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Off to the field

Jun 30 • 3385 views • 11 Comments on Off to the field Africa, Diary of a Muzungu, East Africa, Kampala, Queen Elizabeth National Park, safari, Travel, Uganda, Uganda Conservation Foundation, Volunteering, wildlife

Tuesday night is market night and the drums are playing loud on the other side of the compound wall, just a few metres away. From here you can feel the city growing as we hear hammering and banging as the shanty town next to the railway line expands.
Simpson’s sitting at the PC in the office (spare bedroom #1!) learning how to type (www.typeonline.co.uk) He starts university soon so this is the best head start I can think to give him. IT skills here are very poor.

I love this guy so much, he is such an inspiration to me. Just think I could have a son his age (!) – his mum died when he was 7 – and we’re very good friends. He is totally respectful in everything he does, with so much grace and good humour. I could write a blog just about him every week!

Here Simpson is pictured last week with “An Insect” we found on its back and struggling outside the kitchen door one morning. He was happily examining it and I was too, daring myself to confront t and rationalise it. I’m not as obsessed by insects as I was! I used to have to immediately stop (panic) and see just how big they were. Now I can get on with what I’m doing first and then have a look. It’s knowing how big the insect is that creates the panic; if you’re not aware, you don’t panic. “It’s all in the mind.” That said, having had the house fumigated – and having Simpson – I don’t have to deal with roaches very often, so I’m very lucky.
On the work front, things have really picked up since my last blog: Enid is back on good form, people are returning our calls, the project work is picking up so Patrick’s motivated again and he and I are off to Queen Elizabeth National Park – Elephants! Hippos! Baboons! – tomorrow for three days. Hurray! Am really looking forward to engaging with the community more now I understand more about our projects. It’s only my second visit.

This week we will be:

Visiting Bukorwe Ridge Elephant Trench in Ishasha, which measures a whopping 10 km long x 2m wide x 2m deep, created to stop elephants crop raiding villages. UCF secured the funding to excavate the trenches and the community are supposed to maintain them, but they don’t really. They want money to do it and there simply isn’t any. We operate on a shoestring, their lives have been significantly improved by the trenches but commitment is very difficult. Kikarara is very rural and poor. It’s a subsistence culture. Their village has no vehicles, not even any motorbikes and the last part of our journey takes us down windy footpaths across field after field. It’s quite moving to visit somewhere so remote. The kids will go absolutely crazy when they see me, they never see mzungus.

Visiting UCF’s Waterways project on Lake George to decide where to locate our next ‘marine ranger station.’ UCF funds boats for UWA rangers to intercept poachers (mostly of hippo) and illegal fishermen. An added benefit to the community is that the boat has rescued people and boats in distress and even saved lives.

[PHOTO. My colleague Patrick with some of the kids at Kashaka on our last visit to Lake George.]

It’s an 8 hour trip before we get anywhere near the projects so the days are long and hot and we eat lots of bananas!
This visit will create lots of work of course and am already feeling swamped. It wouldn’t be so bad if my wrist (RSI / tennis elbow) wasn’t so painful every day. My physio – treating me for knee injury after Mt Elgon trip – has also given me exercises for my wrist / elbow, so a few days away from a keyboard are most welcome. I’m under physio’s orders not to run or dance either so could only tap my foot to Michael Jackson-fest this w/e!

As if all of this weren’t frustrating enough, blossoming ‘who knows what’ with Dutch hunk is put on hold!

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11 Responses to Off to the field

  1. lizziema says:

    Sound like like you are off for a hot adventure even if the Dutch hunk is going with you?! Sorry about RSI. Sis has it too. Even if you can't dance standing up you know how to do it sitting down…Barbados …remember?

  2. lizziema says:

    Sorry I meant Dutch hunk isn't going blah blah…. my typos are awful

  3. Colm Halley says:

    Hey Charlotte, blog reads great. When they said in skwid 'you'll find it hard to get things done' they were'nt kidding were they!
    Hope all is well in Kampala
    Colm

  4. sjwaller says:

    Hi Charlie

    Great read yet again. Sorry about aches and pains I can sympathise with you there! Keep well!

    love Sally

  5. Charlie says:

    Hey Colm tx for your comment.
    God life in East Africa can be frustrating can't it?! ..URGH!!
    Simpson of course gave me a lovely welcome, bless him.
    Hope to get to Mombasa sometime. You're always welcome to come and stay here. Kampala's great (er… mostly!)

  6. Charlie says:

    Hey Sally! Tx for the sympathy, bloody body, urgh.
    Feel revived after field trip and not planning on getting swine flu even tho we have our 1st case here now. VSO evacuation plan in place if necessary 🙂

  7. Charlie says:

    Ma, yes it was a hot adventure in the bush, FNAR FNAR, lack of male company notwithstanding! hee hee x x x

  8. lizziema says:

    Hi Cha
    Excuse ignorance but what is FNAR? Nice to talk on line today and speak for real on Wednesday. How was the hot date? Hot?

  9. Charlie says:

    Ma
    fnar fnar = wink wink, nudge nudge ….
    hot date was hmmm, not sure, still working that one out! No idea whether it's going anywhere but I'm enjoying the attention:)
    Dutch hunk and physio are different people, both tasked with giving me leg massages (SHAME!) Physio is Ugandan and rather GORJUSS too!

  10. lizziema says:

    Thanks for explanation of fnar. Sorry to hear about aches and suggest lots more massage!!!!The thing you sent has not arrived yet so will look forward to postie everyday. Lorra love xxxx

  11. […] and slept round an open fire every night). What a role model and what a perfect person to join our UCF team (I’m working on it!) Kevin works for UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority), UCFs partner in the […]

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