This Thanksgiving was one of those “I can’t believe this is my life” days. The morning began with a drive to the Kibale National Forest to go on a Chimp Trek. We met up with our guide and walked a little ways down a dirt road until we could hear the chimpanzees calling to each other. At that point we left the path and travelled deep into the jungle following the chimp sounds. For a moment our guide instructed us to wait while he wandered off for about 5 minutes, taking his gun with him. Anna and I just looked at each other hoping he would return as we were in the middle of the jungle, not on a path at all, and without a gun. Thankfully he did return. As I was running through the African jungle, pushing branches and vines out of my face, jumping over lines of Safari Ants, trying not to trip over the dense vegetation or sink in the mud, while trying to keep up with my guide heading in the direction of screaming chimps I decided this was totally worth missing the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade for. We spotted our first chimp and were shortly surrounded by about 6 or 7 more all screaming and calling to each other. I looked at Anna and said, “Do you think this is ok?” Our guide assured us it was fine and continued to encourage us throughout the day to get closer. When I was less than 10 feet away from a chimp lounging on the jungle floor I couldn’t imagine any other place I would have rather been at that moment.
After spending about 4 hours trekking through the jungle following chimpanzees we headed back to Fort Portal, where we were staying for our Thanksgiving Holiday to have an American feast (cooked by a Dutch woman and Ugandan man). Our dinner was fabulous, complete with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and the whole 9 yards. I ate until I was stuffed! We finished off the evening by watching Elf.
While I miss my family and friends, especially on Thanksgiving, I am unbelievably blessed to be in Uganda and am thankful for SO many things. I love that God has called me to this beautiful country and specifically to Bundibugyo, I love teaching Lilli and Patton every day with Anna, my teammates are wonderful, and they felt like family as we all crowded together around the table for Thanksgiving, telling each other all of the things we are thankful for, playing games, laughing and enjoying each others’ company. The weather in Fort Portal is cool and feels like fall. I am thankful that we can have a mini Thanksgiving vacation and time to rest and be refreshed. I pray that my friends and family also had a wonderful Thanksgiving with much to be grateful for. I am also appreciative of the many people who support me both financially and in prayer and make it possible for me to live my life in Uganda. Thank You!