New Year’s Day camping with Boda Tony

Reza Marvasti

Aside from the fact that it’s hotter than the hottest Vancouver summer, the Christmas holidays here are something very different. People really get into the spirit, 110%. We had our best New Year’s yet, spent with kids and Mother Nature. We decided that we would spend some time outdoors, so we asked around and got put in touch with a man named Tony. Tony is quite the character and our camping trip was at least 10 times more exciting, and 5 times more dangerous because of him. We like to adventure but Tony takes it to the next level. He had Reza riding up a steep, smooth rock face (see picture) on a gutless 100cc boda. Right before Reza started to head up, Tony shouted “YEA!!! I love crazy!!!”. Oh no. *gulp*. For a brief moment I wondered what we had gotten ourselves into, heading into the Ugandan bush with this man. Tony climbed trees with branches the size of my finger and scaled rocks that I wouldn’t attempt even with climbing shoes on. He has a heart of gold though, and we had so much fun with him. Some children from the village down below joined us to the camping spot, and we all hiked up to the top of a rock to watch the sunset together. The hike involved climbing to the top of a tree to jump onto the rocky summit, and the children all did it barefoot, as they had done dozens of times before. They are amazing little humans – so agile and capable, so peaceful and calm. The sunset from the top of the mountain was pure magic. There was a foggy haze on the horizon, which made the sun appear bright red. We all sat together and watched it sink closer down to the horizon. The wind gusted past, carrying with it little soaring birds. Monkeys were jumping in the treetops just below us. It was a special moment that I will never forget. Even the mysteriously huge piles of goat poop had their place up there.

collecting firewood
Later that night we had a bonfire near our camp with the children. They love to dance, so we played music and turned the camping spot into a dance floor. Tony had a headlamp and he was flashing it around to create that night-club feel. Totally worked. Man, he is funny. After dancing our hearts out, we made dinner on the coals of the fire and ate pasta as the stars showed up, along with the crescent moon. In the distance, in all directions, we could see fires. Some close, some far. Tony told us that these massive grass fires are started either by accident, for farming, or just because. It’s normal to see dozens of fires every day in the grasslands, especially in the dry season.
say cheese!

Playground update(!!): The swing set, merry-go-round, and seesaw are all being fabricated now by a local welder. We just ordered the timber for the main fort, and we know it’s going to be really, really awesome. Seeing as I never really grew up, coming up with ideas for the playground has been so easy, and so much fun. I think I might be more excited than anyone else to play on it once it’s finished

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