Sunday, August 27, 2006

Rafting on the Nile River

Hey everyone! This is Nathan, Bethany's husband, if you don't know me. She has graciously agreed to let me post a blog on her blog site.
So yesterday, we went white water rafting on the Nile River. Bethany's mom, Donna, said to us before we left, "If it was safe enough for Moses to travel in a basket, then it is safe for us". Well, I don't know what part of the Nile Moses was on, but if it was anything like what we experienced yesterday, a 'miracle' would be the only way to describe him surviving.
As Bethany said in her last blog, this was my first experience white water rafting. First...and last, most likely.
You have to understand that we were battling grade 5 rapids. Level 6 rapids are rapids that no one has ever attempted and survived, from what I understand.
It started off rather nice. Our guide was giving us instruction on what to do if we got thrown out of the raft or the raft tipping in the middle of the raging rapids. That was the first flag for me.
So upon our first rapid, which was a grade 1, our guide told us to jump out of the raft and swim through it. So we did. The result...a lot of water up my nose. THAT WAS A GRADE 1!!!
Our first raft flip came about half way through our trip on our second grade 5 rapid. I am not ashamed to admit that it was the single most scary thing I have ever experienced in my life. Sky diving was nothing compared to this. There are not very many grade 5 rapids in the States, and we were on some of the most powerful grade 5's in the WORLD.
I was at the front of the raft. We dove into about a five foot wave and the next thing I know, I was under water kicking...flapping...anything I could do to get to the surface. I could see light above me. The current was flipping and throwing me in every direction imaginable. I needed that light...I needed that air, because I was running out quickly. I finally reached the top and got a very short breath before being pounded again and pulled back under. I seriously thought that I wasn't going to make it. That I would never see Bethany and Jaxon and my family again. And then, I suddenly popped up gasping for air and a paddle was quickly handed to me to grab to get back in.
Backtrack: I haven't (or Bethany either) heard of any rafting trip in the states where they have to have kayakers following you because it is so easy to lose someone.
Anyway, that was on the second grade 5 we tried. The first one, we conquered. The second and third one, we flopped.
The second capsize experience was very similar to what I described.
This was a 6 1/2 hour rapid journey. It experience....that I plan on never having again. But, it is kind of cool to say that my first and last white water experience was on the Nile River, and had some of the most powerful rapids in the world.

On a side note...the funniest thing happened today as I woke up and came to the main room of our guesthouse to get ready for breakfast.
They had a Christian Radio station broadcasting from Kampala and I heard this song and thought, "Man, that sounds really familiar." Then I realized..."WAIT...that is me!!" True Vibe came on African Christian Radio! It was a song that was never released in the states from our first album called "What Do We Wish On Now". It was a strange/cool experience to hear that in Africa. I guess God is still using our music regardless of whether we are together...or not.

A note from Bethany: RAFTING WAS AWESOME!!

Thanks for all of your prayers for us!! We feel them daily.
ps. Here are some pics of some of the people we are seeing/meeting. They are beautiful.


Cherie <> said...

I commend your bravery in going whitewater rafting on Grade 5s :). You should do it again, but in North Carolina next time. When we went for our senior trip we went rafting and we only had Grade 1 and 2 and our raft never flipped. I in particular was thankful for that because I can't swim! And no, a life jacket is not enough reassurance for me. lol...Even though it was a scary experience, I'm glad you guys made it through ok.

I remember that True Vibe song. Actually, I listened to that CD a lot before my family moved to Naples. I even have some pictures from when you guys did a concert here a few years ago :).

I'm continuing to pray for you guys as you minister to the Africans.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you all are having a life changing trip. I know you don't know me but I've been following your trip with great interest. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I traveled to Watoto in 2004.

We rafted the Nile as well and I can relate to the fear after falling out...I believe it was "Silverback" that flipped us. Did you take on "The Bad Place"? What a great ride that is! I'll be traveling back to Uganda next summer and I will do it again!

Anyway, thanks for bringing back some great memories. Have a safe rest of your journey!

God bless,
Greg Smith

roxann said...

I was holding my breath as I was reading.....No rafting on the Nile River for me!!!
I am continuing to pray for you.

Dawn Marie said...

And I was worried about Pirahna! Thanks for describing it in detail. Glad you are OK.
Praying for y'all.
By the way, a guy caught a Pirahna in the Cumberland River over the weekend. Hmmmmm.....

Orval Osborne said...

Dear Beth,
Thanks for sharing your trip through your blog. I want to locate where you went on a map. Can yuo say what city or state you were in?

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