Dear Advisor Partners,
I feel like Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel, giving you the latest report on a tropical storm. Though this isn’t quite as dramatic, it’s just as powerful. This is the second dispatch entailing the adventures of our team member Gisela Polo in Bolivia, after crossing in from Argentina, forging a new way to combine Argentina and Bolivia. This her story, however, it’s also the story of our team member, Tatiana Johnston, who just got back from her visit to Uganda. We always talk about travel transforming lives, so this week I share Tatiana’s thoughts written on her first day in Uganda. I thought they were powerful and captured the very reason we all believe in adventure.
I am sitting here in the dining room of the hotel during my first stop of this adventure. I am listening to thousands of cicadas, the sun is slowly setting in Entebbe, the sky is turning into a teal blue, birds chirping different tones, the hot and humid air is enveloping my body… and I feel happy. I am surrounded by a dense vegetation of giant mango trees, different sizes and different shapes of palms, and I just feel this joy in my heart. My heart is back to being a whole. Throughout the years, I had left a piece of my heart in Africa and now I understand what I have been missing all these years. I am finally back in Africa! Just north of the Equator, where my birthplace is, but only on the other side of the planet. Everyone around me is tourists, some of them are finishing their adventure and others are starting it. Our tables are lit with gas lamps as a reminder for me of the coming days in the forest. I am sure, however, all of us will have the same thing on our minds tonight, “the gorillas”, either remembering our recent experiences or looking forward to what is coming.
A very early start today, it’s still dark outside but my heart is jumping with joy. I took a small 11-seater plane with two pilots to Kahihi. I still feel jetlagged, and the soft hum of the plane invites me to take a nap, but I don’t want to close my eyes. I don’t want to miss any second of this countryside. We flew over the giant Victoria Lake. You can see many fishermen in their boats, countless islets, and islands, some inhabited, others not. It is the rainy season, so wherever my eyes can see, it is green. We arrive at Kahihi on a dirt runway and there it was… my own 4×4 vehicle, waiting for me. The road was very good for about 30 minutes. We drove through many little towns and then the road became a dirt road with scattered rocks and patches. You could see how the rain has damaged the roads, but my expert driver was able to manage all of them with an easy ability that you can only get after having driven here for many years. Since it was Sunday, there were so many people dressed to the nines going to church. Many kids waved at me, and they were screaming Muzungu (white person). How interesting, I never considered myself a white person. We drove through coffee and tea plantations, and it made me think of Karen Blixen and her tea plantations in Kenya. The soil here is very red and the houses are built with bricks and dirt. So many little goats running, and jumping, happy and playful. There were many men carrying water in yellow tanks on their heads or back. And finally, I could see the mountains bordering the Congo and I knew we were getting closer.
And so, I am here, eating my lunch in front of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the lush, green vegetation sprawling in front of me. That is where the gorillas are. That is where I will be tomorrow. That is where the gorillas are waiting for me, waiting to see another Muzungus…
This was only from the first two days. If you want to see how she felt on the final day or her flight home, I encourage those of you who know Tatiana to ask her yourself. You won’t be disappointed with the answer. Stay tuned for our 3rd and final dispatch next week featuring Gisela’s ongoing adventures in Bolivia. For now, she found a little-known winery shortly after crossing into Bolivia. Those of you who know Gisela, know that she is completely in her element. Enjoy this week’s video, Part Two of our three-part dispatch.