Every scientist needs to relax and my favourite way is by playing online games. Grand Theft Auto 5, Starcraft 2 and lots of others. I play not only video games but also gamble a little - poker or casino it depends on my mood. I usually play at All Slots Casino because they have the best slots games and I love slots. As for poker - well Pokerstars are the best but I also like 888Poker

Thursday, June 2, 2011


After the hours we’ve spent driving in the last few days, it seems that my brain is still trying to correct for the endless sloshing and bouncing that the Ugandan highway system is. (This is amplified when you ride in the crowded taxis, which seat 13 at minimum.) Sam, Karla, and I have just returned to our lodgings at Backpackers in Kampala. Though having a shower and hot coffee nearby is quite a treat, it’s psychologically tough to be back in the dusty and burned garbage atmosphere. I had be nearly accustomed to the city before our mini holiday to Masaka Town to check out Suubi Centre. I’ve often backed the driftless region of Wisconsin as the most beautiful countryside about, but seeing some of the valleys and especially the towns in that area may have made me a convert. Maybe the neatest part was finally seeing where my favorite bean, beverage, sustaining elixir comes from. (Family especially should know I mean coffee). It’s a very profitable crop in Uganda and it was great to see first hand the people who cultivate the plants, how they dry them, and what it does, or doesn’t bring them.

Suubi is, by all counts, what every development worker does or should aspire to. They’ve been around for 5 years now in the small village of Lubanda, near Masaka. Australian, Helen Brown, who some how manages to be equally charismatic amongst Ugandans and Mzungu’s, partnered with a brilliant native of the village, David. While David has worked with the community to run projects year-round, Helen and her organization, HUG (hug.org.au), have raised substantial funds in Australia for the projects at Suubi. They’ve established a community center, training hall, demonstration garden, housing for volunteers, a kitchen and are just finishing a full service medical clinic. Most integral to their success has been the long-term goal of HUG phasing out their support leaving a sustainable organization to provide services, training, and much more to thousands. Every project is wholly run by David or another Suubi employee, ensuring that every step Suubi takes brings skills, money, experience, or community back into Lubanda. It was humbling and inspiring to visit, with our work in mind. We now have a much better idea of what it would take to do for Lingira what we wish to do.

As we three Mzungu’s got further and further from the city, the eyes that watched us only showed more and more awe. By the time that we visited the garden that Suubi set up at Bright Light Primary, kids were just walking out of their classrooms during class to wander around our posse. Things sort of escalated and Sam and I started playing impromptu football (more so just trudging through the foot high grass without the ball.) The pinnacle of this moment was both of us slipping on some very slick mud, meeting the laughter of the 150 kids as we returned to our feet. It’s charming to feel so special amidst their attention, but then I remember that we’re really anything but special people. Though, it’s also reassuring when I/we get a chance to make friends and really get to know Ugandans that we meet. (Shout out to you David and Ishmael.)

I’d left my journal in a car a couple of days ago and actually just got back. It has a bunch of notes about things associated with the garden project. It’s good to have those back as we’ve been doing more planning and theorizing about our stay there. I had worried at different points that the work we would actually do with the garden would not be extensive enough, but when the footnote about the monkeys, which can eat and climb anything and are fearless, my worries were over. The only way to definitively stop their assaults would be to also fence over the top forming essentially a batting cage. We aren’t doing that. It’s likely going to be Acacia branches, very spiky, to act as a sort of barbed wire. We’ll try to use everything we learned at the Suubi demonstration garden after accomplishing the fence.

We move closer to that, starting tomorrow. Provided the road doesn’t fall through with the crowds celebrating Martyr’s Day, we will be going to Jinja in the morning and the island the following morning. Exciting stuff all around. Missing home too much. Adjusting well enough.


Note: I can't post a single photo because of the internet. Apologies.

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