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January 22, 2006

Hey Guys!

‘Bring a book’ internet slowing down our reports but there’s plenty going on!

Got to the White Nile to find unusually low water – meaning much of the play is better and more accessible that usual. We’re staying right at the 1st day put-in in a place called the ‘Nile Porch’ where the view is incredible and hawks and fish eagles fly over each morning on their way to hunt the river. It was 79 degrees last night and several people commented how cool it was . .? I guess we’re in for a hard landing when we ‘re-entry’ winter back home!

The river is gorgeous, locals paddling wooden canoes with make-shift paddles right along the very rapids we’re scouting or playing. Great ‘catch on the fly’ waves as usual but now more eddy service than ever. We have been filming some little pourover spots within sight of our cabins for the video because the stuff we surf just for fun here is all too big for instructional purposes. Luckily, we found a more reasonable hole yesterday just 10 minutes downsteam where we can do every move in the book – plus the ones we’re creating. Nile Special – the most famous wave here – is at peak levels all day long (instead of just early morning), and we’ve been taking the hour shuttle nearly every other day to save all our energy for surfing. Dane goes bigger unintentionally than most people do giving their all. It’s a rough, bouncy ride but you get the timing right and the tricks go downright ‘Malarial" (as in really sick).

Africa is an experience for sure. Riding ‘bota bota’s’ (small motorcycles) for shuttle with our boats and paddles in hand is quite the end of the river ‘trip’. If you could, we would hold on tight, but instead you just try not to notice how close the ends of the boats are to pedestrians, cattle, and trees as we speed along the single-track mud trail back to camp. Even the taxi-ride is intimidating. We were going 45-50 mph with no headlights at dusk the other day on a one-lane mud road dodging bikes, cycles, trucks, and the lovely-dressed women with huge loads balanced on their heads that Uganda is famous for the whole way back. I had to put the visor down and try not to look, not knowing the words for ‘please slow down!’ and having the driver just laugh after each close call. Luckily, the kids run pretty fast around here . . natural selection sees to that.

Jesse Stone’s clinic opening was a huge success, and we attended one of her ‘information’ clinics the other day. She has drawings and an interpeter to explain how night-time mosquitos cause the malaria that hits every one of the villagers here regularly. Then she offers protective nets at a ridiculously low price. Pandemonium ensues – and we unloaded 420 nets in an hour to the one small village! It’s crazy how much of a difference she’s seeing in malaria rates in so little time – over here one person really can make a huge difference. There is no mistrust, no scepticism, and an eagerness to make life better here that it’s hard to imagine giving the differing living situation of the average Ugandan. You have to see it to believe it.

All for now – I’m way over my ’10 minute limit’ and it’s gonna take another 5 just to finish the ‘send’.

Till next time – Clay Wright