Standing on the equator!
I have arrived safely in Africa! My flights went well (I made sure I had lots of gravol with me) and I was pleasantly surprised when my bags showed up with me in Entebbe, since Sarah hadn't been so lucky. I had layovers in London, Istanbul and Kigali and a total travel time of 19 hours. I was basically running from gate to gate. Laura McDonald, a small animal practitioner from Saskatchewan, met me at the airport. Laura will be spending three weeks with us student interns to help us get adjusted to life in Uganda and familiarize us with the project. She has been involved with the goat project for many years and is very passionate about it. I am glad that she is here to help us get started. It was three in the morning when I arrived in Entebbe, so we headed to Green Valley Guest House. I was greeted by a zombie-like version of Sarah and then quickly crawled into bed to get some much needed sleep.
The next day I slept in and we just hung around Green Valley, so I could get over my jet lag. Once it was dark we went
The beautiful green countryside!
out to a fancier muzungu (white person) restaurant to get some dinner and then out to a nightclub with Silas and Frank. Frank is the owner of Green Valley Guest house and Silas is his younger brother. The club was definitely an experience to say the least. We got a lot of attention as buzungus (A group of white people). Everyone was grinding to the old hip-hop songs and having a good time. There was even a full-term pregnant woman getting her groove on. I was drinking a local Ugandan beer called "Nile Special". It isn't the greatest beer, but it did the trick and I was feeling pretty tipsy by the time we went back to Green Valley.
The next day, Sarah, Laura and I headed to Mbarara in the green machine (the project vehicle). This was the first time I had seen Uganda in the daylight. The countryside is absolutely beautiful. It is so green and very unlike what I expected. I was hungover, jet lagged and feeling pretty nauseas, especially since driving in Uganda is like riding on a rollercoaster. You have to weave between pedestrians, other vehicles and boda bodas (motorcycle taxis), all
Goat kids and elephant pants!
while driving on the opposite side of the road. We stopped at the equator on the way and I bought two pairs of elephant pants and a purse from some of the small shops. When we got to Mbarara we met Laura's friend, Brendan, for dinner. I was feeling like a pile of terds and could only manage a few bites of my spaghetti. I barfed outside of the restaurant as we were leaving. Such a classy Canadian I am.
On Monday, May 18th, we moved onto the university campus. We have a cute three bedroom house to ourselves for the summer. The house is simple, with cement walls and floors and musty smelling couches, but it was nice to unpack all of my stuff and get settled in for the summer. I am thankful that we have toilets I can sit down on, rather than squat toilets. Our shower head is not attached to the wall, so you have to hold it up while you shower with either burning hot or ice cold water. We have been warned that the power may randomly go off at anytime, but it has been good so far. The city
My home for the summer!
is quite overwhelming, the streets are crowded and there are vehicles and people intermingling in some sort of organized chaos. Boda drivers are always asking you if you would like a ride, with the constant noise of horns honking in the background. We went into town to buy some local cells phones and some food from the market. I am now the owner of a small black Nokia and using T9 to text makes me feel like I have gone back in time.
Yesterday we went out to the field and met with our translators that we will be working with for the summer. Their names are Joseph and Vivian and they are extremely friendly. All of the people here are very friendly. Kids are always waving at us and saying "hello" or yelling "muzungu, muzungu!". When we enter a shop or a house, we are greeted by the women saying "you are welcome". They are such happy people, even though they have so little to their name. It is very humbling. Our first day in the field was a pretty exciting one. We went with Joseph, who is also a paravet, to a farm to deworm
My first time driving in the craziness of Mbarara!
around 40 goats. It was nice to get a bit of hands on experience with the goats, since I have never really worked with small livestock before. We then went to a farm with a goat that had been bitten by a dog and now had a huge mass on its abdomen. We were really hoping it was an abscess, but after making a small stab incision we diagnosed it as an abdominal hernia. Whoops! We weren't properly prepared and had not bought any suture material yet, so we ended up sewing the incision up with dental floss!! Haha. When in Africa, you make due with what you have on you. We will definitely be more prepared next time.
Today we had a bit of an "office day" and read the paravet manual and last years report. Laura has been giving us the run down on the project and I feel as if my role within the project is a lot clearer. I am really looking forward to diving into the actual brucella testing and vaccinations of the goats and getting into the medicine aspect of things. Lena arrived in Mbarara by bus today, it was good
to see her again. She also brought a present from Entebbe.....a wireless router! We now have unlimited wifi, which is really nice. As Lena says "home is where the wifi connects automatically". LOL.
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