Last week, President Obama hosted a summit on refugees, bringing together world leaders who pledged their countries to increase financing of humanitarian support for the 65 million people who have been displaced by conflict worldwide, promised to increase the number of refugees accepted for resettlement, and committed to providing a more dignified life for refugees by increasing access to education and employment opportunities in frontline nations that are hosting large refugee populations.
We engaged in a lot of soul searching before sending Munchkin to daycare last year. While there was never a doubt in S’s mind that he would benefit from a structured environment and the opportunity to socialize with other kids, D was somewhat sympathetic to his mother’s view that a child that young (the Munch was only 20 months old when he started daycare) should stay at home.
Even though many months have passed since Munchkin acquired the gift of gab, we have yet to cease marveling both at how voluble he has grown and at some of the outrageous things he comes up with seemingly all the time. Usually, we are too busy laughing to write them down, and then reproach ourselves when we can’t recall what it was he had said that had amused us so.
From dazzling sunbirds to graceful flamingos and colorful bee-eaters, Africa’s birds are so varied and numerous as to offer seemingly endless possibilities of discovery with every safari. Moreover, many of them are so vibrant compared to their drab North American cousins that they almost seem impossible – fanciful imaginations of an experimental god that were released by mistake into our realm.
We’re both adventurers at heart, always seeking out new terrain to explore. We caught the travel bug young and clearly haven’t shaken it yet, but given our nomadic lifestyle, there is something inherently appealing – even comforting – about returning to the same place year after year. At least S feels that way. Three summers ago, she spent a week with her family on Deer Isle – an idyllic spot on the Maine coast – and has returned two of the last three years despite the fact that D has yet to be able to join or even make up his mind about the annual tradition.
Hands down, the highlights of our stay in Murchison were the two boat trips we took up and down the Nile. The first was an early morning excursion downstream to the papyrus-lined delta where the Victoria Nile empties out into Lake Albert. The second was a late-afternoon trip upstream to see the waterfall that gives the park its name.
Murchison Falls National Park straddles a sizable portion of the Victoria Nile as it winds its way through northwest Uganda before emptying out into Lake Albert. We were a tiny bit skeptical that safari in Uganda would live up to the game parks we had experienced in Kenya, but several of our Kampala-based friends spoke highly of Murchison, and rightly so – with 450 bird species and 76 different kinds of mammals, the park has quite a lot to offer.
We are far removed from our Kenya safari days when, unencumbered by a small child, we spent days on end jostling around the country’s many game parks. Our first road trip with Munchkin – when he was barely 3 months old and during which he slept peacefully so long as the car was in motion – is likewise far in our rearview. We were excited to take him on his first safari, to watch the emotions play out on his visage when he came face to face with the wild animals he had heretofore only seen in books. At the same time, we were apprehensive that he might not enjoy the experience, which would almost certainly mean that his screaming would ruin it for us as well.
The two years we lived in Nairobi, we made annual trips to nearby Kampala to play in the Seven Hills Classic Ultimate Frisbee tournament and see a bit of Uganda on the side. With our car still bouncing along somewhere on the high seas en route to East Africa, the tournament seemed like the perfect pretext to get out of Kigali and do a bit of traveling, which we had yet to do in our almost two months in country.
For all the stunning vistas of the Rocky Mountains, it is often the little details that prove the most memorable: an otherwise mundane photograph that unlocks a story, an image of a strikingly colorful flower or equally colorful character…With that in mind, here is a companion piece to yesterday’s panorama post – a collection of smaller images that for one reason or another stir D’s memory of his Colorado adventures.