The Big Training Day!


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Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara
June 24th 2015
Published: June 24th 2015
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Drinking maize porridgeDrinking maize porridgeDrinking maize porridge

Randomly we receive gifts from the people in the communities for vaccinating their goats
Day to day life on the project has continued to be the same as previous blog entries - field work and pulling blood, running tests, and endless community meetings. The day after we got back from Kibale Forest was Laura’s last day with us, so she gave us final tidbits of advice, said her goodbyes and abandoned us to go back to the real world in Canada. Back in my second blog, I mentioned we went to Queen Elizabeth National Park to visit Dr. Seifert and assess some new communities wanting to start their own goat projects. To start, they are planning on implementing the project in three different communities: one in the mountains, one that has issues with elephants eating their goat forage, and lastly, one community that has issues with lions eating their goats. These are all problems that do not occur in any of our current communities in Insingiro.



Mondays have become our at-home “office day” as it’s market day for most of the region so no one is usually at home for us to pull blood and do vaccinations. Since our visit in QE park we have been using office days and some evenings to get ready for the big Pioneer Training for the QE community people. A lot of the material for the trainees was completely new for us as VWB doesn’t typically train new groups; FAOC takes care of that. Each of the three communities was sending three selected members to learn all basics of the goat project so they could go back and mobilize their communities to start the prep work to eventually receive goats.



After busy days writing training manuals, making posters, booking chairs and speakers and ensuring there would be enough food prepared for everyone we arrived bright and early on training day… and about two hours after the training was supposed to start, all the trainees rolled in. African time, man.



We didn’t know what to expect from the trainees as they come from completely different backgrounds than the groups we’re used to. We work almost exclusively with women, most of which are widows, whereas all but one of the QE trainees were men. The QE communities are also slightly less impoverished than those in Insingiro, so we’re hoping to have less of a struggle getting members to pay for vaccines and treatments for their animals. Considering none of us really knew what we were doing with the training and most of it was really rushed, it went shockingly well, and was actually a lot of fun! The trainees were very engaged the entire time, asking a lot of good questions and seemed to understand and accept the information we gave them. Each of us gave separate presentations and we had three of our paravets, Joseph, Ibrahim and Janet talk about their success with the goat project. We focused on how each group should run, the business model of the project, and lastly some basic husbandry rules for keeping goats alive and healthy. Since we are starting from scratch with these groups, we’re hoping we can learn from past mistakes in Insingiro and have these groups become very strong and successful with less pitfalls. Another bonus is that these groups have been pastoralists for generations so they have a longer history and deeper understanding of some basics of raising livestock.



Following all our presentations another paravet of ours, Margaret, made a huge feast of traditional food for everyone. I’m not the biggest fan of some of the traditional Ugandan food - no, I’m not fussy but this place isn’t known for having the greatest taste and variety in its cuisine. I decided that since it’s been a year since having posho I would give it another shot. Nope, it is still like eating styrofoam. Having it for two meals a day, almost every day last year on the LCP program completely ruined this maize paste dish that the Ugandans somehow love so much. Everything else is fine, but I just can’t force the posho down. After lunch we took the group to Joseph’s home to show them what a model goat pen should look like. To be honest, while Joseph does have a near model pen, he doesn’t zero graze like we tell people, but he’s a great paravet so he knows how to take care of his animals and they live just fine. However, we wanted the community people to think he followed all our instructions so we stalled the trainees by quizzing them for a few minutes to give Joseph time to collect the goats from grazing in the field and put fresh napier in the trough. We made it just in time and the group was very impressed by how great his pen looked! I have high hopes for these communities and if they can keep up the momentum and enthusiasm for the project they can take it really far.



That’s all for now!


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I'm not sure why, but this woman took a huge liking to meI'm not sure why, but this woman took a huge liking to me
I'm not sure why, but this woman took a huge liking to me

She learned my name at the meeting and we she us pull up to her house she started yelling "Sarah! Sarah!" and gave me hugs, high fives and even a fist bump.
Brian in his new school uniform!Brian in his new school uniform!
Brian in his new school uniform!

He didn't have one last time we saw him so Laura bought him one before she left. It fits great!

CLUBBING!CLUBBING!
CLUBBING!

Because sometimes we like to go out too
We terrified that poor kidWe terrified that poor kid
We terrified that poor kid

He's never seen white people before, so he freaked out when he saw us and hid his eyes.


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