Bungee jumping over the Nile River was supposed to make my own free fall into the future easier, as I left Uganda and again moved thousands of miles away. (To Cuba, another misadventure in and of itself). I was excited, but mainly scared. I leaned forward again on the platform, terrified, and thought about hilarious and complicated African and American friends, kind European neighbors, loyal Ugandan co-workers. I remembered cool late nights of vibrating night clubs and hot early mornings of motorbike rides through thick traffic. I could still taste the passion fruit juice from breakfast and feel the sting of last night’s mosquito bites.
Images from my first months in Uganda filled my head, too, of luscious coffee fields, generous strangers, and huge starchy meals. I didn’t know if I was ready to take a leap.
But I jumped. I screamed helplessly as I fell head first into the air at breakneck speed, the hillside and boulders flashing before my eyes as I bounced up and down, whirled around and around, coming impossibly close to the water before coming to a stop. I was out of breath, completely exhilarated and shocked. A bungee company employee, a frail, older Ugandan man, paddled over in a small boat to unhook me from the rope and pull me down. He smiled at my heavy breathing and disheveled clothes. Our eyes connected. It was time to go.