I’m not famous for timely event write-ups and blog posts. In many cases, the events on which I am to report have left me so exhausted that I have very little in reserve for the storytelling. The 24 Hours of LeMons and the 48 Hour Film Project are particularly grueling, but because they are interesting, they are the events with the most demand for stories, photos, and video. So, my challenge has been to try and turn-out good work, while exhausted, before the window of excitement and interest in an event has passed. This mission trip to Africa has crushed those previous challenges and I am publishing this two years after the fact (January 2011).
The trip to Uganda left me physically, mentally, and emotionally spent. And though I have recovered somewhat, I am still processing everything that I experienced. Honestly, I am a little bit tired of processing and I would like to get something down on paper. I have a story to tell. In fact, I have a book inside me now. So, until I can publish Mornings with Mwanje, I will serialize our trip using some of the 4000 photos I shot. Obviously, these photos will barely scratch the surface of what I saw, but I have tried to include a variety of things to provide an overview of the experience.
Click on the photos to see larger versions (1200 x 797). Once a photo has been opened, you will be able to view all of the photos in a lightbox viewer, using arrow keys or your mouse to navigate. 40 photos.
We flew from Austin to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. From Amsterdam, we flew directly to Entebbe, Uganda. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take any photographs at the infamous Entebbe airport and I felt like it was a little early in the trip to push my luck. Note: I began pushing my luck only one day later.
When we passed this building on Monday night, I thought to myself that it must be condemned. Then the bus slowed, did a U-turn, and pulled into the gated entrance. It was our hotel! The Entebbe Flight
Yeah, it could use some paint. Our room turned-out to be just fine. I have stayed in worse hotel rooms. What was remarkable was that guests were allowed to stay in a hotel that was under this level of construction and repair.
First night in Africa! I’m trying to smile through my exhaustion. It would only get worse.
The Entebbe Flight Motel’s unfortunate logo printed on my sheets, which had shrunk in a way that made the cartographic representation of the globe look like a hand grenade. That is not a desirable association. Perhaps the motel’s renovation will include a full image makeover that includes a new logo.
On the road to Jinja, a woman stops her work to smile and wave.
A man walks on the road to Jinja.
Bridge over the River Nile. This bridge was less than a mile from the guest house and I walked across it almost every day. It’s illegal to take photographs of the bridge and later in the trip, I would be detained by soldiers stationed at the bridge for doing just that. At the time, I wasn’t carrying my passport, nor any bribe money. That was an interesting morning.
As night falls, fishermen finish their day’s work on the Nile.
Mrs. Pribble and I had a disagreement about what sort of power converter would be required for Africa. Unfortunately, my frame of reference was my experience living in Germany…in the 80’s. So, I bought the converter on the left that looks like it was left over from the Cold-War-era Russian space program and weighs about as much as a car battery. Kimberly bought the little geegaw on the right. It worked just as well, without any of the drawbacks. Mrs. Pribble for the win in straight sets.
Children pour out of their school to greet us on our first day in the field. I hadn’t yet gripped a photojournalist mindset and I spent the whole day shooting photos of the children, but I did a poor job of shooting their environment. This is a blurry photo, which I wouldn’t have normally included, but it is the only clear photo I took of their school and it’s important to see what I’m talking about when I say schoolhouse. At night, the classrooms serve as animal pens.
Children from the first school we visited.
The children loved having their picture taken.
The have-nots among the have-nots. The kids who didn’t attend the school, gathered and quietly watched from the perimeter. Look at the differences in the expressions between the older kids and the youngest. The youngest seems to be hopeful, looking for leadership from the older boy. But he already looks wary, and the girl behind, distrustful. They would eventually be shooed-away by the teachers.
We brought the children new jump ropes, which were a huge hit.
A beautiful young Ugandan girl.
On this particular day, a few of us drove further along this road into the country, to an even more remote village with an even smaller school.
The signage for the Agape Christian School in Nondwe.
A girl and her sister find space in the tiny schoolhouse.
Dacia Newton leads the children in worship.
Ugandan SUV. This isn’t the biggest load that I saw strapped to a bicycle or motorcycle.
Mrs. Pribble makes a friend in Buyengo.
A child eats at the St. Racheal School in Buyengo.
Kelsey Kendrick holds another baby in her lap.
Tonya Parrott sits quietly with a couple of children.
In the chapel was this decoration made from flowers and strips of paper.
Many of the homes in the villages were decorated with drawings, text, and other artwork. This home, in the middle of a remote area in Africa, shows its allegiance to Arsenal, a UK football club!
A Euphorbia (cactus tree) at Bukaleba.
A woman dressed in traditional clothing, walks to Bukaleba from her village.
Kevin Kendrick snapped this photo of me near the pine trees of Bukaleba.
A sign at Bujagali Falls.
Bujagali Falls. I don’t see what’s so dangerous.
I got lucky and snapped this beautiful little kingfisher on the shore of the Nile.
Bats flying home to roost in their coconut trees.
A fisherman mends his nets.
Impossibly cute little girl.
Two girls run across the grounds of the school at Kikondo.
In some ways, Ugandan schools are actually more advanced than their US counterparts.
In other ways, it remains a vastly different world.
Another greeter runs after our bus.
A girl waves from a watering hole with the classic Ugandan two-handed greeting.
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