It's always a treat to have visitors when you live overseas. When people from my American life see my very different Ugandan life, I feel much more known. So when one of my closest friends, Amber, wrote me from Italy and asked if she could come visit me in a couple of weeks and, by the way, look for a job in Uganda, I was thrilled!
A couple of weeks ago was Amber's birthday, so we took a weekend trip to central Uganda, stopped to visit some of our programs, and then headed to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for a birthday camping night and rhino trek.
Upon setting up our tent, we were strongly advised to close the metal gate of the large fenced-in camping grounds, or, we were warned, we may have unwanted visitors in the middle of the night. We listened to the advice, thinking the likelihood of rhinos coming to the site was quite small, and we headed to dinner. But we were stopped on our short walk to the restaurant, by guards pointing to 3 rhinos, just several yards away. They redirected us around the back of the restaurant, which had large metal posts around it, and we sat and watched the rhinos graze as they came within just a few feet of us!
This, we were told, was quite a rare experience, so we chalked it up as a birthday surprise! Even the next day, when we trekked the rhinos and saw 6 more of them, we didn't get near as close as we did that evening during dinner.
The people at the Rhino Fund are doing incredible work to reintroduce rhinos back into Uganda after they became extinct in the 1970s and you can support their work by going to see the rhinos yourself! It's an easy, relaxing, and affordable trip for the weekend. Amber and I even stuck around the next day after the trek to relax and paint with oil pastels before heading back to the craziness of Kampala.