This post is from Mark….
Where are you now? Reasonable question in two senses. Easy enough to answer in one regard: we’re in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Tomorrow we embark on a three-day bargain basement scenic tour of Murchison Falls National Park where we’re likely to see a lion pride or two and probably loads of hippos. Good times. We’re sure to report back in a week or so.
But what about where we are mentally? Equally good question. Perhaps you’ve inferred a flagging of enthusiasm on our parts from the paucity of correspondence of late. Perhaps you’d be right. CeCe reached her nadir a few weeks before I did. We were in Nepal, and as you know by now, we’d both grown tired of the people and the hassles of the Indian subcontinent. CeCe felt it worse at the time and looked to me and the promise of Africa to pull her through. It seemed to work.
Now it’s my turn to feel worn out and weary. Weary of bumpy bus rides, unfamiliar beds and faces, the multitude of decisions to be made, and the near-constant fog of confusion that results from finding yourself in a new place nearly every day. I’m tired, my temper is often short, and I long for some of the comforts and certainties of home.
We just finished our week of “rest” in Entebbe. I think CeCe got more out of it than I did. She spent three full working days in the offices of the Jane Goodall Institute where she helped propel forward a long-languishing project. She going back for more in a week. On the other hand, I spent the days bored and frequently alone which wasn’t a good idea. I did see loads of interesting birds. And I had a wonderful time catching up on the past 15 years with our host Beth. But it didn’t do much for my mental state.
So where do we go from here? Our friends Bruce and Tracey had a similar adventure at a similar time in their lives about 10 years ago and they cautioned us about the current doldrums. (They traveled without the benefits of broadband, Skype and Facebook, which much have made our journey that much more comfortable.) And they urged us to fight through them, advising us that we’d surely regard our trip’s early conclusion with instantaneous regret once we touched down at home.
Therefore we’ve resolved to press on. After our return from Murchison, CeCe will return to JGI in Entebbe and I will spend a few days volunteering on an organic farm in a town about two hours away. We met the farmer through the WWOOFF program (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) and I am excited about the opportunity to head out to a rural area and get my hands dirty. (I’ll tell you more about WWOOF when the time comes.) This is the first time that CeCe and I will spend more than a few hours apart, but we think it’s vital if we are to regain some of the enthusiasm that’s seeped out lately.
But certainly our journey’s end is in sight. We’ve tentatively decided to return home the final week in July to give us enough time to visit family and friends and get settled in Madison. And our final two months’ itinerary is beginning to take shape. From here, we’ll circle counterclockwise around magnificent Lake Victoria taking in parts of Rwanda and Tanzania, some more of Kenya, and then proceeding north through Ethiopia and finishing up in Egypt. We figure Cairo is as good a place as any from which to fly home. I guess I’m getting excited just thinking about it.