It's hippo country, and for the next twelve hours, I must be on my tip-toes, as I wander to the long drop at night or rise for a fresh breath in the morning. Those fellas, aka the most ferocious bush creatures in Africa, aren't always phased by the electric fence and armed guards...which is why the evening breeze often wafts the stench of dead 'potamus from a carcass killed the night before.
I'm so incredibly backed up on my life chronicles thus far in Africa. I've already made so many friend and felt a warmth and acceptance among the people and places I've come into contact with. Soft Power in Uganda was a two week period of sheer, stupendous pleasure. I bonded with the "pearls" of Africa's pearl and became a local after one day in Bujagali Falls. I met Ponsiano, our on-site cook at Walukuba West, who introduced me to the new generation's mentality in a country held back by dated traditions and a complete lack of a governmental presence. He was a dream to talk to and paint beside; looking over to see his splattered face always caused explosions of laughter. And his generosity and companionship away from the work site deepened my awe of their national mentality. The fellow Soft Power muscles turned out to be hilarious and quality company. The perfect type to be up for a swim in the Nile rapids and throw children on their backs for a run around the school yard. Kayak slides, showers in the river, drinks at NRE and sun-bathing at Edon Rock...I apologize once more for using abstract and unknown references to describe an experience many people wish to understand and envision themselves. Like those visits to see friends in Northern Europe, Soft Power was a breath of red, dusty, refreshing air amidst a journey that at times leaves me speechless with trauma and numb as a piece of masticated gum.