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 I emerge from the bathroom for my 12th-ish time that day (I have lost track of the exact number on account of having spent the majority of the past four days lingering within 20 yards of the toilet…) to find my friends heading to the boat rack.  “Are you guys going kayaking?”  I ask them, fully aware that my stomach is not in a state to go flop around on a big wave.  “The water is high!  Come to Malalu!” Jonas yells back at me.  The next thirty seconds of my thoughts looked something like this:  ‘Malalu! YES! But what if I get sick while paddling down to the wave?  What if I get sick on the Boda ride back? I have been sick for the past four days, I should probably rest. My body definitely isn’t in a state to exert itself, and what if I need to use the bathroom again?  Kayaking is terrible idea right now… But… Kayaking!!!  OkYESGOINGKAYAKINGYESYESYESEXCITEDTOGOKAYAKINGYAYKAYAKING!!!’  

I put all my gear on, visit the bathroom one last time, and start paddling the 3 kilometers of flatwater downstream to Malalu, a smooth-as-butter wave that only comes in when the Nile sees abnormally high flows.  The paddle down to the wave may be completely lacking in whitewater, but despite this fact, it is still one of the most interesting stretches of river I have ever been on.  We weave in and out of vegetated islands that play host to various species of birds that could easily be mistaken for winged dinosaurs.  Over the next hour or so, we float past several different villages bordering the Nile.  I can tell we are floating past a village because there are 20-30 people hanging out down by the river.  The village kids scream at us, “Muzungu!  Muzungu!  How are you?!” as we pass them playing and splashing in the water.  I can’t help but notice how different life is for the villagers than it is for the average American.  The villagers appear to have two main goals on their daily agenda- 1. Work/farm enough to keep everyone in the village well fed, and 2. Spend time with friends/family and simply LIVE.  The simplicity of life in the rural Ugandan villages is a stark contrast to the busy daily schedule I am accustomed to having at home.  However, the most surprising difference between Ugandans and Americans has more to do with their mental/emotional state of being than anything else.  Happiness is the norm here in Uganda, and stress is something that I have yet to come across in this country.  The excitement and laughter that the village kids have is infectious, and I quickly forget about the previous four days spent feeling sorry for myself as I hung out within sprinting distance of a toilet at all times.  

The 3 kilometers of flatwater flies by, and soon we are all happily throwing blunts, airscrews, and backstabs on an epic wave beneath the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen.  Aside from an unfortunate incident on the island next to Malalu involving an uncooperative stomach, 5 giant pigs, and some incredibly embarrassing screaming and rock throwing, this kayaking session has been one of the best of my life.  If you are unfortunate enough to be one of my close friends, maybe I will share the pig story with you someday, but for now, this is potentially not an appropriate venue to recount that incident.

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