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Not forgetting why I’m really here …

Aug 7 • 2457 views • 5 Comments on Not forgetting why I’m really here … Africa, anti-poaching, Conservation, East Africa, Kampala, Queen Elizabeth National Park, safari, Travel, Uganda, Uganda Conservation Foundation, Volunteering, wildlife

There’s no point in pretending: I’m really behind with work and I’m not going to get it all done in the next hour it takes for Mike (UCF’s Founder) to drive from the airport.

Kati, time for a bit of blogging …

Kati is the Luganda word for so ….well .. then … etc… one of this week’s new words. Luganda is bloody difficult I don’t mind telling you. All the words are long and most of them start with K! It’s a Bantu language and so totally different from any European languages I’ve tried. Where as we would use five words to say ‘what do they call you?’ Luganda bungs the whole lot together: bakuyika?

Having an hour of tuition a week and, tho it’s hard, I have never had such a fantastic reaction when I open my mouth to say a few words: “but you’re so fluent!” people exclaim. Fact is few mzungu bother even learning the greetings (everyone speaks at least some English) and my phrases are very short! Not sure how far I’ll continue with Luganda (till VSO funding runs out probably!) but it’s a great insight.

For example, we asked how you say ‘bon appetit’ – you don’t. There is no equivalent phrase. You may enjoy your food but you just eat as much as you can! When you offer someone a biscuit, you’ll be lucky if you see the packet again – and this goes for professional people (i.e. those with money) as much as kids or wildlife rangers in the bush. I made the mistake of offering a ranger the biscuits and noticed the big bulge in his jacket pocket as he jumped out of the car! (They’re on ridiculously low wages and are based in the middle of nowhere so you can’t blame them). Even in town tho, it’s every man for himself when the food’s served and god do they pile the food on the plate.

Was offered the cutest puppy last week and still thinking about whether to have it (I have a home for it when I leave Uganda) but yesterday acquired – with VSO grant – new furniture so perhaps not a good combination! Have to do the maths and see if I can afford to feed a dog though.

Ivory poaching on the increase!
Off to the field to visit the projects from sunday. Unfortunately elephant dung is being collected without me! Had really been looking fwd to the 3 day trip with the rangers across Murchison Park but we’ll be going to Queen Elizabeth – a small 1500 km2 park -instead.

Very timely news on BBC yesterday saying the number of African elephants killed illegally for their ivory is rising steeply.

Please take the time to read it

or listen to it

We are working with Dr Sam Wasser (interviewed) and it’s a superb project – to map ivory via dung analysis so poaching locations and smuggling routes can be tackled. Not only is this a great project in itself but it’s great for our profile to be associated with it.

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5 Responses to Not forgetting why I’m really here …

  1. lizziema says:

    Very interesting blog Charlie. Over here we just over eat all the time without realising as we are so used to too much. Perhaps we should all spend a year in Africa to adjust our eating habits and then the world might have enough food for all. Oh deep thoughts at 7.23am. Love to learn a few words of Luganda before we come out. Something we need to discuss soon as time passing so fast.

  2. Charlie says:

    Africans aren't all starving, it's a common misperception.
    Here most people can eat enough, even if there isn't variety.
    There is famine in the north though. And malnutrition in remote areas where they're not educated on nutrition.
    One thing I love about Kampala is they DON'T have a McDonald's though (at least not yet …)

  3. PA says:

    Enjoyed the lesson in Luganda – especially the people's reaction to your fluency! I can (I think) imagine how much it means to them. It must be very rewarding for you too, maybe better than a big salary!!??

    Sorry you were "dung out" of some of your anticipated fun with the great E4 (elephant excrement examination excitement) but hey they haven't stopped making it yet,have they?

    Kati (ooh!) darling, keep your spirits up and your nose down and all will be well.

  4. Charlie says:

    Speaking a few words of Luganda is very rewarding and such fun. The guys at the petrol pump teach me a new word every time I fill up. And Betty "my sister" who sells me my fruit and veg helps me too. So shopping is a lot more fun than in Tesco's!

  5. […] received a lovely text from my special VSO friend Isla that sums it all […]

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