I knew telling my parents that I was planning on spending a month in Uganda working as a volunteer with i-to-i Travel was not going to be an easy thing, seeing how when I told my mother that I wanted to go to Africa and that I was thinking of Kenya in particular, she told me to “pick some where else. Anywheres else but there. Go to Greece you like the ancient ruins.”
When my mother and I went home to Montreal for my grandmother funeral she was bragging about my travels to my grandfather. However when she told him where I wanted to go next, she told him South Africa. A place in Africa she presumed was safer especially since hearing of political unrest in Kenya.
So when I told them of my final plans to go to Uganda, I was some what prepared for their reaction.
“I fly into the airport near Kampala, then I take a 9 hour bu–”
“Wait! You’re going to Uganda” My father stopped me.
“Yeah? I take a 9 hour bus ride to Kabale”
“No! You’re scaring me now kid.” He injected again.
“Me too.” My mother added her two cents in with an extremely worried look. I rolled my eyes at my father’s haft accurate account of the current state of Uganda. It’s a war zone. Correction it WAS a war zone. Uganda has been under a cease fire since August 2006. It’s dangerous, rebels etc. The LRA have only been active in the northern part of Uganda near Gulu. I will be near Kabale a town in the South Western area of Uganda 10Km from the Rwanda border. The Canadian government at this time has no travel warning for this area. It recommends to avoid travel to the area by the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Sudan border and the Northern region of Uganda. Area that I will NOT be traveling to. I will be register with the Canadian government that I am in the country, and hopefully the insurance I am getting will cover the cost of leaving the country should the event that I need to leave un expectantly. What about Malaria. They have pills for that.
“You better think about this!” My father demanded.
“I have! And I’m going!” I protested.
“Think two, three times about this.”
“I AM GOING. THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN SAY TO STOP ME! I AM GOING”
“I’m not saying don’t go but thi–”
“I am going. End of it!”
They have a year to warm up to the idea. Even if they don’t well suck it up princess, I am going! You can’t live your life in fear of what if’s. I can be shot, killed, rapped, robbed, kidnapped, catch a foreign disease here at home, if I am going to live in fear of what might happen I’ll never leave my house.
So I started my planning process, and working crazy hours to afford the 1625$ project cost, then just shy of 1900$ airfare, and 50$ Uganda entry visa, and spending money.
Uganda like the rest of Africa is not exactly roller luggage friendly, nor am I the type who is willing to use luggage that you have to carry in your hands (I’m klutzy, and on the bigger size with weak arms), I decided on a 60L internal framed hiking backpack from North 49. For 575 Air miles I got my bag for “free”. It arrived today by UPS. It’s a great bag, light weight, padded back, plenty of pockets and straps. Only down side, it’s not designed for a women. I can foresee it cutting into my breast.