By: Alexandra S.
After spending three weeks in the city bustle of Kampala, we took our first trip out of the city to go white water rafting. We arrive on the banks of the Nile on a sunny morning, and bask in the beauty of the lush green Ugandan countryside. When the guide tells us we would be going through grade 5 rapids, we think at first he must be joking- you need to be a certified expert to raft those in the US- and for a moment I want to switch to the safety boat, which will be circling around the rapids. But, the spirit of adventure wins out, and we are quickly approaching a waterfall, the roaring of the current filling my ears and making my heart race.
“Paddle hard!!!” screams the guide, as we crash over the edge of the waterfall and our raft of 8 people is tossed around as if it is weightless as a feather. A surge of adrenaline rushes through me, and we all scream as the raft rises up almost on end, then crashes down on the other side of a wave. We are all drenched and laughing- we made it through without flipping over, for this time at least.
After crossing the rapid the water becomes calm again, and we jump off the raft into the warm water and float down the river, because how many times in your life do you get to swim in the Nile?
We soon approach another rapid named 50/50- you can guess how it got that name. “How do we make sure we don’t flip?” I ask, and the guide just gives us a devilish grin, and instructs us not to let go of the raft or our paddles if we tip. Needless to say all that is forgotten in the moment of panic as the raft is thrown over and we drop into the rushing rapids.
I am fighting to reach the surface of the water, but can hardly tell which way is up. Just when I think I can’t stay under another moment, I rise to the surface for a split second and gasp for air, but then I am sucked under by a new wave pounding toward me, a frothing torrent of white water. This time I relax let the water crash over me. A moment later I am in the sun and floating on my back down the Nile, a wide smile across my sunburned face.
I am hooked. On rafting. On Uganda. On this thrilling adventure halfway around the world.