Sunday, May 04, 2008

Pride of Tree Climbing Lions in Ishasha Wilderness

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Saddleback Crane and Cormorants on Kazinga Channel

Mom and Baby in Queen Elizabeth Park

Female Chimpanzee in Kibale Forest

African Fish Eagle

Be Aware of Falling Mangoes

Email 9

Email 9
Kampala, Uganda
May 4, 2008

Dear Friends and Family.

So, once again we are learning that all good things must come to an end, but as Tevye might say, “On the other hand, there is a silver lining in every cloud”, and the silver lining is of course that we will be leaving in just a week to return to many of you.

For Peter, he is already beginning to exhibit separation anxiety, and does not look forward to saying goodbye to so many good friends we have made here. Although Hinda acts more stoically, the same is true for her, whether she admits it or not.

OK, here is the wrap up:

As for work, before we left for a very nice week on safari, we worked very hard, and when we return to work tomorrow, Peter will be doing 2 workshop trainings a day through Saturday, and Hinda will help with a couple of them, but she will be pretty busy with her tying up her own loose ends. We have worked very hard here, but we really have accomplished a lot, and we already see many results, both with some of the individuals we have worked with and the organization itself. While we know that not everything we did will be cast in stone, quite a lot of it will. We really believe in teaching someone how to fish and not give them a fish every day forever, and while it can be slow and frustrating, it does work and it is very gratifying and those who learn how to fish are left with all of their dignity because they are not getting a handout.

In sum we have helped develop and taught how to do job descriptions, a number of organizational policies, computer training, internet system upgrade, medical department review and recommendations, slide show and video training and production, fundraising mentoring, and lot and lots of problem solving as well as participating in most of the management meetings that have been held during the past 3 ½ months that we have been here. We are proud and satisfied, and without a doubt this has been our best volunteer experience, and at least on a par with a previously very productive one – interestingly enough, right here in Kampala four years ago.

Having said all of this however, we feel that even though we have given much, we have received much more in return from the people we work with and the culture we are immersed in. We old dogs are still learning!

For the past 6 days we have been on a safari that took us to Western Uganda near the Congo border. We spent two nights in Ishasha were there are a number of tree climbing lions, and we have a photo here to show you. We think there is only one other place where this culturally learned behavior exists. At Ishasha we stayed in a very remote wilderness tented camp on a river with baboons, monkeys, and hippos making lots of noise all night long.

The next two nights were at Queen Elizabeth Park where we saw many elephants and about a 9 foot long rock python, and lots of antelope, Cape Buffalo, and stayed in a very nice lodge.

The next night we stayed in a 100 year old tea plantation “banda” (traditional African house) where we trekked for chimpanzees and finally found them. Much bigger than we thought, and just finding them with our guide “Silver” was a real learning experience. It was quite dark in the forest, but we got a good photo which we are displaying here.

Finally, the last night we stayed at Semliki national park right on the Congo border and saw lots of Uganda Kob and learned a lot about their mating behavior. On the way back to the lodge we were able to photograph a spitting cobra which we lit up with a spotlight. We were able to observe Black and White Colobus monkeys including an all white baby.

Peter is called “Papa” by his new daughter Atyero – a woman we work with who has a 1 ½ year old son, so now we are grandparents again, and also have a daughter for the first time. It is a very nice custom to be adopted into a clan, (Lugave/porcupine for Peter, mushroom for Hinda), a tribe, (Muganda) and be named Katende and Nabuusa.

Anyway, time to end and go back to work tomorrow, and before we know it we will be home. We have just learned that there will be a small get together for us next Thursday and we are looking forward to saying goodbye to our new and dear friends here in Kampala.

Love and hugs,

Katende ne Nabuusa, a woman of substance