Will you join us in helping them? Together we can make a huge difference in the lives of these kids!
To Bellagio and Beyond!
One day we went hiking in the forest in San Bartolomeo, which is a tiny village in Northern Italy. We collected lots of chestnuts! Our inspiration for this was that we saw a man collecting chestnuts. We filled our pockets with them, and we ended up having eight pockets full of chestnuts. They were really tricky to get because they came in pods that were super spiky. We found lots of big ones, even two huge chestnuts. We had a great time. We ended up giving them to our friends at our AirBnB Apartment. I didn’t know that hiking could be so fun!
The next day we went to Bellagio and it was so amazing. I thought I was in Disney Animation Studios. It is just so beautiful. You have the lake, then the mountains in the background. The water is so clear that you can see straight down to the bottom. We walked among the many narrow alleyways cutting through the town. At one time we stumbled upon a café and I had a glass of hot cocoa. My parents had some coffee. Then we kept walking among the narrow alleyways. At one point we explored some gardens. After that I had some gelato. Yum yum!
As I told you, we stayed in a AirBnB Apartment. The owners of the AirBnB apartment had two kids: a 3-year-old named Jimmy and a 10-year-old named Jessie. I enjoyed playing board games with them. We played “Crazy Monopoly”, which is just like regular Monopoly, but you make up the numbers and whatever’s on the Community Chest and Chance cards. That was very fun. I also played “Guess the Code” with Jessie. Once she even guessed my code in one try!
“This church is round. Are you kidding me?” I asked.
Columns circled the inside of the building. They supported small arches that held up the building. Each level up they got smaller and smaller. It was all made of stone. I was told that the church had been built from 1150 – 1180 A.D. This was during the Romanesque period. Next we saw a complex of three churches that were built into one. The first part of the church was a Renaissance building that was built in the 1500s A.D. Its arches were much bigger than the ones inside the round church. Through a doorway we found a 9th century church. This place was more like the round church. It was rectangular, though, and had thicker columns that were the shape of the building itself. The next level contained a 7th century crypt that was much smaller and more closed than any other building we had seen. We exited and next we saw a church that was built in the 1100s A.D. Inside were many frescos that were used to teach bible stories, because reading and writing was too rare. The pews had been replaced by pop-up chairs for cleaning. A whale bone was on one of the arches. During the building of the church, workers found it in the ground.
As we left, we were given rosaries, medallions, and bracelets. We got back in the car and drove to our AirBnB apartment.
I said, ” The medallion actually warms me up. ”
Natural History Museum…all in Houston?
Up, up up went the elevator.
“We are the Acrocanthosaurs. We’re level five.” I told Grandpa Bill.
He acknowledged me with a nod. The elevator opened. We came out right in the museum shop. The first thing we did is we skimmed past the Wiess Energy Hall. That was pretty cool. We took the new elavator up to second floor. There we saw the exhibit of the Texas wildlife and African wildlife. The exhibits mainly contained taxidermied animals in their habitats. Then we headed up to the third floor. We saw a short exhibit about the Ancient Egyptians. I learned that they even mummified cats! Then we breaked for lunch. I had a massive American cheeseburger with a side of Cheetos and apple juice. I didn’t know how big the burger would be! I almost ate it all, though. After that we checked out the prehistoric creatures, then left. We had a very good time.
Coming Home Again
Hey readers! Last time you saw me I was in Ephesus, Turkey. But one day we got very sad news that my granny died. We had to go back to Houston as soon as possible.
Her celebration of life was so fun. All of my cousins were there. Before and after that day I went to my cousins’ house to play some video games. I played Monster Legends and Minecraft. At the celebration of life, we all shared memories for the first bit, but it was mainly a party.
Once upon a time, not too long ago, there was a family who had plans to travel the world. The boy had a blog, and his name was James, also known as Round the World Kid. One day they went to Ephesus, Turkey. The family knew that Ephesus was an ancient city, one of the biggest of its time, and that it had originally been a major port city, but as deposition of sediment from the Meander River increased, Ephesus became further and further from the shore. The trade went down. Ephesus was no longer a port city. Today it is at least eight miles from the coast.
The family walked on the same streets that Saint John, Saint Paul, and Saint Mary did about 2,000 years ago. The family saw the famous library and the giant theater in Ephesus. The family also knew that the library was built before Christ and it had three floors.They also knew that it used to be a university and it had been destroyed by an earthquake in the 3rd century A.D. The family saw that it was not a complete library. James though that it obviously still is important today and that it was white. James saw that only the facade was left and that it had all kinds of carvings in it. The family saw that the theater was very big. James compared its size to a building. The family saw that it was made of white marble. James said it made him feel small and insignificant.
James later said, “I enjoyed Ephesus. We didn’t have enough time to go to Saint Mary’s house, but it was still amazing”.
All good things have to end, though. As the family left Ephesus, they found four kittens and two puppies. James thought they were adorable.
Playing with Pirates
Do you like cruises? I do. Do you think the castles and museums are interesting? I do. Do you have taste buds? I do. If you said, “I do,” to every question, then you will like Bodrum, which is on the Aegean coast of Turkey.
One day we wanted to find a place to eat out. We came to a local place and got two plates of food. We don’t know what we ate, but it was so good. It was delicious. I would definitely go back there. Of course that is what we did. We went back two more times.
The next day we woke up early to go to the Crusader castle, which had been converted into a museum. There was a good mix of both Crusader castle and underwater archeology museum there. I didn’t get bored of either. One time we stumbled into a church which had a model of an ancient sunken ship! I recommend that to you, if you ever go to Bodrum. It was fun and interesting.
Another thing I recommend is the Black Pearl day cruise. About 1/2 of the ship was a sun bath, if you like that. Most of the trip was swimming. We went to one place called the aquarium, which is not actually an aquarium. It’s part of the ocean. It had lots of fish and the water was so clear that you didn’t even need to snorkel.You could throw them bread and watch them jump up from the surface.
Bodrum is very awesome. You never get bored in their underwater archeology museum. They have some pretty cool cruises. The best thing, though, is the food. Turkish food is so good!
Greece is very diverse from place to place. You have very touristy things like the Acropolis in Athens and Oia in Santorini. You also have things like the refugee crisis in Kos. In Athens, you don’t hear much about the tourist crowds on the Acropolis, though.
I liked Athens because I got to play with my Greek friend Costadinos. We had lots of fun together. I am very grateful for the time we had on the playground. I also got to see the Parthenon. It was very crowded and partly covered in scaffolding, but it was still amazing. It was so old but still standing, and so tall and just simply amazing. It also had some huge statues on the roof.
As we set off for Santorini, we boarded the Blue Star Delios. We took a seat in some chairs and I did school work. We ate at a cafe around the corner. I had a sandwich. I liked the boat, but it was all over too soon. We had already arrived in Santorini.
In Santorini I swam in our hotel’s pool and in the ocean. In the pool I dived for coins. Sometimes the coins would fall deep in the bottom, where I often couldn’t reach! I would climb down Mom’s leg and grab them from the bottom. I also swam in the ocean. I flew when dad threw me. I got very high!
I did a lot more in Santorini. One day we hiked to a rock outside of Imerovigli for sunset. It was quite a trek. It was worth it for the sunset, though. One day we went to Oia. We had amazing views of the ocean. We also took lots of pictures of the famous blue domes. Later we had some ice cream. On the same day that we went to the ancient Akrotiri, we also saw a Venetian castle. It seemed to have been transformed into a museum. It contained lots of Greek bagpipes. They were made of a goat skin, a cow horn, and two reeds on Santorini. The pipe varied from island to island. One of the pipes looked like a snake head.
We tasted wine, too. I was even able to get a sip of each. My favorite was the dessert wine (of course). In Greece, people start tasting wine when they are five or six. Woah! That’s young! We just missed the barefoot grape stomping for this year. Aww man! We had a great time at the winery. We even took a bottle with us!
Soon we were back on the sea again with the Blue star 2. This time we got a cabin and slept the whole way. It felt very short. The boat left at 12:50 A.M. That’s very late! We got to sleep for about five hours before we had to wake up to get off at Kos.
When we got off at Kos, dad took a walk and when he came back he had something to show mom and I. We saw the refugees in and around their tents. This made me sad.
The ferry to Bodrum was next. This was quite boring, but it was all worth it for the next fun adventure.
Chaos in Kos
There are no photos in this post because I believe it’s wrong to take pictures of other people’s suffering.
Woken up abruptly in a shake, I refused to get up. The only reason I did get up was because Dad had something important to show me.
We turned the corner and next to us was three tents, which looked only big enough for two people each. We walked down the street and saw the dinghies that the Syrian refugee came on. The ones that weren’t sunk and below the surface were loaded and filled with trash. They appeared to only hold five people. Another street was filled with tents and Syrian refugees.
We explored a dock in the harbor. There was a banner talking about stray cats and dogs dying of starvation, but there are much more important issues in life. I experienced them in person, not on TV, or radio, but I actually saw it for myself. It is a trophy for the refugees just to get to Kos.
It makes me cry!
Santorini, the place where there are beautiful sunsets, also, lots of archeology, but something you don’t hear about…is local kids.
One of the reasons I like Santorini is because I got to play with local kids. There was a little basketball court close to our Air Bnb where we played. I went there many nights. I mainly played basketball with my friend Nicoleta. I had so much fun !
One day I went to the Ancient Akrotitri. It was very interesting. People had lived 7,000 years ago. The site is 1.2 hectares big. That’s huge! There were so many ancient buildings there. There were some houses made of stone. Of course these were in ruins. They had been preserved by the ash of the volcano that erupted 3,700 years ago.
We also saw sunsets. They were so beautiful! It almost looked as if there was no horizon. We saw them from many different places, a different one each night!
All in all, Santorini is a place you want to go. The sunsets, the archeology, and more. It is all worth the long flight.
We got out of the train. We barely even crossed the street when three Aussies stopped us to ask for directions. They wanted to get to the 1896 Olympics stadium that was rebuilt to look like the stadium that was already there in ancient times. There they held the 1896 Olympics, and 108 years later held the 2004 Olympics. We raced in the spot that people raced in thousands of years ago. People also raced there in the 1896 Olympics and the 2004 Olympics. People also died there in gladiator battles thousands of years ago.
After that we saw the temple of Zeus and took a few pics. It was never completed and no one knows why.
That night we went to the park by our Airbnb. There I met my Greek friend Costadinos. We played for hours in the playground. That was fun!
The next day my family and I woke up early to see the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. The Acropolis Museum had a glass floor in parts. Through this you could see ruins of the ancient Greeks. They had a really cool LEGO Acropolis model in the Acropolis Museum. That was my favorite part of the museum.
Soon before night fell, we had our first Baklava. It was delicious!
The day after that we saw The Ancient Agora of Athens, which is an ancient public square where they talked about political issues and gathered for social events. This was built about 2,500 years ago with a sewage system! Wow! That’s crazy! We toured the actual area where democracy started. The actual area! We also got a great view of the Acropolis by the Temple to Hephaestus. It was amazing! On the way we stopped by a Greek Orthodox Church built in the 11th century A.D, over a thousand years ago. Next I fed the pigeons in Syntagma Square.
All this was after 8 A.M. Good thing it wasn’t before!
I really liked Athens because I got to play with a friend and saw a lot of things I was interested in.
The Fun of East Africa
Check out my song for East Africa…
It’s a Small World
Three years ago, Dean Jacobs visited my school in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He is a wildlife photographer and also is the author of Wonderous Creatures and Wonderous Journey. And here I am in Uganda, staying in the same hotel as him.
“It’s a small world,” he said.
He did a video with me about it. It was short, like me. That’s funny . It is a small world, after all. Watch the YouTube video here:
On Top of the Burj Khalifa
Waking up early, I was tired. For 30 minutes. I got used to it soon. We took a taxi to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. We took an elevator up 124 floors in about a minute. We came outside and took a few pictures. It was so high up that everything looked smaller. Even the other skyscrapers. It was amazing! Then we went back in. We came one floor up and I looked through some special binoculars. I saw what it looked like historically mode none of the big skyscrapers where there!
Afterwards we took pictures dressed as Arabs. Then we went to Old Dubai. That was a big mistake! It was so hot and all the air-conditioned places were closed. By the time we got a taxi we were drenched in sweat. Air-conditioning never felt better before!
It’s about time for me to wrap up Kenya. Awwwwww! . My favorite hotel is Diani Reef Resort in Diani. It has a buffet and a pool. It was also right next to the beach. As well as all that, they had a kids’ club and kids’ activities. My favorite restaurant is Camp Carnelly’s in Naivasha. There I had the best burger in my life. I enjoy Hell’s Gate National Park. The break, the save (from crashing a bike), the hike, all of it. I especially like the rock-hyraxes. I also enjoy the beach. Snorkeling, playing in the sand, swimming in the pool, everything. I also like Ol Pejeta and the Kuku Joint and the wedding. I got to play with lots of kids about my age! I also liked our time in Nairobi. Man, we did so much there! The safari walk, Bomas, the giraffe center, and the animal orphanage were just some of the things in Nairobi. I remember from the animal orphanage that when they take young calves by the cages, the lions, cheetahs, leopards, and serval go crazy. It affects the lions the most. One lion had rolled on its back, symbolizing our playful puppy, but the next moment all the lions pace up and down, hunger and murder in their eyes, trying to get to that calf. The calf is put right next to the serval’s cage, so close that the only thing that prevents the serval from pouncing on the young calf is the side of the cage. Even though the serval only wants to play with the calf, the calf is scared to death.
In Nairobi, I also play with friends and go to the market. I played Minecraft with my new friend Taye that I had met on Jasmine’s birthday party. That day she had turned five, the biggest party of her life. Taye is a nine-year-old boy with an American mom and a Kenyan dad. Taye also has a little brother named Micah. Micah is four years old.
If you are wondering where we are staying in Nairobi, we are staying with my parents’ friends Alex and Tabitha. I have lots of fun playing with their daughters Jasmine and Njoki (jo-KI) . Njoki is three. Jasmine just turned five. My mom baked a delicious cheesecake for them. Jasmine savored it. Njoki tried to scoop it up, but she hadn’t learned yet. I fed it to her. I let her try to feed herself the last bite. When I checked her plate again it was gone! My mom gave Tabitha the recipe.
“It’s all about the Philadelphia Cream Cheese, ” mom said.
Overall, Kenya is beautiful. The open savannah, the white sand beaches, even the people. You never know what you’ll find in a country… until you go there.
It was late at night. The train still had not come yet. I curled up in a ball like a kitty cat and closed my eyes. Suddenly – Tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu. Something had woken me up. The train had finally arrived. We ate dinner. Then I climbed back up to my bed and closed my eyes – I was asleep. Dad woke me up early the next day to have breakfast. We ate – then lazed around. The last eight hours were boring. The train had a bathroom – so we didn’t need to stop. They said it would be 14 hours. Actually it was 18 hours. The train left at midnight and they didn’t serve lunch or an extra dinner, so you can imagine how hungry we were by the time we got off the train.
We took a taxi to Diani Beach. The ferry there took forever! When we got there we stared at the hotel Diani Reef Resort. We ate dinner then went to our room. There was a leak in the ceiling, so we went to change our room. Finally we found the right room. The next day we ate breakfast then chilled for most of the day. We hung out by the beach. I had so much fun playing with my new friend Jason! Then the pool – and afterwards walked out of our resort to the Barclays . We bought a few things at the Nakumat. Next we went back to our hotel. When we came back to our room we made an amazing discovery. There was a monkey under our inside table! We had forgotten to lock our sliding glass door to our balcony! They had stolen our coffee, sugar, and cookies. They had also eaten all our bananas, leaving us just the peels.
“I was gonna eat one of those bananas, ” my dad said.
The room was a mess. Sugar was everywhere, muddy paw prints were on my parents’ bed, and banana peels could be found on the table. So while we ate dinner, our room was cleaned. When we got back, we showered and slept.
We woke up early the next morning to go snorkeling. We had a great time. We saw colorful fish in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple, pink, and black coral. There was one skinny yellow fish that was about a foot long! It was swimming above a green coral. We also saw a whole school of gray fish.
When we got back we went to the beach. I played in the water. Then, excruciating pain touched my knees and wrapped around my wrist. I looked at the jellyfish’s tentacle. It was gray with blue rings. It thought it was an octopus.
“Oh my god, I hope I don’t die,” I thought.
I knew that the Blue-Ringed Octopus was the size of one’s hand, but venomous enough to kill hundreds on people in one bite. I pinched the tentacle. The creature let go. If you want to know what it felt like, it felt like the pain of fire mixed with the pain of poison. That hurts! I didn’t even cry. Not one tear. The stings were healed with medicinal cream. By morning I was better. Even so, some of the stings were still visible a few days later! On the last day we just hung out at the beach. Luckily, there were no more stinging jellyfish!
Hiking through Hell’s Gate with a Smile
Whoosh! The wind flew past my bike. I was going downhill – and very fast, too. Bump! Then I ran over a rock the size of a soup bowl. I went all over the place. Both me and mom thought I was going to eat it. I just barely saved myself. Then Dad came on a purple school bus. Fifteen minutes ago Dad’s bike pedal had fallen off. They could not fix Dad’s bike. He had to take the bus instead. When we saw Dad next about an hour had passed. Then we had lunch.
There was a cute Vervet monkey trying to steal our food. We had to defend our food with a stick. Next we hiked through Hell’s Gate gorge. The canyon itself is actually called Hell because once, the ground opened up and people fell in. My gosh!
There we saw some caves in the rocks. Our guide said that the biggest ones belonged to the baboons. The smallest ones belonged to cheetahs. The middle ones belonged to leopards. There were also African Hunting Dogs that lived in holes. All of their holes were high up, so that when it rained, the animals were still safe. Luckily they didn’t hang around the canyon during daytime. The animals had adapted very well to their environment. They could all swim – even the cheetahs and leopards.
Our guide was a Maasai guy. He gave me a Maasai name: Olelemaya
When we got back we had three hours to bike nine miles to our camp. We had to bike at least three miles an hour. Then, we biked 1.5 miles in thirty minutes. After that, in one hour we biked 3 miles.
We stopped for about fifteen minutes at a big rock formation that looked like a really steep and bare hill. There we saw some rodents, called rock-hyraxes.They looked like big brown guinea pigs. The adults were about 2-4 pounds. There was a little baby suckling from its mother. It was about 1/2 pound. There were so cute!
We had to bike very fast without stopping to get to the rock-hyraxes, because of the numerous buffalo we were biking past. When we finally got back, we were exhausted. We slept for 11 hours. When I woke up, my butt still ached from the day before. After all, it was still worth it.
Hey, everyone! ! Now it’s time that I have to leave Uganda. Aww . Uganda – so far – is the ultimate paradise. It is my favorite country. Of course, Ireland and Turkey were fun. Japan and Honduras are friendly. Bali and Panama were paradises, too. Rwanda was beautiful. Still, Uganda is my favorite because I got to raft the Nile.
We spent nearly two weeks there, but we stayed at only three hotels run by just two companies. In Jinja, we stayed at Explorers Backpackers, which is run by Nile River Explorers (NRE). That place is a backpacker hostel. It has a pool table and a television. It also has a bar. We stayed there six nights total. On the last day, July 15, 2015, exactly one month after my 10th birthday and on my father’s 41st birthday, we rafted the Victoria-Nile with Nile River Explorers. It was awesome. We went down some scary rapids.
Then we headed to Red Chili Hideaway in Kampala. We stayed a total of nine nights at Red Chili Hideaway. There they had a pool table, a pool, a dart board, a volleyball pitch, a television room, dorm beds, private rooms, en suites, and camping. There I made up a game called 15 ball. I played it with Dean Jacobs’ (I called him Dr. Dean) friend Max (from Nebraska) and our new friend Gustavo (from England). I also had fun in the swimming pool.
We went to the Ndere Center in Kampala. They fed us from a buffet and showed us traditional dancing from Uganda. I also toured the National Mosque in central Kampala. That was boring.
One day we went to Red Chili Camp in Murchison Falls National Park. There, I got so close to a hippo that it was about the distance between this blog and your face. We went on a couple game drives and a boat tour. We also got to see baboons, warthogs, and hippos in our camp. Both nights we were there I helped them start a fire.
In total we ate at eight restaurants in Uganda. My favorite place was All Friends Place in Jinja. Next was The Lawns in Kampala. After that was Red Chili Hideaway in Kampala. The Sailing Club in Jinja was #4. My fifth favorite was the market place in central Kampala. I like Explorers Backpackers next.
I really liked rafting the Nile and our time in Murchison. You go Uganda.
Epic Murchison Falls Park
One day we left Red Chilli Kampala and took a five-hour van to Murchinson Falls National Park in Uganda. By the time we got there it was around dinner time. We ordered late and our dinner came at eight, one hour after we had scheduled.
That night a hippo walked into our camp. That was so cool! She grazed and grazed, blocking tents. When my father and I were in our tent, the hippo completely circled our tent. Then she grazed in front of our next door friends’ tent.
In the morning we were woken up early to go on a game drive. We saw hippos, warthogs, elephants, buffalo, Uganda Kobs, Jackson’s Hartebeests, and lions. When we got back, there were giant warthogs in camp! There was also a baboon on a picnic table. A couple hours later we went on a boat safari. We saw many hippos. We saw birds, too. When we got back Mom put in our orders for dinner and our packed breakfast. We stayed up late and chatted with our friends from England, Italy, Germany, and the US. The next morning, we woke up early, drove a mini game drive, then left.
Murchinson Falls Park is awesome!
Traditional African Dancing at the Ndere Center
Last night we went to the Ndere Center in Kampala, Uganda. They show traditional dances while you eat dinner. Before or after every single dance, they talked about the dance. Many people would dance to a song at once. It was traditional dances danced to traditional music. They also had one dance from Rwanda and drums from Burundi.
At one point they joked about Obama. They said that Obama was not a name but an acronym. They said it stood for Original Black African Managing America.
There were a lot of kids there, too. I meant three others there, but there had to be at least twenty other kids. The kids I met were ages 2, 4, 5, and 10. The four year old was named Andrew. He was from Germany, I think. He was speaking German. The ten year old was from Uganda. His name was Samuel and was one of the dancers in the show. I think the other two are from Uganda. At the end we all mixed and danced and partied and it was just fun.
Hey everyone! Now it’s time for me to leave Rwanda. . Rwanda is the densest country in Africa that is not an island. It is one of the smallest countries in Africa. The only country that is smaller is Burundi. It also as twelve million people. That’s amazing!
These are my favorite things about Rwanda.
The number one hotel in Rwanda that we stayed at is Hotel du Lac in Rusizi. It is the best because it has a restaurant, bar, pool, and a pool table. The food was good, too.
The top three restaurants in Rwanda that we have eaten at are Top View Hill Hotel Restaurant, Bourbon Coffee, and Shokola. Top View Hill was the best, and Shokola was number three. They have good food!
I had lots of fun. My favorite activity was touring the Islands in Lake Kivu. It was so fun! I also liked trekking Colobus Monkeys in Nyungwe forest. That was fun, too.
Something else that was fun was learning about their cultural history. I learned that the they used hunting dogs before they were colonized. They gave their dogs wild game meat to eat. I also learned that they made fabric from bark. I learned that the Belgians built a modern palace for the Rwandan King. I also learned that the traditional king had a milk hut and a beer hut. A virgin girl was to live in the milk hut. No men or boys were allowed in the milk hut. A virgin boy was to live in the beer hut. No women or girls were allowed in the beer hut.
In Rwanda, there are many kinds of primates. I learned that they have over 15 different kinds of primates in Rwanda. These include gorillas and chimps, humans and colobi, and all kinds of monkeys.
The food was good, too. I specifically liked the dairy and the break from vegetables. There aren’t many green vegetables in Rwanda. The only vegetables in Rwanda are starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes. Peas are also in the diet of the locals. They also had some goat, cow, and fish.
The people were very nice. They were very helpful by giving directions when we needed them. They beamed when I said “Muraho”, hello to them in their language. They said “Muraho” back to me. They were very friendly.
It was all like BOOM! It was awesome. Rwanda amazed me, because I knew nothing about it before I started. Before the trip, I thought it would be open savannah. No one would think that a part of Eastern Africa like Rwanda is hilly and chilly. I have never been in more of an amazing country.
Lake Kivu Islands
The other day, we took a boat tour of a few of Lake Kivu’s many islands.
First we boated to Napoleon Island. Then we got out and hiked. As soon as we got out we saw some 🐄🐄 cows. Then we saw a snakeskin. We walked on the trail. There was a lot of 🐄 cow poop on the trail. We heard loud screeching noises all around us. We thought our guide said they were birds. When he showed us, they were not birds. They were bats. Huge fruit bats. They freaked out my parents.
When we got to the top, our guide showed us 🐄 cow island. I called it Grandpa Catfish Island because it looked like an old catfish. There were many 🐄🐄 cows on Grandpa Catfish Island and Napoleon Island. We got back down, saw many lizards, and then saw the 🐄🐄 cows again. Some of the 🐄🐄 cows were calves.
Then we headed to King Island. There we saw a monkey. We gave the monkey some bananas. He peeled and ate all the bananas.
Then we went to Peace Island. People camped on it. We swam there. We had to head back because there was a storm.
Our day was fun. We had seen a monkey, some 🐄🐄 cows, bats, and lizards. It was a very exciting day.
The Rwandan Genocide
Note: I wasn’t allowed into all parts of the museum. I wrote this post myself. (I write all posts myself.)
– James Marshall, Round the World Kid – age 10
The Rwandan Genocide was one of the worst things that happened in the history of the Earth. It is so bad it is only comparable to what happened with Hitler and the Jews and the Genocide in Cambodia. In just twenty minutes 1,000 people were killed. That’s 50 people per minute. In total 1,000,000 people were killed, and 2,000,000 people were misplaced. At that time, there were only 7,000,000 people in the country.
None of this hate was present before the late 1800s. It all stirred up when Rwanda was colonized.
First the Germans came in 1895 and declared Rwanda a German colony. When the Germans lost in World War I, the Belgians came and took it over. There was some good in colonization. The colonists brought technology, education, healthcare, knowledge. But for the most part, colonization was bad.
When the Belgians introduced the Identity Card, they classified everyone as Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. You were classified based on the number of cows you or the oldest male member of your family had. Tutsi people had at least ten cows. The Hutu majority had less than ten cows. According to the Belgians, 1% was Twa, 15% was Tutsi, and 84% was the Hutu majority. The Belgians preferred the Tutsi and used them in controlling the country. The Tutsi were getting the best jobs, educations, and the most power. This made some of the Hutu afraid that they would take their jobs and money and other things away. After time, some of the Hutu’s fear turned into hate, which eventually turned into pure evil. When the Hutus were put into power, some of them separated Tutsis from Hutus at school. Some Hutus started killing Tutsis, though it was small scale. When Rwanda gained independence from Belgium in 1962, they put the Hutu majority in power. In the early 1990s, some of the Hutu started preparing for genocide. They were taught how to use guns. Those who didn’t have guns, which was most people, used a machete.
The U.N. was tipped off. They knew that something terrible would happen. But none of the world, not Japan, not Russia, none of Europe, not even the U.S. interfered. One of the most horribly amazing parts of the story is that many countries had the ability to stop it, but they chose not to. They were not just tipped off like, “hey, we’re getting suspicious”. They knew very specific details. They knew that Rwanda was borrowing money from French banks to buy thousands of machete from China. There were two thousand troops from Western countries inside Rwanda at the time. They just came in and took the white people out.
One day, the Hutu president was in a plane with the president of Burundi when his plane was shot down. There were no survivors. The Hutu people said, “Hey look, the Tutsi have killed our president”. A few hours later, the genocide started. No one knows who shot the plane down. It could have been a Tutsi person, like the Hutu said. It also could have been the Hutu themselves.
Many Tutsi was killed during the genocide. Not all the Hutu were killing the Tutsi. Some Hutu resisted the genocide. Those who did where also killed. Innocent men, women and children were killed. Even young babies were killed. So many young adults were killed that when I go walking around with my parents 20 years later, we almost never see someone my parents’ age.
But there is also a story of hope inside. A mostly Tutsi army came back and stopped the Genocide. No other country helped them fight, not even their neighbors, Uganda, Burundi, Tazania or the D.R.C. They were all alone in fighting. Twenty years later, there are very tall skyscrapers in Kigali. It is very organized. People even stop at red lights and crosswalks! This might seem casual to you, but no one did this in Uganda or Kenya! Now they are making a huge effort to forgive and move forward. It sounds very hard to forgive, but it is even harder to forget. Imagine being a survivor of the Genocide and your family members have been killed. How hard is it to forgive and not seek revenge?
The impact of the story on me is like running into a brick wall. It just amazed me that Rwanda was like that 20 years ago. Rwanda is just so clean and organized today that it is hard to image that people were being killed in mass 20 years ago. In fact, Kigali looks like this!
Rwanda King’s Palace Museum
One day, we went to a The King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, Rwanda. There were three parts. One part was the traditional palace, the next was the royal cattle, and finally was the modern palace.
My favorite part was the royal cattle. First we saw the big adult cattle, and then we saw their baby cattle. When we saw the adult cattle, the royal cattle caretaker came and let us in. He brought a pregnant cow. The royal cattle are special because they all have horns on their heads and beads on their heads. They are also very smart and sweet, like pet dogs. The royal calves were like this too. Their ages ranged from five months to one month. When they reached a year old, their horns were fully grown.
Before that, we saw the traditional hut complex. First we saw the king’s large hut. It had a bed for two. Even though the wife was not allowed to climb over the husband to get into the bed, the husband could climb over the wife. Next we saw the milk hut. At the front were many jugs. The biggest was used for shaking milk to make butter. One jug had the purpose of storing milk. A different one was used in collecting milk from the cow. Another was used in drinking for the adults. An alternative jug was used in drinking for the children. The smallest one was used for the little babies to drink from. Every family had a pot to shake milk into butter with. When their daughter got married, she took one with her. This tradition still goes on today. Next we saw the beer hut. The pots there were made to store beer and to test beer.
The next museum was the modern palace. I mainly looked at the maps of Rwanda’s kingdom. In the 19th century, their kingdom extended into the D.R.C, Uganda, Brundi, and Tanzania, but when Europe divided Africa, their kingdom shrunk.
It was all very nice.
First Motorcycle Ride
Yesterday I rode my first motorcycle, called a boda boda. It’s called a boda boda because people would shout “boarder boarder” to get a ride to the boarder, but with their accent it sounds like boda boda. I thought it would be scary but it was actually fun!
Nyungwe National Park
Halfway through our total time in Rwanda, we found ourselves in the Butare/Huye bus station trying to get to Nyungwe National Park. In the end we got a taxi. On our way there, we saw a big chimpanzee. He crossed the road and kept on walking. The next day we took a 130-meter canopy walk. First we hiked down, then did the walk above the canopy, then hiked back. That day we walked our tails off because we had walked five extra miles in the tea plantations. That’s another post.
The day after we trekked for Angolan Colobus Monkeys. Their leader was very strange. She was a hybrid of Red-tailed monkey and Mona monkey. Colobus monkeys have many natural predators. Young are taken by large eagles, and chimpanzees will occasionally kill and eat adult colobuses. A colobus is no match compared to a chimpanzee. The weakest chimpanzee is 20 times stronger than the strongest colobus. Colobus Monkeys avoid them by sitting in little branches that cannot support the weight of a chimp. Chimps catch them by hiding in branches when they jump to branch to branch. The chimps kill Colobus Monkeys by breaking their necks. They are eaten with herbs, like a colobus casserole. But, their leader did not allow this, because when the chimps came, she would be in front. The chimps would turn around, because Mona monkeys are friends with chimps. We saw them follow the leader and we walked back through the tea plantations. I’m so tired but I don’t have to go to sleep now.
Do you remember my post, GIASCO Boys? It is a post about the boys that GIASCO (Getting Involved with African Street Children Organization) takes care of. Twenty-nine former street children are given food, water, shelter, and education. Click the link to read the full post.
When we were with the boys in Jinja in Mid-July, we donated mattresses, sheets, and mattress protectors because that was what they needed most. Now I am raising money to buy shoes for them. They do have shoes, but those are their school shoes and they cannot wear them during free time.
The shoes will be given to them on August 14, during their annual birthday party. We have until July 31 to donate. We are trying to raise $450(about £290 British Pounds) for shoes for all 29 of the boys. To donate, click below. Be sure to type “SHOES” in the message box of your donation form. Will you PLEEEEEEEASE help me buy shoes for the boys?
Click on link below, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the blue “Support GI ASCO” box Click here to donate.
The Grilled Migration
On Saturday, in Kampala, Uganda, we went to a restaurant called The Lawns. They served all kinds of wild game including Springbok, Blesbok, Ostrich, Kudu, Crocodile, Impala, and occasionally Wildebeest. I ate an ostrich burger. Mom had a Kudu steak. And Dad had a game meat platter. He could have chosen four of the six following: springbok, Blesbok, ostrich, kudu, crocodile, and Impala. His first choice was Impala, because he just had to have Impala in Kampala. He also chose crocodile and ostrich, because he wanted the bird, the reptile, and the mammal. He also chose kudu. He says the reason for this is “‘cus I kudu it”. The ostrich burger was the one of best burger I have had since I was born. That’s a long time!
Rafting the Nile River
Sploosh! “James, look up!” I refused to obey my father. I was scared. Next time, I decided.
The whole time we rode with two girls named Jade and Jamie. They are nice girls that live in Uganda and raft the Nile a lot. They are about my age. Jade told me all about every single rapid. She sometimes asked our guide for information.
We had just finished the rapid Retrospect. The next rapid we rode was part of the rapid The Bad Place. Then was the rapid Vengeance, which was a little scary. Next we surfed on a rapid called The Little Wave. It was actually a little wave. Afterwards, we rode Hair of the Dog. That was the most fun. Next was Cool Shaker. Finally was my favorite… Nile Special.
It was so much fun. I looked up on all of them except Retrospect. I think that rafting on the Nile is awesome and that everyone should do it.
Baby Lizard Lifeguard
Today I saved a baby lizard. That’s all I did today. 🙂
On Monday, July 13, we heard of an organization for street boys, Getting Involved with African Street Children Organization (GIASCO). It is run by Gerald, the bar manager at our hostel and his wife, Sarah. We heard about it by talking to him and Sophie, who was a nursing student for another organization in Jinja for the summer. We decided to check it out. We went to the home were the street boys lived.
It had a nice big yard, a big dining room, a medium-sized kitchen, and an outside kitchen/office, as far as I saw. The dining room was also the entry room, and it had a very accurate map, and the reason I consider it accurate is because it included South Sudan, which most maps don’t do. It also showed every flag of every country. It was a nice place, and it was just as good of a organization. The boys are provided with food, water, shelter, and education. The organization pays for their school fees, because school in Uganda is not free.
I played a little soccer with the boys. We ate dinner with the boys. It was posho and beans. Posho is like Ugali, which is like a cake made of maize with no icing. It is not sweet at all. It is bland on its own, but with something else it tastes just like that other thing. The boys were really nice.
The Ugandan Lost Tooth
After a Ugandan All Friends’ pizza, I wiggled my tooth. It popped loose on one side.I decided to then pull it out. It was painless, but the napkin was covered in blood.
We asked the waiter what Ugandan kids do when they lose their tooth.He said the kids throw the tooth away, and then the adult tooth grows in fast.
We also decided to ask one of the workers at our hostel. When we got back to our hostel, I showed the barman at our hostel’s restaurant my tooth. He said that you hide it and the rat comes and takes it and leaves you money. I put my tooth it in a plastic water bottle.I put the bottle under my bed.
In the morning, my baby tooth was gone, as well as the cap. Instead, there was a 1,000 Ugandan Shilling bill in the bottle! That might seem like a lot, but it is not. $1 U.S. is worth 3,300 Ugandan Shillings. So the rat gave me about 33 cents. That’s not a lot at all! But it is enough to play two games of pool at my hostel.
Lesson Learned: Appreciated or Taken for Granted
Today when we were walking around we started naming things we missed from the U.S. One thing that popped up was unlimited data and free/strong wifi. We took those two things for granted in the U.S. We thought we’d always have it no matter where we went. But now that we don’t have those things, we appreciate them. So the lesson learned is never to take ANYTHING for granted and to take advantage of things you have in the time you have them ESPECIALLY when they are about to go away. Always appreciate, never take for granted.
Fresh Chickens…Too Fresh!
Today we stopped by a chicken place for lunch. It served greens, chicken, and Ugali. We heard some clucking behind the fence. Dad said, “Well, at least it’s fresh,”. Occasionally some chickens were thrown inside. Then a man came in with a knife. Not a single chicken survived. Later the kids looked inside and saw that they were feathering, decapitating, gutting, and cleaning the now dead chickens.
The food was yummy. And the chicken…. its death was honored enough by being cooked well, tasting yummy and ending up in our bellies. I think that if you go to that restaurant too, you’ll say the same.
Making Friends at Kikuyu Wedding
Some random warthog had a very bad day today
It ended with a lioness outside her hole.
My family went on a game drive today. We first saw some rescued chimps. We saw all but one chimp. That was very lucky. Our luck didn’t end there. Right when we came from the chimp center, I screamed, “Elephant!”. There was an African Elephant right there. “Not so loud,” said my dad. We watched the poor thing limp to wherever it was going. The experience was still magical. Then, we moved on. We kept seeing many animals: a couple of black rhinos, many, many, many zebras and antelope. We found a couple of sleeping lions, one an adult female the other a young male. We moved on, saw some pheasants, and found a young female lion, looking for something to hunt.
Now, let’s got to the viewpoint of the warthog, which we were watching the lioness hunt..
I was merely searching for food for my babies, when this lioness crept near to me. A few seconds passed, then I forgot about the lion, even though I was staring right at it. Then, it came closer. Very close. Too close. I ran into my burrow, and the lioness came and laid down next to my burrow. About thirty minutes later, I forgot about the lioness right outside my burrow……….and……..I DIED!!! (as far as we saw – We didn’t actually see the warthog die. But I bet that warthog still died).
New Friends in Nairobi
When I went to the market in Nairobi, I met my friends Michael and Sampson.
I went to Doctor Gathuki for my ear infection. He is my friend too.
They were very nice.
Pants on fire at Bomas
My family went to Bomas of Kenya, a place where they held traditional dances. At the end of the Luo Drinking Party, where the people danced and drank and partied and drank and sung and drank till everyone got drunk and went home, some characters had a hard time getting home. One audience member was taken by the Luo but eventually came back and rejoined the audience.
Then came the acrobats for the finale. They did some stunts then “played with fire”. One guy stuck a torch in another’s pants. The guy who got “torched” became angry. The “torcher” gave him a torch. The next time the man got “torched” he got revenge on the “torcher” by doing the same. Then one extinguished the flame by putting it in his mouth. Then the other ignited a “fire limbo”. They did the limbo like you or I would, except with fire. Then they lowered it to half the height and did the limbo. Then they decreased it to only two beer bottles high. Then one. But every time, they were successful. Then they did some more stunts, and it was over.
We then saw some examples of the styles of the huts of many tribes. We had fun picking which tribes we would like best based on the huts.
The huts in the Embu and another tribe were small.
Dad and I preferred to be Kikuyu. The huts were pretty large and the boys didn’t share a hut with any adults or the sisters, but with each other.
Mom liked the Luo best of all, being the first (and only (for eternity)) wife, since she had a large house and a verandah (sort of like a patio). Dad, being the husband disliked the husband’s example hut for the Luo, because even I had to duck to get in and out of the tiny, low hut.
The last one we saw was the Mijikenda. The huts were shaggy and small, like the Embu. But mom still liked it, probably because the first wife had the biggest hut in all the tribes. We enjoyed the experience, all of it. It was great.
Me, my mom, and my dad had a 14-hour layover in London on June 25, 2015.
The first thing we did was have breakfast with our friends. Guy (the 9-year-old boy) had already finished his breakfast, while Coco (Guy’s 6-year-old sister) had patiently waited. After breakfast (which was cereal) we played soccer in the small field. Guy won against me and Coco and then me alone (He is a very good soccer player).
Then we had a tour of the city. ON FOOT. First we saw Big Ben. It was just a very a big clock tower.
Next we saw Westminster Abbey and Downing Street. I took a picture with the policemen.
Next we got hot dogs on a stand outside Westminster Abbey.
We saw Royal horse-guards on our way to Trafalgar Square.
There the adults got lunch to go. We then walked to St. James Park. The adults had their lunch and the kids their ice cream.
Lastly, on our way back we saw Buckingham Palace and for transportation had a small issue because the westbound District and Circle lines were down.
But we resolved it by taking an Overground train north and switch west. I think all the train system, with the names and colors are really cool.
London was very expensive ( but still- it was cool). To go in somewhere was about 20 pounds per person. To tour on bus was 30 pounds per person. And the “tube” (subway) to the airport (which was called the Piccadilly line) was awful. It was so cramped at the beginning. And it was hot. But, other than a few things, it was great.
Education Galaxy HQ
Today I went to the headquarters of Education Galaxy, a learning program for kids. I got a sneak peek of a few things; better rankings and new games coming out in a few months.
I met the boss, Mr. Jeremy, and other members of the team. I think it was really cool.
Education Galaxy is an education program for kids that has questions and games to entertain and educate. I am using it because I need something I can take around the world, have fun, and learn at the same time. It is space-themed, and the games have different rockets you can choose from. There are different alien rankings, too. The ultimate one is an Alien Superhero.
While I was there, I got to play a round of the two new games, “Zigzag”, and “Asteroids”. I especially liked the game, “Zigzag”. They asked me some questions, and answered my own. I think it is cool that they are my sponsors. It was kind of like an interview.
The big 1-0!
Today I turned 10! Yay! But that means I only have 7 days left in the U.S. Boooooooooooooooooooooo! I wanted to spend more time with my cousin. For the party, we had a pool party at Aunt Brenda’s Community center. It was very fun. We played “Shark tag” and slid in the waterslide. Then we had cake. It was delicious! Then I got four iTunes gift cards worth $100 total. I haven’t used any of the money yet, but I haven’t downloaded it onto my iPad yet either. I will use it on video games, I think. Being ten means I am one year older than I was.
#TBT – Yummy food in Turkey
TBT! I went to Istanbul,Turkey in 2007. The food was yummy! And I am going back there in a few months. I am exited to see Instanbul again!
Click here if you want too see more of my earlier travels in Istanbul, Turkey, because it was awesome because the food was yummy because the food was yummy.
Packing Preparation for Perfect Panama
I had to go through all my stuff and I only had one giant suitcase to put it in. That was all I could take to Panama because we are selling almost everything and traveling to five continents for ten months. I packed most of my stuffed animals, some books, one board game, and ten cars. I also packed a starter truck. It was very hard. One of my stuffed animals wouldn’t fit, and I couldn’t pack any more cars. I didn’t have room for anything else. I wish I had more room. But I am still grateful for the stuff I do have. Now I realize how lucky I am. Even if it doesn’t feel like much, I know that there are some kids in the world with not even an eighth of that. I packed the most important stuff, so I am happy.
Throwback Thursday – Japan 2009
It’s Throwback Thursday! I’m Round The World Luggage touring Tokyo, Kyoto, and Takayama. I also made lots of friends!
Stitching – By Lambie the Stuffed Sheep
Hi. I’m Lambie. Soon I will join James and his family around the world. Today I got “stitched”. Whatever that means. Anyway, here’s the story.
I had had enough of our family monster ripping me apart. I heard my slightly older brother, James, asking my mom to stitch me. Whatever that meant. The next day I woke up in sharp pains. When mom was done, I felt really good. I looked down at myself. My tummy was blue! I loved the new me. Later that day, I was put in a car (I had been in enough of those to know what they were called). In came James. Mom grabbed me and gave me to James. He cuddled me – a lot. “I love the new you,” he said.
Throwback Thursday – Ireland 2011
Starting in East Africa
East Africa. We will be going to East Africa first. My parents’ friends will house us. Their names are Alex and Tabitha. They have two daughters. When we get there, one will be five and the other will be two or three. We will be going to Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. I am most exited to see the giraffes in Kenya.
Meet The RTW Kid
My name is James Antonio Marshall. By May 2015, I am 9 years old. I was born on June 15, 2005.
We are planning to travel the WORLD and end up in PANAMA!!! We have it all planned. The budget, the “then and there” stuff, and re-planning.
The Big Trip
USA –} East Africa –} Europe –} India –} Southeast Asia –} South America –} Panama
We are going around the world for 10 months starting in the USA and ending in Panama. That is the main part of this blog.
Last day of school in America
This was my last day of school in America. We watched the movie “Hoot”. We also had lots more extra recess. It is based on the novel by Carl Hiaasen. It is about saving the legally protected burrowing owls in Florida. I liked it.
I am happy that I do not have to go to school for the majority of the week. I am sad I won’t see my friends again.
Mostly I am looking forward to awesome summer and Clash of Clans.
My favorite part of the last day was watching hoot, eating pancakes, and drinking orange juice all at the same time. I loved it.
The note below is a good-bye note for my leaving with no return. Vishwa made it, and he got people he thought I would want to sign it , to sign it. Some wrote their own little note. It is obvious I have many, many friends. I even made friends with the teachers!
On January 5, 2015, my mom, my dad, and I got vaccinations at the travel clinic at Emory hospital to prevent diseases. Imagine a needle with a little bit of Rabies (rabies shot) getting poked in. That was what happened to me. My eyes swelled up in tears. A few escaped. Then a Yellow Fever vaccination that barely hurt came near my right armpit. I shortly lost track of it. It didn’t hurt later. Dad got four shots: Tetanus, Yellow Fever, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis A. Mom got two. The first time she looked like she was about to pass out. Really, mom. On the second she nearly cried. What was it? It was either Hepatitis B or Yellow Fever. We will get more shots, but those are other stories!