So here I sit on the last night. I’m in a really lovely guesthouse up on a hill overlooking Masaka, Uganda, sitting under the stars in the garden, which is lit by oil lamps along the walls and by my side. It’s perfect.
Actually the whole day has been pretty much perfect. I had a beautiful ride though Uganda and it’s so easy to see why it’s called the Pearl of Africa. I rode across the Nile this morning, through beautiful scenery all day long and crossed The Equator this afternoon. Even the three abreast semi trucks that caused me to take an unscheduled ride onto the dirt couldn’t dampen my mood. In fact I quite enjoyed it, which was good as I was there about twenty times today. Road lanes in Uganda seem to be a philosophical rather than physical construct.
This afternoon I had the chance to visit the Duncan Africa workshop. Jay Duncan is a friend who founded this social enterprise, a guitar making company that manufactures guitars here in Uganda and sells them in North America. And what guitars! These are world class and they sound simply amazing. But the most amazing thing is that all the profits are distributed here to the local community, so as well as training young people in a valuable skill, everybody benefits. The workshop manager Simon showed me around and I was blown away by the process. Seriously, if you like guitars and you want to make a difference in a local community, buy a Duncan Africa!
After riding into Masaka and settling into this rather spectacular guesthouse, I had the great privilege of spending an evening with Jeff and Shannon Dyck and their family. They run the Kibaale Community program and the Timothy Center a training project for teachers, which is close to my heart. They are also pretty wonderful in every way. Shannon was holding a baby they are fostering and the kids each took turns to look after him as we talked about the work they are doing and how they are incarnating into the local community. I could have talked to them for hours. They are genuinely beautiful human beings who have sacrificed so much to see other peoples lives changed, yet in the way of all heroic people, they don’t see any of this as a sacrifice. People like Jeff and Shannon cause me to seriously evaluate my life. I want to be like them when I grow up.
As I sit here on this final night, lit by the lanterns and listening to the hubbub of Africa coming up from the town, so much is going through my mind. I think of all the beautiful people I have met and the breathtaking things I have seen. I am full to overflowing with images and memories that are burned into my mind and so thankful to God that He gave me this opportunity. It’s so hard to believe this all ends tomorrow. In a few days time I’m going to have to put Kayla into a shed and walk away [Yep I gave the bike a name… I know, embarrassing, but she’s been all that’s between me and disaster. I am at the stage where we are so in tune, I don’t even have to think a move, she does it for me,. Total Yoda stuff. She’s never let me down and she’s as real to me as a person]. All I wanted to do when I got to the Equator was for us to carry on to the Tropic of Cancer and hit the hat trick, to keep this partnership going; but sadly, all good things come to an end.
I have a life to go back to, a family I love, friends I want to see both in Kigali and at home and a job that is incredibly meaningful. My life is rich in every way. And on this last night, as the oil lamp at my side flickers and the night-watchman hums a tune in the corner of the garden, I feel complete. More complete than I have ever felt before, filled to the brim with contentment and resolve to live my life in a better, more meaningful fashion.
Before Kayla and I part ways, I have a final 400 KM to go to Kigali and one last border to cross before arriving at Wellspring, probably around 3.30pm. I hear the ride is beautiful. That would be a fitting way to close this adventure, to ride though creations magnificence into the country I have grown to love on a bike I have grown to adore.
See you in Rwanda.