Monday, July 18, 2011

Things are progressing right along here in Uganda. Our work in the office mainly consists of editing proposals, brochures, and various applications before they are sent off as well as browsing websites looking for potential donors with goals compatible to those of KWDT, and sending reports with information about these possibilities to our superiors, who then decide whether or not to pursue the application further. We are working with some teachers in Katosi C/U on the details of the budget for our piggery project. More goes into such an endeavor than I expected and the project will be more costly than our initial estimate (pigs require vaccination against diseases, eat quite a bit, and the cost of building a quality, sanitary pen is not insignificant), but we are working out the particulars now.

In other news, our weekends and past week’s travels have been fun. A few weekends ago we went on a safari in Murchison Falls National Park, the largest park in Uganda. The game drive yielded a number of giraffes, hippos, buffaloes, baboons, warthogs, elephants from a distance, and various antelopes. Later on the boat ride we saw some crocodiles on the shore, a lone elephant which we got quite close to, several varieties of large birds, and a nice view of the waterfall after which the park is named. The following morning’s hike around the falls resulted in some great views as well. Overall it was an excellent time. The following weekend Zach and I accompanied our host family to their Seventh Day Adventist Church, which was quite an experience. The main service was over four hours and was preceded by a smaller-group Bible Study. We headed into town after a pot-luck lunch, but Frank, Rehema, Denise, and Rachel stayed for more meetings and Children’s Church. It’s a marathon Saturday in the life of a devout Seventh Day Adventist in Uganda. Later that weekend was the US Embassy’s 4th of July party, a rather exciting event featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, and fireworks, among other things. The next weekend we returned to the beloved Backpacker’s Hostel in Jinja for a healthy dose of adventure in the form of white-water rafting down the Nile, which was an absolute blast. It differed slightly from the white-water rafting I am familiar with in that here the depth of the river results in far less dangerous rocks near the surface, meaning that there is no problem attacking the rapid head-on, flipping the raft, and swimming halfway down. In fact this is precisely what happened for at least three out of the eight major rapids on the day. I would describe it as considerably more fun than rafting with the absolute goal of staying inside the raft.

After Jinja, Zach and I headed out on our own adventure of sorts. Due to a flurry of conferences in Rome and Paris that our KWDT staff were attending, the office was going to be virtually empty last week and commuting to work would have been challenging for us since Rehema was in Rome. So, Zach and I made a quick stop at home to pack some things on Sunday, and then turned around and headed to the southwest region of Uganda, which received substantial praise from our trusty guide book and indeed lived up to expectations. After enjoying Lake Bunyonyi in the southwest corner of the country, we moved north towards Queen Elizabeth National Park, where we saw a number of elephants from close range and three spotted hyenas dragging along an antelope they had just killed. We then set up shop in a nice campsite just outside the grounds of the national park in Rwenzori Mountains and enjoyed spectacular views and some self-directed hiking, which I do not especially recommend for reasons Zach articulated on in his post below. Finally, we proceeded to Fort Portal, a very nice mid-sized town, and crashed there for a night before getting up and taking the all-day bus ride back to Kampala yesterday.

Only two weeks remain for us in Uganda, and I hope to make the most of them. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here thus far and expect to finish strong and help out in whatever way possible the next couple of weeks.

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