Select Page

“It all goes by in the blink of an eye!” This is what my dear old dad used to say about life, and I can say that the last 20 years here in Uganda have definitely gone by in a flash. Of course, a lot has happened since the first trip to the Nile in January 2003 with EJ, Clay and Chris Emmerich to film EJ’s Advanced Playboating video, but overall its awesome to still be here paddling most days, learning new things and hopefully improving my paddling alongside of watching Soft Power Health’s positive impact grow. Who would have thought EJ’s episode of malaria on that trip would have changed my path in life so drastically? Not me, that’s for sure!

   To celebrate 20 years on the Nile, I invited Emily to come visit. Emily, Dane and Nick were all here for the opening of the clinic those many years back, and they even helped construct the original building.  Thrillingly for me, Emily was excited to come ! We had a fantastic time – or at least I did and hope she did – paddling and sharing more of Soft Power Health’s work with her. Since her last visit here in 2020, there were new developments at the clinic and in outreach. We spent time at the clinic with patients I wanted her to meet and doing home visits to see how and where other patients lived. Emily was definitely a magnet for kids – they found her and she them and all loved meeting and interacting with her. One boy in particular Najiib, who had had a terrible accident and been run over by a truck,  was very interested to hear about Emily’s life – being so different to his own, but it was obvious how much the visit boosted his spirits! Healing takes many forms and that kind of interaction no doubt really helps. 

     Water levels have been high since the beginning of the pandemic and Emily got to experience really high Nile levels. This made for great surfing at Super Hole – now Super Wave. Lots of opportunity to try every wave trick and work on things – all with eddy service! That part of the river really has not changed at all in the last 20 years which is amazing and lucky for all of us. As we were trying to surf a bigger more powerful wave at Vengeance rapid, we paddled down below Itanda to above Hair of the Dog. This part of the river is also still very beautiful with many islands and channels and rapids. The Nile never ceases to impress with all the life it supports and the beauty it creates. Emily and I watched fish eagles fishing, tilapia jumping, Monitor lizards sunning, and otters standing guard on rocks in the middle of the river. It was wonderful to share the river with them and know that despite all the changes and dams, these creatures are finding ways to survive and thrive. 

    Bubugo Banana Kayak Club also came out to paddle while we were there and showed off their talent. Its always impressive to see what those paddlers can do with used and broken gear and make it look easy!! Ugandans are definitely the best recyclers of old kayaking gear that I have seen and thank goodness for that – we could all take a lesson from them. 20 years on the Nile is maybe an accomplishment, but more it feels like a great privilege to still be here and having the opportunity to do what I love and share it with people I love! Thank you Emily for coming to visit!