Friday, April 29, 2005

The National Goldspoon’s African Vacation

Oh, hello, again!

I will run out of fingers and toes if I try and count the number of times that i have asked myself, "What the heck are my parents doing in Africa?" But I also cannot even begin to imagine how many times I also thought how utterly cool my parents are for spending 2 weeks doing rugged (for them) African travel. They're pretty cool, huh?

I have just returned from Entebbe--a 4-5 hour bumpy ride that I have now endured 8 times in the past 3 weeks. Somehow, this last time, getting on the road was a bit more difficult. Saying goodbye to that fancy hotel, complete with a/c and TV was not easy...and i'll bet you thought that my African experience had turned me into a superior, more focused, less materialistic person! It has, I assure you, but...a/c! TV!...even the most superior of people need a little vacation.

Let me tell you about my travels...

It all began with the Nile. The Nile holds for me good and bad memories. In one good way, it has been very good to us Jews. It watered the land of Egypt, bringing the children of Jacob there to eat and be well (of course, that soon turned sour); it held little baby Moses' basket as he braved the raging Nile's rapids (um...we'll return to that when we discuss my bad memories) and saved his life, thus saving the future of our people. If not for the Nile, I may not be here!

The Nile is also home to many hippos and crocodiles, and lots of baboons and elephants graze by her lush shores. The Gold family (minus Ben and Bethami and Eden but plus Molly, Rachel--my Abayudaya friend, the famous one from the cd--and Samson--our Abayudaya tour organizer) boated down the mighty Nile, getting caught in the torrential rain only once, and drinking Nile beers. (I thought it would be cool to drink a Nile on the Nile, but I actually still do not like beer, though I am still trying my hardest to acquire a taste for it--my father says I must, and respecting one's parents in a big mitzvah!)

And the Murchison Falls of the Nile River, Uganda's most beautiful spot, is smaller than the Niagara Falls, but is much more breathtaking. One day, when I grow up and move back to Uganda and you come visit me, I'll take you there.

The bad Nile memories, you ask? I chickened out at the Nile rafting and got out of the raft after 6 km. okay...moving right along...

We also went on safari while we were in the Murchison Falls area. We saw everything but lions. Giraffes are my favorites. And part of the fun of going on safari for a second time (how spoiled am I??) is being able to watch the people who are seeing the animals for the first time. For part of the drive I sat down and watched my parents and Rachel poke their heads through the safari sunroof and marval at the stunning, wild creatures, too regal and strong to care that they had company.

Nabugoye Hill, Abayudaya headquarters, was flooded with visitors for the Pesach seders, so I decided it would be nice to go to the remote, vounteer-neglected village of Nasenyi--the land of mango trees and sugarcane plantations (remember Nasenyi? I was once there for a shabbat.). (It is also the land of millet and sorgum, but those sound so much less romantic sounding and are not nearly as tasty.)

Here is where we give 3 cheers to my parents (my mother): It was a 3 day yomtov with no electricity and no running water and not very good food, especially for those living a low-carb lifesyle. And services were really long and boring.

But services were redeemed and actually, everything else was redeemed by the kindness of the people and the beauty of their songs.

The synagogue and the congregation of Nasenyi are about 1/5 the size of Nab. Hill. There are about 30 people and they all have beautiful voices (except one of them, which makes that one person--no names--seem very funny). They did much of their service in Luganda and the psalms were sung smoothly and warmly, like butter (buttah) left to sweeten and melt in the sun.

And I have never seen such appreciation for guests and good hosting in my entire life.

And everybody (all the men) were very eager to answer all of my father's questions about crops and agriculture (even though field work is the woman's job, here in Uganda).

Did you know that chimps have 98.3% (or something like that) of identical DNA to their good relatives, us? I didn't know that, but I learned that, as well as many other things about chimps, at Ngamba Island. Ngamba or "Chimp" Island is a chimpanzee sanctuary where 40 chimps live in safety. They were rescued from kidnappers and poachers and other bad people. We took a speedboat across Lake Victoria and it was raining so the waters were rough, and this is when I learned that my one phobia (water) happens to be the one phobia that my mother actually doesn't have. I found that interesting.

We got to Chimp Island during feeding time, so all of the chimps were out from the forest and were raising their hands, begging for an avocado to be thrown to them. When you come visit me, we'll have to go here too, because I cannot explain it. I just sat here staring at the screen for a few minutes trying to think how to write it, and I can't. For more info or to help check out .

Well, my friends, I'm afraid that's all I've got time for just now. I have fruit to buy and jobs to apply for. I wish all of you a chag kasher v'sameach, a happy Passover and happy spring to all!

Oh, and one more thing, I've extended my stay here for 3 more weeks. Isn't that exciting! June is supposed to be very nice. And I will get to travel more and see more monkeys! (Chimps are apes, though, not monkeys, I'm told. Word on the street is that monkeys have tails and apes do not.)

To you and yours,


Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Oh, the lengths I'll go for posterity.  I just drove
on the back of a motorbike in the wind and rain so i
could go get my picture cd and take advantage of fast
internet in Kampala (i'm on a minibreak).

Enjoy the pictures. There are more at snapfish, and
there are many more, but it takes about an hour for 18

Love to all, sarah

--- wrote:
> Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 08:06:34 -0800 (PDT)
> From:
> To:
> Subject: View my photos: oh, uganda!
> You're invited to view my online photos at the
> Gallery. Enjoy! and forward them to others who
> aren't on this list. yall are the only ones whose
> emails i knew offhand.
> You're invited to view these photos online at Kodak
> Easyshare Gallery!
> Just click on View Photos to get started.
> If you'd like to save this album, just sign in, or
> if you're new to the Gallery, create a free account.
> Once you've signed in, you'll be able to view this
> album whenever you want and order Kodak prints of
> your favorite photos.
> Enjoy!
> Instructions: Click view photos to begin. If you're
> an existing member you'll be asked to sign
> in. If not, you can join the Gallery for free.
> Questions? Visit
> ------------------------------------------------
> EASYSHARE Gallery Customer Service
> Phone: (800) 360-9098
> Outside the US and Canada: (512) 651-9770
> ------------------------------------------------
> If you cannot see the links above, copy and paste
> the
> following URL directly into your browser:


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