Weekend in Kibale Forest

Published: June 18th 2015
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I’m currently sitting in my room, in the dark because the power is out due to a wicked thunderstorm, and since there is nothing else to do other than sleep, I thought blogging would be a good idea. It’s pouring unlike anything I’ve ever seen back home on the prairies and I’m listening to Bon Iver, because “Skinny Love” sounds that much better against the backdrop of heavy rain.

I’m also still behind on blogging. No surprise. We have been continuing to visit different communities each day to pull blood for brucella testing and at the time of writing we have only a couple more community meetings to go to. Many of the communities are spread out with homes being a decent hike from one another, so often we can only make it to one or two (if we’re lucky) a day. Each day in the field lasts about 8 to 10 hours, so when we have a weekend free of meetings we like to take some time to relax. So here is a short entry about another weekend free from the project that Laura, Brendan and I decided to make a small getaway of. Brittany and Lena
were exhausted from a long week on the project so they decided to spend the weekend at “home” in Mbarara. This weekend, we decided to visit Kibale National Forest to do some more hiking, wander around a swamp, and splash in a waterfall.

The day we left was the day before Laura was supposed to catch an early morning flight back home to Canada, but after a wee bit of twisting her rubber arm she decided to stay for a few days longer. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend another weekend with me?? (Ha!) She called Aeroplan to change her flights, only to find out that the website was down and when she eventually got off the phone all she knew was that her flight was cancelled, and someone in the Aeroplan World had her information, credit card number and would book her on “some flight” home when the website was up and running again. Not the most reassuring bit of information she’s ever heard, and by the time our long field day was over she definitely could use a glass of wine to unwind.

I was also really tired from a long
week in the field and seriously considered staying in Mbarara to catch up on sleep, emails, blogs and whatever else I probably should have been occupying my time with. However, it didn’t take much for Laura and Brendan to now turn the table and twist my rubber arm to take another weekend off. After all, you regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you do, right?

So off we were, cruising down the highway to the forest, following the few but incredibly informative and invaluable roadsigns such as “SAFETY FIRST”, “AIDS KILLS” and “SPEED KILLS DIVORCE IT”. We arrived later in the evening and after supper we decided to have what Laura (and well, the rest of us) needed - some wine. We had one bottle with supper, followed by a second one while hanging out in our tent. It went down too fast, so a third was definitely in order. After a third bottle we were all slightly buzzed and thought “what the hell! Let’s get more!” so Brendan and I decided to investigate where the wine was stored and we sweet-talked the security guard into letting us take some box-wine (which we
The mountains in the distanceThe mountains in the distanceThe mountains in the distance

Pictures can't do this place justice
fully intended on, and did pay for the next morning). A three-person dance party ensued in our tent after which we all promptly passed out.

Needless to say, we all woke up either still a little drunk or a tad hungover, and after a bit of a slow start we eventually dragged ourselves out of the tents to make the most of the rest of the day. We had lunch at a beautiful lunch/cottage/home where we could see the Rwenzori Mountains on one side of the restaurant and a massive crater lake on the other. With such incredible beauty all around us how could one let a hangover slow you down! After lunch, and three Bloody Mary’s to help make us feel human again, we took off in search of the nearby waterfall.

After a decent drive through fields of sorghum, millet and maize (we think) we finally make it… to some villager’s home? We ask about the waterfall and are guided through their backyard and plantation for about half hour or so and eventually arrive at the waterfall. After a dip in the water and some splashing around we decided to call it a day and trek back.

The following day we woke up much earlier and to my surprise discovered possibly the best (and most western) shower in Uganda! It had warm water! And pressure! At the same time! And it all came out of a shower head attached to a wall! This rarity alone was enough to make the trip worth it. Following this we took a hiking tour around Kibale swamp where we saw a variety of monkey species, many, many birds and one prehistoric monster snail.

After the swamp hike it was time to head home. Despite a little bit of car trouble, which was probably the most excitement the trading centre we broke down in has seen in a long time, we eventually made it back to Mbarara.

Look at that! Two short(ish) blogs in a row! Take care back home! 😊

And more pictures below!

Additional photos below
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Watching the sunsetWatching the sunset
Watching the sunset

No filter necessary

Monster snailMonster snail
Monster snail

Seriously, the size of my hand

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