Hello Dear Blog Readers,
Well as my mother reminded me, it’s my turn to let everyone know how things are going with our Global Vets project. Not that this is a hard chore, because we are enjoying Uganda very much and we met with our first parish on Sunday, which made us feel like we are part of something very special.
After arriving in Mbarara, we stayed for a few days at a guest house close to the office of the Foundation for Aids orphan children (FAOC). During our first morning we spent a lot of time reading project documents and conversing with the administrator and programs director, Vivian Namale. Vivian is a wonderful and helpful lady and we are very much looking forward to working with her as she will help us get in touch with the parishes and will often act as our translator. We did feel a bit overwhelmed with the task of turning our many goals for the summer into specific tasks and coming up with a schedule; however, after a day of much reading and asking questions, and a good night’s sleep, things quickly became clearer.
We currently have a schedule of the parish meetings we hope to attend in June where we will try to get an understanding of their economic and social needs. While in the community we will also visit the homes of many potential beneficiaries to decide who is ready to receive goats or pigs, and give support to those who still have a bit more work to do. We had our first Parish meeting on Monday with Kyenyangi (“Chen-yan-gee”), a group which has been very successful in previous years. The women were very welcoming of us, and we were able to talk about many goat health and production problems. Most of the women sat in the grass shucking eggplant to sell in the market while they related their struggles. I think the meeting gave us more of an understanding of the role we play in the project, and opened our eyes a bit more to the beneficiaries’ way of life.
Today we had a staff meeting which lasted all morning at the FAOC office, and we discussed our goals, as well as many other projects they run. We hope to help out with the “Day of the African Child” activities which will take place on June 16, as well as prepare some nutritional demonstrations later in the summer. We spent the rest of the day working on these tasks and looking into the record keeping process for the goat project.
Aside from the project, we have also started to get to know Mbarara a bit and have moved to our permanent place at the Mbarara University for Science and Technology (MUST) student accommodations. We are staying in a lovely apartment with a big living area and a kitchen and we have really enjoyed being able to “nest”. Shopping in the markets and riding around town on the “bodas” – motorcycles which many people here use for transportation- is starting to feel quite normal. On a personal note, as I am writing this blog, I am feeling very grateful for my little family here - Katie and Elad are having a rousing game of Backgammon and Ilse and Tara are teaching us how to count in ryankore, the local language.
Cheers from Uganda!!
Escaped piggies at one of our beneficiaries!
Meeting with the Kyenyangi group
Learning from a very knowledgeable FAOC worker called Joseph
One of many "Awkard Family Photos" I hope to share this summer