Just Your Average, Ordinary Weekend on the Nile River

Dsc_0205_4Yep, the Nile River. 

That Nile River

The same one Moses floated in a basket on.  The same one that God turned into blood.  The same one that Cleopatra…

…didn’t Cleopatra do something on the Nile River?  Suddenly the tenth-grade world history escapes me. 

Anyway, toward the end of our Uganda trip, our blog team headed out on the African savannah for a quick weekend safari.  It was a time to decompress, rest and fellowship.  (There was also fabulously geeky tech-talk about "search engine optimization" and "Google algorithms".  Ah, it’s a good thing when bloggers come together.)

The safari was a culmination of such a mind-boggling, surreal experience, that Sophie and I found ourselves frequently shaking our heads at each other, trying to process what we were seeing.

"Um, Sophie?  We’re eating breakfast looking at the Nile River."

"Um, Shannon?  We’re flying on an airplane over Africa."

100_2268 "Um, Sophie?  We’re sitting in a safari jeep behind a game warden with a loaded AK-47."

"Um, Shannon?  We’re looking at a giraffe and we’re not at the zoo."

We could just never quite get over all that.

Our friend Randy has documented beautifully all the wildlife we saw (grab the kids and pull up a chair to watch his video here.)  The lodge where we stayed was straight out of a Hemingway novel (seriously! Hemingway stayed there once!)

"Um, Shannon?  We’re sleeping under a mosquito netting without air conditioning."

And the airstrip for the safari lodge?  Only a video will do it justice:

"Um, Sophie?  We’re waiting for an airplane under a mango tree."

Did it all really happen?  I finally finished putting away all my luggage this weekend, and when I wiped the African dust out of my suitcase I just shook my head.  Was I really there?  Did I really go on a safari?  Did I really fly over the North Sea and the Alps and the Sahara desert all on the same day?  Did my heart really break?  Did I really see that much hope?

Will it ever seem real?

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20 thoughts on “Just Your Average, Ordinary Weekend on the Nile River

  1. pam says:

    Dissan will never forget meeting you. He knows it is real, and his life is forever changed by his brief encounter with the woman who came from America to see him.
    It was real, and God is still using it to change lives every day. May His name be praised!

  2. Momandmore says:

    I found this blog just recently so I’ve been “catching up” on your trip to Uganda. I watched the Sara Groves video last night (I really love her music!). I boo hooed and then made my husband watch it. I stayed up late reading old blogs trying to find out more about the trip. We sponsor a child through World Vision and have for quite some time but I want to do more. There is so much more to do!
    Shannon, thanks for being a willing vessel. God is using you BIG TIME to stir people’s hearts.
    Blessings, Michelle

  3. Lysa TerKeurst says:

    And everyone stands up in your bloggy audience and gives you, Sophie, the people at Compassion and certainly God… a thunderous applause.
    Amazing sweet friend. Simply amazing.
    Thanks for taking us all along with you.
    And see… we told you so… there were no fireballs over the ocean. Hugs and smiles!

  4. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    It’s real to us — and we weren’t even there, except for the gift of you, Sophie, Sean, Los, Heather and the others. God has used your writing in a huge way, Shannon.
    Welcome to your new reality.

  5. Kim says:

    At the end of our year in Uganda, when our money was almost gone, we went to Murchison Falls for a mini safari, too. But we stayed at the campsite near the park, in tiny little roundhouse “cabins” with a bed and itty bitty bath. The bath consisted of a toilet, wee little sink and a shower head so that when we showered, we got the entire bath wet (not an uncommon thing in most places we stayed in Uganda).
    The first morning we got up, went into the bath and found a SCORPION in there! Having been in Africa for a year, I didn’t totally freak (as in I didn’t run from the cabin screaming hysterically) but I did climb on the bed until hubby finished doing battle with the critter and flushed it down the toilet.
    Then we walked over to the “cafeteria” (round house without walls, just cement floor and thatched roof) for breakfast. While eating we heard strange grunting sounds and soon, up over the hill came a bunch (herd, flock, whatever) of warthogs! Ugly, ugly animals. Even the babies have whiskers. 🙂 But very entertaining to watch.
    We drove up to the parking area and then hiked to the Falls. Spectacular!
    Next day took a safari. Had our own vehicle so used that. No open roof thingy, so while I drove with the guide inside with me, everyone else (hubby, daughter and friend) climbed on the luggage rack on the roof and off we went. Didn’t know until after the fact that we were NOT supposed to do that. Nor were we supposed to go off road to see the animals, but the guide had us do exactly that so we could see the lions.
    And in the afternoon we took the boat trip up the Nile to see the Falls from the river. Amazing trip!
    Got back to our cabin in the evening, ready for a shower. The water was BROWN. We didn’t care. We were hot and the water cooled us off, even if it might have made us dirtier than we when started.
    This is a really long comment, but I’ve been following all the Uganda Compassion bloggers and your stories, photos and videos have brought back so many memories! Our year there was one of the BEST in my life even if it was also one of the hardest.

  6. Tracy says:

    Give yourself some time for your heart and your mind to catch up with what is stamped in permenant ink on your soul….you’ve been changed and you have helped so many of us change with the words you and the rest wrote. Dissan will never be the same, and a little boy named Enoch in Uganda will never be the same because I was so moved I HAD TO sponsor a child….I couldn’t rest until I did – and I’m grateful.
    Thanks for taking a risk….You have blessed me!
    Worshipfan

  7. Stephanie says:

    Just found you about a month ago, before the trip. I knew you were going to Africa, but not why until later. I have been a Compassion sponsor to a “little” girl in El Salvado for 7 years (she’s now 15), but after reading all the Ugandan bloggers’ posts, just had to sponsor another. Since so many people were sponsoring from Africa, I searched for another desperately poor country where $32.00 would mean so much, and now am also sponsor-momma to a little girl in Bangladesh. I have to say, I see my life with different eyes now.
    Thanks.

  8. K says:

    ::sigh:: Thanks again for bringing a little bit back to us. Your stories have ministered to my heart. I’m praying for you and your family.
    In Christ.

  9. Laura says:

    You could technically tie Cleopatra to the Nile since she was the last reigning pharoah of Egypt – I’m taking Western Civilization now – we talked about her today. he he
    Your stories are so inspirational. Thank you for sharing so much wtih your readers!

  10. GiBee says:

    Wow… you know what took me completely off guard? These sentences: “Yep, the Nile River. That Nile River. The same one Moses floated in a basket on. The same one that God turned into blood.”
    Can I just say … how AWESOME is that?!? Talk about a surreal experience and having Biblical stories smack you in the face with new meaning!!
    Hey Shannon? I’m in awe. And I mean that with total respect and humility.

  11. Nancy says:

    We recently had a group from our church go to Liberia, they came back with the same since of awe. I would love to see those places first hand but probably never will so thanks for all your posts & taking us with you.

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