Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sipi Falls

About two weeks ago, Terrill & I needed to travel south to a town called Mbale. We were gathering supplies to do improvements on our Timu house as well as buying a grinding mill for the Ik community in Timu. Some generous university students had raised the money for the mill. We wanted to give the Ik some incentive for building a house for this grinding mill, so we bought a mill to take up to Timu thinking that they would be more motivated. After procuring our supplies, we decided to take a break in a place called Sipi Falls. It's located about an hour away from Mbale on Mt. Elgon. It's known for the numerous waterfalls splashing down the mountain at different locations. We stayed at Lacam Lodge. It included full board so I didn't have to cook or clean up anything. Always a plus. The lodge is built down the side of a mountain. When entering our room, we discovered that the toilet was a bucket that gets emptied several times a day. There's a container of sawdust beside the bucket. We were instructed to throw a handful in every couple of hours to keep the smell down. :) A little door beside the toilet was where the guy (who we called the 'toilet fairy') came in to empty the bucket when we were at our meals. We were also intrigued by their hot water system. They had a fire lit under a large barrel. Pipes ran from the barrel down to the rooms. I'm sure the cold water got mixed in somewhere in the plumbing. The rooms were made of logs and bamboo. The view was stunning. Below is a view from our room. We're looking west onto the plains. If we looked to the right of our little guest house, we saw this. The sound of the water falling helped us get to sleep.

Terrill was dreaming up ways to start another lodge on the top of that plateau. Anyone interested?

We went on a short hike one day and saw other waterfalls up close.

Our guide, Martin, took us to some caves. He said that some of his people (the Sebei) used to live in these caves. His facts were a little fuzzy, but they made for interesting stories. He told us that the Sebei only had one king and his name was Kingo (after the English word 'king'...My Big Fat Greek Wedding anyone?). He said that this king had six wives and 76 children and that the descendants of the king are now the wealthiest Sebei around. He explored the cave below and once found a room full of crystals. It took him three hours of crawling through the cave to find that room. This is definitely a landmark in the Sebei culture.

Some of the rocks in the cave formed smooth indentions where Martin says people slept. He says that Sebei still bring their animals into this cave when they fear enemies or want to come out of the rain.

Next we hiked to another larger waterfall. This waterfall also has a cave behind it but Martin says it's a man-made cave. People chip away at the rock to get salt for their animals.

From behind the waterfall...the water was pounding and a mist encircled us.

Back at the lodge, Terrill enjoyed some 'down time'.

We had a view for dinner. The first night was surreal. While eating, a heavy fog came from the plains and surrounded everything in sight. We couldn't see five feet ahead of ourselves.

Thank the Lord for these times of getting away, relaxing & reflecting.


Jennie said...

well, i'm hearing only positive comments - did you truly enjoy it at Lacam? Glad to hear you got some nights away anyways!! love you!

The Reeds said...

Looks like you had a beautiful time!

Brian said...

Wow sounds like the lodge at Sipi falls has some sweet infrastructure. The toilet you described is what we call composters here at sustainable settings. We find that if you throw a couple handfuls of dry sawdust in with every use there is really no smell to speak of. Maybe that changes with climate. Another added benefit is after a year of sitting it is good compost for perennials!

velma said...

brings back memories!!

Hannah Gingerich said...

looks like you all had a beautiful time together...I'm sure it was a nice get-a-way...miss you guys

ChadandRachel said...

Can't get, well, pretty much any of that in the States, but see you in June anyway. Hopefully you can put up with flushable toilets.

I just noticed your anti-monist self-description on the blog, too :-). Well played.

Cassidy said...

I'd love to start a Sipi Falls Lodge II. ;) I have no skills to name, but I could greet guests with the best of them. This reminds me of all of our talk on how to ensure some nice lodging in the NE we visited last July. Loved the post, friends.

Lois said...

The only part Brian left out was that we are our own toilet fairies.

Sounds like a good break, praying for Him to provide you other times of refreshment!