to back in America, but Watoto worship is a true African experience.
Watoto Church service.
Just two days after their arrival, my parents decided to really test their travel abilities. They packed their backpacks light to prepare for a week-long adventure to the mountainous western Uganda. They hadn't made any plans for the trip, though they carried along their "Lonely Planet" travel guide. I was really nervous for their trip, to be honest, but like any parent saying goodbye to her kids at summer camp for the first time, I took a quick picture, said my goodbyes, held my breath and left.
And they survived! They found themselves at the Queen Elizabeth National Park where they went on a three-day safari. They stayed in huts, ate local food and even tried the most local drink, Tonto. They saw chimps, as well. So they successfully traveled solo within an unorganized and unstructured system. I'm so proud!
We also had the privilege to visit the Ndere Cultural Troupe show. It is an incredible performance of dancing, singing and dress from every tribe in Uganda. We learned that one tribe's men wears long blond hair to attract women, much like a peacock would. Another tribe in the north is known as the one whose men must fight their prospective wives to prove "worthy" to be their husband. So interesting!
Ndere Cultural Troupe show
We even visited the mosque, where my mom and I very much enjoyed the headdresses. We each bought a Torrah as well. The mosque has a tower that we climbed to be in one of the highest parts of Uganda. It was beautiful!
My parents and I (and my husband) also went on safari. But we'll save that for its own blog post.
Emily Jost is a 2015 Noble-Watoto Fellow working at Watoto Child Care Ministries in Uganda. Jost is from Edmond, Oklahoma, and is in her final semester in the master of international agriculture program at Oklahoma State University, where she focuses on sustainable development.