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Reisverslag Agandi Holland!!
19 oktober 2016
A couple of weeks ago I experienced our first total blackout. During the whole weekend there was no electricity and no service for your phone. A blackout is very different here than back home. Back home there are street lights and it stay light until late in the evening. Here at 7 everything is pitch black, so we decided to go out and eat, since cooking with lanterns was not ideal.
Since the end the September Douglas and I have both an student from the local university who is working together with us on our project. My intern is called Faith, she is a 23 year old girl who will graduate on the end of January in community development. It is not really related to the Artificial Insemination project I am working on, but during the interview she was prepared to learn. She is very kind and sweet, we share a lot of the same interests and over the weeks we became good friends. During work we have a lot of fun together and we are planning a shopping and spa weekend next weekend.
During the weeks we visited a couple of farmers, which was very nice and fun. The farms are very different than back home, every cow is still milked by hand. Even some farmers who have more than 60 cows, still milk by hand twice a day. The farmers here have a lot of acres of land, the cows have to walk very long distances for water, so that is also one of the reason they produce so little milk here. There are still a ton of problems with the milk production here, but it is hard to change the mind-set of the farmers here. They are very stubborn and tend to stick to their own beliefs and traditions when farming cows.
My project here finally is off to a good start, tomorrow I leave for Entebbe to visit a Liquid Nitrogen Power Plant. There are a lot of problems here with the supply and transport of Liquid Nitrogen. There is still a lot of corruption here, if for example I make a deal with one of the suppliers of Liquid Nitrogen and I pay them when they bring it to me, if someone else approaches them and offer them direct money, they will sell the Liquid Nitrogen to them and not to me.
During my time that I have been here, we have developed a new AI model for the AI technicians and the farmers. This model gives more services and advice with a fixed price. The new model is now in full motion and a lot of things need to be arranged for the 1st of November. We have had a couple of large meetings about the new model and a lot of discussions with the farmers an AI technicians. Eventually they all agreed and next week they will sign a code of conduct in order to prevent the corruption.
Next to all the work, we also had some good fun. Last week there was a big event at the Lake View Hotel here. It was the whole day and the TIDE project presented everything they are working with and how the projects are going. It was a big happening in the districts here. Even the Dutch ambassador showed up during the cocktail party at the end of the day.
We also had the amazing opportunity to go to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a whole weekend. William, one of our colleagues has a guesthouse within the park so he offered that we could stay with him and he would arrange the weekend for us. We left on Friday afternoon, it didn’t go smoothly, since the driver did not arrange a jeep but just a normal station car. We tried to call around and arrange for a jeep, but it was taking too much time. You can only enter the park up until 7 in the evening, and since the guesthouse is in the middle of the park, we had to be there before 7. Eventually we left around 3 o’clock and arrived at the guesthouse at a quarter for 7. The guesthouse was nice and the manager who was working there was very friendly. However, the guesthouse was very basic, it was not bad but there was no luxury. We had a good bed and a toilet, but the shower did not work nor did the light. I only had to sleep there for 2 nights and it was for free, so I didn’t complain and it was still kind of fun. The guesthouse had a large watch point on the back, so we could look directly into the park. The national park here is not fenced, the people who live in the communities within the park just live together with the wild animal that roam around. Even when we drove around, there were still farmers who just let their cows graze on the same field and bushes where also hippo’s and elephants walk around. It was fun to see.
On Saturday we first went to Lake Katwe, one of the largest salt water lakes that is still used for salt production. Our tour guide Nicholas showed us around and explained everything. The people at the salt lake have small pens, in which they collect water from the lake. Once the water starts forming salt, the women enter the pens and collect the salt from the bottom. Most of the salt was for animal consumption, but another part was mostly for human consumption. It was a beautiful place, there was no wind and the lake looked like a mirror. I will add some pictures down below.
After we drove away from Lake Katwe, we moved to another lake which was the home of thousands of flamingo’s. this was the only place in all of Africa the flamingo’s still come during this season, so we were not allowed to approach them very close, since they are easily scared. After the lake we drove around in the park through the different route you can take. We quickly saw a large herd of elephants alongside the road, so we stopped the car to make some pictures. However, the leading elephant came running at us very angry, so even the tour guide panicked and told the drive to drive away very fast. Later on we saw that within the herd there was a little elephant, who was probably only a few days old and the leader protected that elephant from us. So it was an exciting start of our safari tour. As we drove around we saw a lot more elephants, warthogs and even some hippo’s.
After we had lunch at our guesthouse we went back into the park. This time we made a boot tour on Lake George and Lake Andrew. Along the shore we saw a bunch of animals. Most of them were hippo’s and buffalo’s. We even spotted some crocodiles and very few elephants who were hiding up in the hills. Also, if you love birds this is the place for you. We have seen so many different bird, in all the colours you can imagine. Is was a very nice view to see all those birds together with the buffalo’s, hippo’s and crocodiles. The boat tour took about 2 hours. After the boat tour we went back to the guesthouse for dinner. Our dinner was mostly fish, which was caught in the lake nearby and was bought directly from the fisherman, so it was very fresh. Well, it also tasted very good and it was nicely prepared what does not happen often. In the evening we were having a drink at the watch point, when all of a sudden a couple of hippo’s came walking by and grazing on the field. That was really awesome, since we were so close.
The next morning we woke up very early to go to another part of the park. It was the Kishenga part, which is famous for the tree-climbing lions. You only get a chance to see them very early in the morning or late in the evening. However, we did not have the luck to spot them. We drove around the whole park, but even other guides could not find the lions. We did saw some hyena’s who were eating a buffalo. We decided to keep driving around in this area, since there were also a lot of other animals. We spotted a lot of impala’s, bushbucks, warthogs and birds. We drove around up until the end of the morning, since the permit you have to buy for the park is only valid for 24-hours. After our permit was expired, we ate something at the guesthouse and then left for Mbarara. The drive took about 3 to 4 hours and we arrived in the afternoon. It was a great adventure and during the holiday here around December we will go back there so see the chimpanzees and have another shot at spotting the lions and leopards.
Another small project that I am working on in my free-time is the design of a new doghouse for the dogs here. At our home, we have 2 guard dogs. Those dogs are the size of small Labradors and are kept in a doghouse that is 1m by 1m and they have no lights coming in nor do they have the opportunity to look outside. Both of them are inside there during the whole day, they only are allowed to go out at 10 in the evening until 6 in the morning. It is really sad to see, but the people here find it normal. Most of the people here are either afraid of dogs or just see them as object that you can throw away when you are done with it. Not all people are like this, but most of them are. So I am working on a new design for those dogs and hopefully within a few weeks I find a decent carpenter to make the dog house for me. I find it very hard to deal with the way they treat most animals here. They do not really know the concept of having a pet, they just have guard dogs and that’s it. Luckily there is a lot of food available, so most of the stray dogs do not look very skinny, however they still are swarming with ticks and mites. That is the only downside so far.
Apart from that it is a wonderful country to be. The people are very friendly and are interested in what you are doing here. Also the climate is very nice, it is around 26 degrees every day and occasionally it rains, so sometimes it can get very cold in the evenings. Although very cold here is 15/17 degrees, which I also find cold here. I feel very at home here, I even got a Ankole name. So the locals call me Kobwengye Alissa. Kobwengye means strong-minded/brave, it is a honour to receive a local name from the local people here so I was very excited.
Wow, this story is even longer that the previous one hahaha! I will return back to my work and hope you guys enjoy reading my story and looking at the new pictures. I will try to update more often, but it can be challenging.
Foto's bij verslag (23)
19 oktober 2016 11:19 | Door: Eric de Vos
Wat prachtig om te lezen hoe je het leven en studeren in Oeganda ervaart.
We vinden het erg fijn dat het tot nu toe allemaal zo voorspoedig verloopt.
Hopelijk lukt het om je project in de tijd die ervoor staat. Wat een prachtige foto's van de safari, indrukwekkend! Geniet ervan en succes! Kus Pa