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Published: June 24th 2015
An enthusiastic group of goat farmers!
Well, good news....I haven't poked myself with any more contaminated needles and don't seem to be showing any clinical signs of brucella! We've been pretty busy this last week and a half. We have done brucella testing and clostridia vaccinations in many of the communities and have attended almost all of the group meetings. We also had the pioneer training for the goat farmers from QE (Queen Elizabeth National Park). The training went much better than we expected and we were all quite proud of ourselves. We were teaching them the basic principles behind the goat project, the requirements to receive goats and also some basic goat husbandry. The pioneers seem very enthusiastic and we think they have the potential to be very successful with the project.
The field days are long and all three of us are usually exhausted and hangry when we get back to the house. We usually only have a banana for breakfast and a chapatti (basically like the bannock of Africa, flour and water mixed together and fried) for lunch. Once we are home, we have to run the brucella test on the blood serum samples while they are still viable. Our lab,
which is actually our laundry room, does not have a light bulb, so it gets pretty dark in there. The other evening we got home so late from the field that we had to run the tests wearing our headlamps. The sun sets around 7:30 here every day. It never changes. I guess that is the beauty of being on the equator. I myself prefer the seasons and the snow, but at least it is nice and predictable for us while we are here.
Once the field work and brucella testing are done, we usually just relax in the evenings. We make some supper (usually pasta or chick pea curry) and watch a movie or the bachelorette, which Lena has now gotten Sarah and I hooked on (#teamben). Occasionally we will go out for supper, our favorite place is called City Top. They make really good Indian food, so it is worth the hour long wait. A few nights ago we tried out a new restaurant called Jack's. It was pretty good, as far as food here goes. I can guarantee that we will be eating there again this summer. We have all been craving food from
Some newborn goat kids we came across while testing for brucella.
home a lot lately. Lena will usually start the conversation by saying something like "I would be so down for a Big Mac and some chicken nuggets right now" and then we will go on and on about what we are going to eat as soon as we get home. I think one of the first things I want to eat when I get home is a big juicy steak with garlic shrimp, mashed potatoes and corn. I am still searching for some decent beef here. The steak I had the other night tasted really good, but was like chewing on a piece of leather.
Along with all of the project work, we have also experienced quite a bit of Ugandan culture. On Tuesday, June 16th, it was the "Day of the African Child". This day was established in 1991. It honors those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on that day. It also raises awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children. We were invited to spend the day at Rutsya Primary school to take part in their activities. The day started late, and went on for a
Giving our donation to the headmaster of the primary school.
long time. There were a lot of speeches to the parents from important people like the Director of Education and the Headmaster, but it wasn't very exciting for us, as the speeches were in the local language and we had no idea what they were saying. There were also a couple of performances by the children, which were fun to watch. You could tell none of them had ever used a microphone before because they were yelling into them, but I enjoyed it all the same. At the end of the day, our partner organization on the goat project, FAOC (Foundation for Aids Orphaned Children) handed out "prizes" to students with good grades and attendance. The school also has a high percentage of special need students, so they got recognized as well. The prizes were two low quality notebooks per kid. I think most of the kids were more excited to shake the muzungu's hands than receive their notebooks. Us three goat project girls also donated a few things to the school, like some pencils, crayons, paper and a soccer ball.
The best part of the Day of the African Child, was the end of the day
A traditional performance by the children.
when we actually got to spend some time with the school children. Lena and I walked out to the soccer field to take some pictures and that is when we were engulfed by a crowd of children. They all wanted us to take their picture and then show them what it looked like. Most of them have probably never seen a picture of themselves, so they were pretty excited. They were all hanging off of us and trying to squeeze into the pictures. It was a lot of fun. We said our goodbyes and promised we would be back, but the excitement didn't end there. A couple of weeks ago when we had been doing a vaccination day, we came across a household with a puppy. Silas, one of the guides at Green Valley Guest House, had mentioned that he wanted a puppy, so that afternoon we went back to the house and asked if they would like to sell their puppy. We are now the temporary owners of an African dog!
We have decided to call him puppy (not very original, I know). He is black with brown markings and has ears and feet that are
My attempt of a selfie with the kids.
way too big for the rest of his body. He is quite the scaredy cat, but has already started to warm up to us and barks when someone walks past the yard. Hopefully he will make a good guard dog for Green Valley. The poor pup is very emaciated and has a huge pot belly that is most definitely full of worms. We picked up some dewormer and vaccines yesterday, so we hope to get him fixed up. We gave him a bath as soon as we brought him home and he is smelling much nicer, although he still has some ticks and fleas. He sleeps in my room because there is nothing on the floors that he can chew or pee on. We aren't really sure if the university housing allows pets, so we are just keeping him a secret for now! Hopefully we will be able to get him to Silas soon, I am already getting a little tired of wiping up puppy pee.
This morning we are stuck at home. It has been thunder storming since last night and the water is literally coming down in buckets. I am loving it! Thunderstorms are one
Our African dog!
of my favorite things. Since the roads of all the communities are dirt, we are not able to reach them safely in this downpour, so we are just waiting until it stops. Hopefully we can head out to the field this afternoon! The power meter in our house also started beeping this morning, which apparently means that the power will not last for must longer. Someone is supposed to be coming to "add more power to the meter" (I really don't get how this works), so hopefully they show up soon. I hope you are enjoying the blog, we are heading out to Queen Elizabeth again this weekend, so stay tuned for that!! Cross your fingers that we get to dart a lion this time!
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