Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Camping in Rwanda- all the glorious details!:)

Our trip was so much more than camping details BUT they were a big part of our everyday so I thought I'd give you a "quick" ha tour of our camp site. Jeff drove out with the Crowson family the day before we left so that he and Murphy could set up all of our tents. They did a great job and we were all thankful we didn't have to participate in that part! (but that also meant that car-sick suseptible me got to go on the SIX hour bus ride by myself with the kids!:)) Amazingly the Lord blessed us with dramamine, zophran, scop patches and NO SICKNESS from any of the 28 of us! That was a HUGE miracle and one I did not take for granted! So we drive up to Kumbya through several small towns and villages, tea plantations, rolling hills, mountains AND the rain forest! The rain forest was beautiful- monkeys, lush tall trees, and drop offs that seem to be about 500 feet. Of course we missed most of that because our driver decided it would be obviously better if we went 90mph through the forest:)
 Sweet Cannon above at the Woodward compound- Aimee and I were VERY lucky to have multiple areas for bags and kids!:) and below is the Hills team each morning at breakfast. We had "theme" days where we would talk about trends and music of the time period chosen:)

This was the kitchen- those holes were continuously filled with wood to light the fires to prepare our meals- we had an awesome Rwandan staff who were so sweet and such hard workers!
 Inside of the kitchen- pots on top are filled with our dinner! It was HOT in there!
 This is a line for the "showers"- I'll explain all that a little later:)
 Sie in front of the Owens tent- the one behind it housed the McCulleys
 This was our compound- Jeff built up tarps to keep the heat down and for a little private toothbrushing-with-your-water-bottle station!
 This pic is taken from the back- so you can now see our wonderful hammock-tents! I kinda made fun of Jeff for buying these but they were truly a life saver!! So comfy and I felt a little more enclosed in my own world at night- instead of listening to the bats poop or the monkeys scurry!

Every afternoon we had about 4 hours of free time. This was so wonderful and we got so much quality family time and a chance to really get to know the missionaries. One of the favorite spots was "THE PLANK"   We figured we may not be getting all the amoebas and parasites that we wanted to pick up on this trip so jumping off a 30 foot plank should shove those right in!:)
This is Aimee preparing to go for the first time- the main reason it's a little scary is that you are walking out on a very questionable board that rests entirely upon tree branches. So the board bounces as you walk to the end and all the leaves are shaking.
30 feet down and we all made it! Let's do it again!

 We all felt pretty cool until Sie just walks right out and without hesitation jumps off!:) They had a blast doing this over and over!

 This was a  cool little area for smaller kids and to the left a make-shift diving board- and below is the floating dock that was fun to swim out to and play on!
 Parker in the kayak- this was all their first time in a kayak and they were instant pros!
 Patton getting further and further away....
 Jeff and Patton
 Me and Parker

 Parker and Sie in the canoe- they LOVED going by themselves- thought they were pretty big!

 Cassidy and Chandler with an ever-present fan club consisting of Aren and Stevie:)
One day we all heard Cannon screaming about a bug in his tent- this was about day 4 and we were mostly kinda over the scary bug feeling (who am I kidding- I never got over it) but Cannon was over it so we were all wondering why he was upset. Phillip was like "Cannon quit being dramatic"- then he went in the tent to see what that was all about and found this....ALIVE AND KICKING on the sleeping bag....
 Another cool bug we found one day outside of our tent... a leaf bug! Not sure that is it's real name but that's what we called it!
 And then there were the monkeys...they were shy at first and we rarely saw one the first 3 days but they started to feel comfortable I guess and came out in droves!

An owl lived in a tree down by the lake- very cool!
We didn't have too many injuries other than Patty's BROKEN LEG!! I was with her a few times when her driver would forget to come down and pick her up and take her back up the hill for lunch:( but most of the time they were right there to help her!
And then there was Patton who stepped on a tent stake and ripped open the sole of his foot, and climbed up TWO rusty metal buildings on this trip-- the second time didn't work out so well for him:/

This was the entrance to both the girls and boys toilets- they were basically outhouses (holes in the ground) but they had toilets sitting on top of them so you could at least sit!! They were not that bad the first couple of days and then oh my did they smell!!

 hand washing station- with super clean lake water!!:)
 Girls side:
 Boys side:
And if you thought going to USE the toilets was fun just wait till it's your day to CLEAN the toilets!! Jeff has done many a great thing for me over the years but I can honestly say I've never been so thankful to him for just taking over and doing this for our family!! I brought gloves just in case we needed them someday so I put them on when it was our time- but I never actually cleaned one:) Jeff did them ALL! And I watched and encouraged:)

Cassidy was a brave girl and helped out on her family's assigned day:)

But the best attire for cleaning drop toilets has got to go to Mr. Michael McCully!! He was prepared!:) It seemed to say "yeah I'll clean the toilets, and then rob a bank!"

Well, I'll have to show the toilet and shower videos later because they won't upload and I don't really know how to do more than just push maybe another day:)

Ok so I know that's a LOT of camping details but we had some pretty great and funny memories with each one!!

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