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

Monday, June 27, 2011


So we’ve reached the apex of any and all hardships during the trip. We’re set to depart for the island one last time in two hours, bearing the necessary materials to christen “Lingira Growing Hope Student Garden”. After today, we have only Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday on the EDGE Project worksite. Friday morning we will leave for Jinja, in order to pamper ourselves with some rafting on the Nile, Saturday. Then Sunday morning we will move to Kampala briefly, then on to Entebbe International Airport, to Rome, to D.C., to Chicago, and finally Madison on the evening of the fourth.

It’s a great feeling, being able to witness the silhouette of the garden. We can say we completed our primary objective for the trip. We can credibly talk to people about our goals and expectations, as well as revel in the beginning of a hopefully long lasting project. We met again with Garden Robert and had a pleasant ride to his home and his first school garden. He is as excited as anyone to dig in to the project and make it happen. What remains is finding those on the island whom we can delegate to and expect reasonable progress. The space is currently riddled with stumps, a termite mound and rocks and until it has been cleared and tilled, agriculture expertise will be useless. So, we plan to name Teacher Zac/Zadoc, who has plenty of need to busied and many unused engineering skills to oversee this. He is basically the perfect fit for the job and we’ve loved having his help on the fence already. It seems like we have Madame Violet, the agriculture teacher, ready to break ground (J) on her end, and as always, Teacher Fred can’t wait to help. We have many reasons to expect that we will come back to a handsome vegetable gift basket next year. Well done to EDGE and all of her supporters!

On the boat over, yesterday, we made a list of 20 to 25 things we have to do this week. The highlights will be framing out visits to the island for our good friend, Rose, at WORI. That is both with the school and Lingira Camp. (She will certainly be among our most-missed people in two weeks time.) Throughout our last three days, we will be walking with our brains open to the idle resources that we can help people access, through research this year. For future agriculture projects, we’ve asked Julius to direct us to what he is unable to research himself, which will help keep the agriculture team busy. Sam and I will write the book on Lingira for those researching this year and our goal is to have a short list of directions and needs that we can narrow into eventual projects. We are planning dinner and fishing with our friend Emma from Koya camp. I had envisioned doing several overnights with people here, but the amount of time we committed to working on the fence made it near impossible to accommodate those visits. We have letters to write, crafts to pick up, and even some people we have yet to meet. In fact, every day will be largely filled with something.

It seems as though Sam (svmatthews.blogspot.com) is covering AGYA’s visit quite thoroughly, so you are welcome to expand my brief account there. But Abraham and the 8 kids he brought were the best guests we could have hoped for. Their premise is cultural exposure and enrichment, mostly through hip-hop related arts. They did very much of that, drawing both Sam and I into rehearsing with the groups and performing in Saturday’s showcase of dance, rapping, poetry, and graffiti. While walking about the island with them, we came across and awful fact. The Ugandan government quietly released data showing that 60% of adults in the islands, and 80% on Lingira are HIV positive. Oddly, as past travelers know well, the culture on the island is very, very prudent, despite the facts showing a lot of promiscuity. Abraham took the issue up and did an hour long AIDS and sexual education talk with the kids. When he first introduced that figure, kids laughed. No one talks about it and no one is in anyway sensitized about AIDS. The school, SHIM and the larger community were not very comfortable, but still compliant. So thanks them and to Ja’blesse [Abra] for that.
Side note: One of the guys from AGYA does design work. And there’s a fair possibility that we come home with the year’s t-shirts. If I were some who was planning on having one, and I am, I would be VERY excited for them.

It almost feels hard to be leaving now. Building a fence and working for six hours a day through the heat was stressful and weighty. But, now, work here has become very tolerable, if not enjoyable. We’ve made so many friends and it seems each person is shocked that we’re already leaving. We’ve been almost useless for actually talking and engaging with people. And just now are we able to be of good use to individuals. But we have contacts for all of the most important folk and really hope to maintain good contact year-round so that we can assist them as they need.

My next and finalish travel post could very well be from home. But I will make sure to draw some thorough conclusions and parting thoughts from this next week to share then.

Paul Star

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