Rafting the source of the Nile River
Trip Start Jun 10, 2011
9Trip End Jul 26, 2011
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Along with us, we sponsored two African Hearts boys to come with us and to experience things in their country that most locals never even know existed. Both of the boys did not know how to swim and were deathly afraid of water. Despite us paying for this trip, the boys were actually reluctant to do the rafting until we did some last minute convincing.
Our guide for the day was Paulo, a local Ugandan who wears his life jacket over his topless attire and is as black as they come
He give us a few directions on what to do if you fall out of the boat: Stay on your back in case you get smashed into rocks. Try to swim back to the boat if you are able to. If you start getting carried down the stream, they will throw you a line and you must swim to it. After 15 minutes of learning the commands, we went off to our first rapid - Class 4 (As a reference, Class 6 is the max and even experts would call it crazy). I looked at the boys, they were scared shitless. I figured I had no control of this so I might as well just relax and enjoy the ride. In the front seat, I watch as the wave approached and eventually engulfed us in the pleasantly warm water. In fact, the water was so pleasant, it was warmer than the air!
Soon thereafter came the second rapid. I watched as a 6 foot wave came straight on at us. I held on tight as we got completely engulfed. Disoriented, I felt the boat tipping over to my side and the rapids begin to pull me into the water like a vacuum
The rest of the day was absolutely amazing. We floated down the Nile and rode the rapids as they came. Paulo turned out to be absolutely amazing and we were the only raft which did not flip all of its passengers over. We had lunch delivered to our boats as we drifted down the Nile and went swimming in the lukewarm water. There was something surreal about swimming in the source of the Nile, a legendary river I had only learned about in school and the Old Testament. The scenery and wildlife was absolutely gorgeous and pristine.
At the end of the day, we came up to shore and were treated to an all you can eat and drink BBQ
On the bus ride back to our campsite for that night, the boys told us how much fun they had on that trip. They had both conquered their fear of water, and even went swimming in the river with us (albeit with some convincing). One of the boys, who is normally quiet and shy, said this to me:
"Lawrance, I learned something today. Sometimes we are afraid of new challenges in our life, but we must try to overcome these fears."
I was honestly touched at this profound statement and we had a good talk with the boys on the importance of taking risks and challenging yourself in life.
If two boys who have a fear of water can raft Class 5 rapids, think of all of the things we are missing out on in our lives due to our (often irrational) fears.