Trekking Through Uganda: My Two Month Adventure Crammed Into Two Weeks

by David · 11 comments

It’s been two weeks now since I’ve arrived home from Uganda. I’ve not published anything since I got back because I’ve been trying to find the right words to describe the experience loaded with everything from laughter through to tears. Honestly, I looked through the whole English dictionary and I’ve come to a conclusion: either words in English aren’t beautiful enough or I don’t have the skill to arrange them. No matter how much I try, I won’t be able to capture Uganda’s beauty so I’ll just give you a small snippet:

The Surprising Priest of the Catholic Church

The trip started with two days in Rwanda. A beautiful country tainted with a gruesome past. I’m not about to give you a history lesson, but for those who don’t know: Rwanda went through a genocide in 1994 and an estimated 800,000 people were slaughtered. Did you see those two numbers? 1994 and 800,000. That was in my lifetime!

Church in Rwanda

Old Church in Rwanda

As you would expect, during the genocide people were afraid. They weren’t sure if they’d live, and they’d wonder if they were going to get slashed with a machete or blown up with a grenade. I bet you don’t have to worry about anything of the sort?

Anyway, Rwanda’s an extremely religious country, so during the genocide people would pray; they’d pray to live; pray for safety; pray for things to get better.

The priest had a solution! They should all take shelter under the house of the lord. He assured them they’d be safe. The lord would protect them. So quickly the church filled up with men, women and children. The church wasn’t very large but somehow they managed squeeze in 5,000 people. I guess when it’s a matter of life and death you can make anything work.

But then the priest did something surprising: The bastard called the killers. 5,000 people had trusted him with their lives, and before they knew it they were being slaughtered. These innocent men, women and children were slashed with machetes and had grenades thrown at them. They trusted the priest, and because of it they died.

The church still houses all of the skeletons and clothes of the people who died. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside, but I managed to get a snapshot from the outside looking in:

Skulls in church
Side of the church blown up by a grenade

Side of the church blown up by a grenade

I’m not sure how to describe how I felt walking though the church. But what I saw was pain, agony and torture. 5,000 skulls laid out in rows accompanied with skirts, trousers and baby shoes…

The Awesome Orphans

The rest of the trip was spent in Uganda. What stood out  most was when I taught English in an orphanage.

Me with children from the orphanage in Uganda

children from the orphanage in Uganda

Me with children from the orphanage in Uganda

These children had either been dumped as babies, or their parents had passed away. They had few resources, no money and no parents. But they were incredibly happy. They worked *extremely* hard, and not one of them made an excuse for why they couldn’t learn. They just did it. I’ve never seen a group of children so eager to learn.

Teaching those less fortunate than myself was an incredible experience. I now believe stronger than ever that with passion and dedication anyone can learn anything and these children have given me even more reason to continue what I love doing: helping others learn.

Here’s a dance they performed to say thank you:

The Breathtaking Lake Bunyonyi

This lake was amazing and It’s hard to believe that I actually swam in it! It’s the second deepest lake in East Africa with the shallow end being 45m deep and in some parts it goes as deep as 900m! I tried to take fancy photos and I think they came out all right, but technology just isn’t advanced enough to capture what I saw. These  photos perhaps capture 1/1000 of the beauty:

Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

This short video captures maybe another 5% of the lakes’s beauty:

Here’s a video of teacher dancing to say thanks for our help in another school:

And there you have a snippet of my journey through Rwanda and Uganda. I’ve not tried to go into much detail because I just didn’t know where to start with such an action packed trip. Capturing it all would have meant writing a book!

Uganda was amazing and I’ll be going back for sure!

If you’re interested in seeing more of my photos, check them out on Facebook or Google+

  • Mae

    Awesome!!!

  • Hey, David!

    Great to finally have you back on track.Do not worry about failing to put what you feel in words. Even this small break you took after returning to get your thoughts and emotions together might not just be enough.

    My own trip, that I took almost a year ago, even if it wasn’t as selfless as yours, more of a long-deserved holiday really, was something that I felt to be truly profound. Only recently I felt I could put to words what the trip gave to me, and started doing it. And I still have the same doubts you are.

    It is obvious that you have returned refreshed and reinvigorated. Observing both great joy and suffering gave you new strength to keep going forward and keep us all accountable, as well! This is what matters, I say.

    With time, you will find words to express what you feel.

    • Thanks Roman.

      I think trips like this take some thinking before you’re able to articulate the experience.
      Hopefully in a year I’ll be able to articulate the experience like you mentioned.
      😉

      Thanks for dropping by!

  • Dangsuni

    Of course I can’t say I know EXACTLY how you feel (no one can!), but I also have had moments in my life (whatever that may be, trips, encounters, insights, etc.) that I felt like no words could describe. I am so very glad you still did try to, so that we can get a glimpse of it even though it might be nothing compared to what you have seen/felt/learned:) Good to have you back:) 

    • I think most people have experienced something similar, and the fact remains that the only way to *really* understand is to visit these places yourself. No amount of reading or speaking can replicate the feeling of actually being there.

  • Alex

    Uganda looks beautiful! I loved the children’s dance so much. Wish I could travel to such remote places 😀 Next time maybe you could write a journal (unless you already do)? Such a record of your journey would be immensely valuable, exciting to read through and re-discover the emotions you felt at that time, and would also help you to highlight and remember the most precious moments 🙂

    Best regards,
    Alex

    • That’s a great Idea Alex! Perhaps I’ll create a journal of my Travels and publish them as e-books 😉

  • Wow, what an amazing experience. Life changing in many ways.  Hope and sorrow all bundled into one trip.  You found the words!  Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Absolutely amazing!

  • Alicia-53

    So interesting!  Great post!  Thanks for sharing!

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