So a lot of people have been asking me about the food … hmm… how can I put this… it sucks!!! Haha… people don’t eat for pleasure or nutrients here, they eat to get full! Lots of rice, plantain, matoke (kindof like potato), chipattis (a pancake-like thing), pocho and sometimes when you’re lucky there’s also Gnuts (basically peanuts) grounded up into a sauce I guess you can say! And you just put that on everything. Not much flavor or content lol. The fruits are good though (banana, avocado and mangos are big here!) I’m basically living off of bananas, eggs, avocado and my shake mix, and we go for supper at Café Ark , a restaurant near our place that has westernized food that’s pretty okay so that's cool! A good meal is around 20000 Shillings which is like 8$!
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It’s a funny feeling being a minority and not something I’m used to. The term they use for “white person” here is “Muzungu” and literally everywhere I go people call out “Muzungu!”. I am definitely staired at, not in a bad way necessarily but I definitely don’t blend in haha. When you’re walking in the streets
people stop you to stay hi, to ask if you want a lift, to ask for your hand in marriage, you name it! In some communities, as soon as our car stops, all the kids run up to us and just stand there and stair. Have made a couple of babies cry, I don’t blame them, white people are scary :P! And it’s not just the kids, coming back from out of town one day, our driver Sylus stopped on the country side where people sell fruits and vegetables to pick up a couple of things. He left us in the car and within seconds the car was surrounded with like 20 teenagers, and a couple of them started taking videos and pictures of us. So I decided to take pictures and videos of them too! They found it hilarious and I brought the window down so we can show each other what we took. It was cute and funny. It was in the middle of a big onion town, and one of them offered me an onion. Guess that’s what they give pretty girls here to pick them up. It was really romantic (Lp are you taking notes?).
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The two girls I’m placed with for the project are super fun!
Brittany is 23 and she’s from Saskatoon, she’s your typical prairie girl; a cute tomboy with two brothers, a truck, a barn, who laughs at me when I’m scared of bugs or complain about the Ugandan ways. She’s also my faithful workout buddy! She and I have been waking up at 7 before we head out to the field to get a mini YouTube workout in almost every day. There’s no CrossFit Uganda that I know of here :P here but gotta do something to burn off all that rice and matoke!
Cool is the word to describe Sarah! She’s the hippie yogi friend everyone wants to have with the care free, ready for any adventure personality! 28 and also from Saskatoon, second timer on this project, and it’s been awesome getting to know her. It’s funny because I actually briefly met her at the end of a drunken party at Saskatoon symposium. I was speaking to her then boyfriend who mentioned his girlfriend who was doing veterinarians without borders project this summer and I asked him to find her to introduce
Everyone here is amazed by sarah's tattoos! Kids will touch it and then look at their hands and laugh, it's really interesting and funny to see!
me! We then head to the dance floor and found her and we gave each other a big hug and said it would be so cool if we both got the Uganda project (it was both our first out of four choices VWB gave us). We exchanged numbers and facebook info and kept in touch until now!
Speaking of yoga, Sarah’s been teaching Brittany and me a few acro yoga moves, and I’m not going to lie… we’re pretty pro :P. See for yourself!
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So group meetings have started this week, we’ve had one or two a day, and when we’re not doing that we’re planning for the pioneer training. Things move really really slow in Uganda, and I mean like reaaally slow. If a group meeting starts at 2:00pm, people will show up anywhere between 2 and 4, and we can’t start until a majority have arrived! But… sometimes they decide to start the meeting anyway and we can’t take the chance to show up later because once they start the meeting and their discussion about the revolving fund, we have to wait till it’s over before we speak which usually takes between
Cozy meeting at Akatete
This was the first meeting me and Brit led alone
1 to 2 hours. Needless to say there’s lots of waiting around no matter what.
Usually they’re set up on the grass somewhere under a tree in the shade, and they put out chairs for us Muzungus :P. It’s cute and cozy and gets the discussion rolling. We have a Ugandan translator named Joseph, who comes with us to everything and is our middleman, couldn't run the project without him! He’s really sweet man who believes in women empowerment and is a really good motivational speaker so he’s great to have on the team.
So, the same problems come back every year; some goats die of dog bites, some goats get stolen, and then the two major ones (which really shouldn’t be) they die of “sudden death” (clostridium) or they are having abortions (Brucella). These are both very avoidable diseases, and yes it is the two things we vaccinate for. So why are they still dying from it you ask? Well that’s an interesting story you see… not everyone accepts to vaccinate their goats.
We’re trying to create something sustainable here and that includes training the paravets to go around and vaccinate and people actually paying for
the vaccinations. That’s why when we come and do the vaccination clinics and brucella testing, we still charge them for the vaccines (about 500-800 shillings which is about 30¢ or less for each goat). This is still not cheap for them but the idea is that it’s an investment and these goats are like their personal bank account. Each goat is worth 100000 Shillings (about 40$) and if they are well taken care of they will continue giving more and more goats. So in the long run, this 30¢ will ensure they have 40$ and much more. But it’s hard to get them to have that mentality and think in the long term. It’s especially hard to get them out of the mentality and concept of white people coming out of nowhere and giving them stuff. It’s not rare to hear the “my goat died, give me a new one” story/plead. So while we are continuously trying to teach them the concept of investment, it’s not always evident. And that’s the big difference between the communities that are thriving and doing great, and the ones who are having problems year after year. That being said, there are groups and people
We've got company!
Some kids gathering up to watch the Muzungus
with amazing success stories! This year we have a limited resources (less people, no support from FOAC,… ), so we are trying to concentrate our efforts on the communities who are motivated and who listen to our recommendations instead of groups who are looking for handouts and who refuse to learn. It’s hard because it seems so simple, you're probably thinking to yourself “but can’t you just explain it to them very simply, it’s obvious” and we do, and we have, and we continue to, but it’s not only about education sometimes but about changing the mentality and the culture and that’s really really hard. We can only help them if they want to help themselves.
It all comes down to the famous saying “Don’t give a man food, teach him how to fish”. If you give him food he’ll eat for a day but if you teach him to fish he’ll eat for a lifetime.
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