Sunday, April 28, 2013

Coffee and Waterfalls

This post is going to be a bit longer, but don't worry - there are lots of pictures!!

We left for Sipi Falls around 8am. Here's a map of Uganda - we had to follow the black line from Kampala almost to Kapchorwa. It doesn't look far, right? Heck, when I look at the map it doesn't look far! Let me break down the travel time (and prices) for you - $1=2600 Shillings. 
8am - leave Edge House, walk to catch 1st matatu. Free!
8:15 - Matatu to Old Taxi Park. 500 shillings. 
8:45 - Arrive at Old Taxi Park (see below), chase after man showing us to the right bus. Priceless. 
9:15 - Depart to Mbale. 15,000 shillings
1:45 - Arrive at Mbale. Take a boda (motorcycle) to catch our next matatu. 1,000 shillings
2:15 - Depart Mbale for Sipi. 8,000 shillings.
3:30 - Arrive at Crow's Nest! Finally! 

After a relaxing Friday night, we were ready for our hike! Here's the view from our room with the 3 falls labeled in the order we hiked them.

 Here's the first waterfall as we approach
And close up

Behind the second waterfall
Second waterfall from above

Third waterfall - 100 meters! 

Such gorgeous scenery! 

That afternoon, two of us went on a tour of the coffee plantation and learned about the arabica coffee that is produced locally. It's nowhere near harvesting season, but they keep some of the dried beans around for tourists like us to play with. 

Here are the dried beans with the husks still on going into the mortar

We had to pound the coffee beans for several minutes to get the husks separated

Then we had to separate the beans from the chaff

After the beans were cleaned, we roasted them over a clay oven.

After stirring constantly for about 20 minutes, the beans took on the familiar appearance

Once they were done roasting, it was back into the mortar so we could grind them

This is the hardest I've ever had to work for coffee!!

Since there are no coffee pots, you just dump the grounds into boiling water ala French press and strain it into a thermos. 

Finally got our coffee! Also, the guide said Danielle and I are "becoming Ugandan". He may have been flattering us a bit, but here's some proof - Melissa has been here for one week compared to my 6 weeks.

Moses, our guide for the day. He was pretty excited for the coffee as well. 

The drive back today was considerably less fun than Friday's trip. We had to sit on the bus at Mbale for almost FOUR hours waiting for it to fill up, which it never did, then we made frequent stops along the way. All in all, that 4-4.5 hour leg of the trip took over 8 hours. Such is life, I suppose, and thankfully we didn't have any pressing reason to get back quickly. 

Thanks for hanging in there with me for that long post! Tomorrow I'll be starting at malnutrition clinic - I hear it's a pretty cushy area of the hospital as it is run by an NGO. We'll see how it goes, and I'll be sure to update you! 

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