Ape-ing around on our day off around Entebbe
In Hoima everyone is given a ‘petty name’ which has a meaning and it is meant to be more affectionate if you address someone by their pet name - I have been given Amooti, meaning flower.
The procedural greeting involving a petty name goes like this…
Empako yawe? (what is your petty name?)
Akiiki (petty name meaning leader)
Ta Akiiki? (how are you Akiiki?)
Kandi eya we? (how about your petty name?)
Amooti (petty name meaning flower)
Ndiho Amooti (I’m ok Amooti)
Soooo….what have I been doing since my last blog?
I spent the a couple of days following my last entry in head office in Entebbe finishing off my report for the stakeholders meeting, planning the educational program we will be using in Hoima and collecting together the resources I will need such as pictures, maps etc. I also went to an open market one evening with Rebekka and Patricia one of the ladies who works in the office; it was extremely busy with people and stalls everywhere. I bought a couple of things and we had a dinner or fried insects, fresh fruit and something called ‘rolex’ which is basically a chapatti and an omelet cooked together. October
Ugandan Wildlife Education Centre
Apparently the plants here can cure almost anything!
9th was Ugandan Independence Day making it a public holiday - a fact the Rebekka and I were not told beforehand and didn’t realize until no-one turned up at the office! We decided to make the most of our day off work and have a fun day out in Entebbe. In the morning we went to the Botanical Gardens which are big and very beautiful. They stretch down to Lake Victoria so we began by spending some time by the lake. After a short which a big group of local turned up - they were having a big BBQ party. Some of the group started playing volley ball and we were invited to join them, which of course we did which was great fun. After a while of jumping around and getting to know the locals we decided to explore the gardens and set off taking lots of silly pictures. After the Botanical Gardens we then went to the Ugandan Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), which is basically a zoo but all of the animals have been rescued from customs, pet trade etc. They had quite a variety of animals with a lot of grounds and mostly enough space in the
Community Clean Up
Helping to clear up the rubbish on a nearby island and planting seedlings
enclosures. However I was a little disappointed as considering it is an ‘education centre’ there is very little education as you walk around and much more could be done in this area! (Sophie we should make some of your signs!). The next day I had a big long meeting with the other members of CSWCT that are involved in education/conservation where we went through our plans and created a proposed timetable for the time that I am here.
The weekend was then spent celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Ngamba Island! On the Saturday we made our made our way over to Ngamba early in the morning and went straight from there to one of the neighboring islands where we were helping with a ‘community clean up’. We initiated - and encouraged them to help us with - picking up of the litter which covers the floor in an even layer. We also planted a couple of saplings which they will now nurture and help to grow into big trees. As soon as the children had gotten over the shock of a ‘muzungu’ they decided they all wanted to follow me around and spend time with me - holding my hands
The children got very excited that white people had visited them and all wanted to say hello
and arms, feeling my skin and hair, to them I am fascinating! This was a really nice morning helping the local community and they seemed to really appreciate it. The afternoon was then spent playing a football match CSWCT staff against Kiimi Island. We went over to Kiimi for the game and I was on photographer duty so took loads of sporty pictures. We started off well and it was 1-1 at half time….but then Kiimi’s better training and fitness became apparent and the final score was 5-1. The local island people all turned up to watch and support the team and created a great atmosphere - they all seemed to love it especially as they kept scoring! The trophy for winning the match was a goat donated by CSWCT. Back on our own island for the evening everyone came together for an evening feast.
The next day was the actual anniversary celebration and lots of guests came over to the island. There were speeches, tours, chimp feeding, awards, live music, dancing, chimp cake cutting, a big lunch and lots of sunshine! All in all it was a very enjoyable day and everyone left with a smile of their faces
One of the new friends that I made on Kiimi Island when taking photos of the football match
and enthusiasm for chimp conservation to continue.
The next day I was back on the main land and Rebekka and I headed for a day in Kampala. We had arranged with one of the girls in the office to get our hair braided by a friend of hers so that’s where we headed first. The braiding took over 7 hours as the plaits are small, so by the end my head was very tired from being pulled and very heavy from the extra hair they weave in to the braids. After we had finished we went into Kampala centre and met up with our friend Byron from the island. He gave us a mini tour of the hectic city and we went for ice cream and browsed the shops.
The following day was my last day of preparations before heading back to Hoima and my last day with Rebekka as she is leaving soon. In the evening we celebrated by going out for a meal and some drinks with a couple of others from the island.
Finally back in Hoima I was able to at last unpack and settle myself in one room! I am again staying in the office
CSWCT vs Kiimi
Final score 1-5, the match had a great atmosphere and the islanders loved that they won!
building and will be here until we break for Christmas. Next week we are planning two teacher training workshops to guide the teachers to bring environmental education into their classrooms and to set up wildlife clubs within the schools. In order to get the teachers there they first had to be invited which is not as simple as writing an email or dropping some letters in the post! The only way to get them there is to deliver each of the letters by hand! There are two areas that we are focusing on, Kyabigambire which is around the education centre and Kiziramfumbi which is near Munteme. Many of these schools are quite a distance from each other, down very narrow roads that are riddled with pot holes, puddles and mud so the next two days were spent delivering these letters. The first day we went out on Paul’s motorbike which was great fun and a really good way to see the area. However when we were on our way back into town we ran out of petrol!! We had to get off and push the bike to the nearest village, I then had to get a border-border (motorbike taxi) into town, buy petrol and come back! If this wasn’t adventure enough just as we got off the bike it began pouring with rain so we got soaked! On the second day we went out in a CSWCT car which we now have in Hoima which I have been driving. It’s a Toyota 4x4 so much bigger than I’m used to but really good for the crazy African roads (we also got stuck in the mud with the car a couple of times).
On Saturday we were in the forest doing research surveys. The forest around the education centre is all privately owned by around 13 people (split into sections) so we were trying to establish; how big their area is, how often they cut trees, what else they use the land for, if they are willing to replant trees etc. so we can know how best to support these people to conserve the forest. In the evening we watched the Man U match which is really funny as they LOVE English football over here and Paul supports Man U.
Sunday we managed to take a day off work and relax! I went to an African church and spent time teaching Paul how to drive the car which was good fun.
The next day I got an opportunity to see more of Uganda. We had to drive and pick someone up from Budongo Central Forest Reserve and take them to Rubongo Forest (a finger forest branching off from Murchison Falls National Park) where we have a group doing research on the chimps there. This meant I had the opportunity to move into these reserves without paying any fees and I was doing half of the driving. The reserves were beautiful, we passed down the Royal Mile (which was conserved by the King for relaxing walks) and through the rift valley (possibly the origin of man). On our journey we saw many baboons, velvet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, black and white coloubus monkeys, a couple of waterbuck, birds, butterflies, and even a chimpanzee. Unfortunately we didn’t see any other large animals like elephants although we saw lots of evidence of their activity in the area.
One of the projects that we are going to start doing with the school groups is bringing them to the education centre and then taking them on forest walks to expose them to the environment and to teach them about the ecosystems. Before we do this we wanted to complete an inventory of the birds/plants/mammals/butterflies in the area so we can create fact sheets for the children to use to identify what they are looking at. To do this we spent a day in the forest with a friend of Paul’s who is a bird expert, identifying everything we could see and taking pictures wherever possible. On our forest trek we were lucky enough to see another wild chimp in an area close to the education centre. These chimps live in a small patch of forest so experience constant human-animal conflict and the chimp appeared shy and scared of any sudden movements! It was great to see chimps in the area where we are working with the local community as it really shows how important sensitization is in these areas to maintain the population.
The following day was spent making all of the arrangements for the teacher training workshops we are holding this week. We needed to buy items such as stationary, rent chairs, print handouts, plan lunch etc and all of these things take a very long time to get sorted here so it was a very long day. Also the money that we had budgeted for the event had not yet been sent from head office so we weren’t able to make all of the purchases due to lack of funds!
The workshops finally took place Thursday and Friday of this week and they were a great success. We just about managed to get everything ready in time, pick up everything we needed and get set up as the teachers were arriving. On the Thursday we were based in Munteme with the schools in this area and we had around 35 teachers in attendance and Friday was based at our education centre with almost 40 teachers. The workshop covered; what is the environment, what are the current risks and threats, what we can do as a community to help, what is environmental education, what are the qualities of a good environmental teacher, what tools and approaches you can use to integrate environmental education, what is a wildlife club, what activities can a wildlife club, how can you set up a wildlife club and finally action points and ways to monitor progress! As you can see this is a lot to cover in one day so it was very busy and it took a lot of team work to get everything to run smoothly and to fit together! All of the teachers were very interested and interacted well and eager for us to continue doing more throughout the area to keep the progress moving! I now need to write a report from the workshop compiling everything that was covered and more ideas of activities that can be used within the schools so this can be distributed and used as a resource. When we deliver this we will also give each school sheets we will use to monitor their progress and set some goals for them to achieve before our next visit.
We also now need to make arrangements for our outreach program and to create the forest fact sheets using the information we collected so I think a few days will be spent in the office bringing all of this together and making plans before we rush into anything else. It is important that what ever is set up will be sustainable once I leave so there is no point rushing around all of the schools without making a good timetable.
It has been a very long and busy week so we are now going to spend sometime relaxing this weekend before getting stuck into everything again next week. I will however probably spend sometime looking over all of the information we have gathered so I will know where to start when writing the report. On Monday we also have an IGA (income generating activities) meeting with a group of women from the local community around the education centre.
Massive love and hugs to everyone back home. Please keep in touch and keep me updated on all of your news. Sorry if I can’t keep in touch with individual emails but internet is very slow and my free time is very limited. Hope you’re all well and enjoying whatever you’re doing.
Loads of love
Hannah x x x
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