Monday, September 3, 2007

we're here (here meaning rural uganda - our home for the next 3 months!)

Yay! Just got in to Mbarara, Uganda about 3hrs ago... the primary market town/business center for Mbarara district, which includes Ruhiira village, the place we'll be for the next 3 months. It's very cute, a one-street town (think of Osage City - or your favorite small town with about 5-10,000 people - except with everyone speaking Runyankole) and the electricity was off all over town when our bus got here, just after sunset. It had been off all day, and apparently it's a pretty regular occurance (they call it 'load shedding' here). All the restaurants and shops (that weren't using generators) had candles on the tables, and people were going about their regular business.

After we checked in to our hotel ($7 for a double room w/ bathroom, mosquito net, a tub, AND hot water... the nicest room we've been in so far!) we took a walk, and looked for a restaurant - and found a cute one on the first roundabout as you enter town. It had wood paneling walls, and old man behind a rickety counter at the door, a few women talking to each other in the back, and wooden benches and chairs - kind of reminded me of a Nemaha County, KS bar (except again with the broken Runyankole/English being spoken)... we and our waitress had a little trouble understanding each other, but we emerged with some fresh orange/passionfruit juice and huge plates of rice, beans, and matoke (mashed plantains). The perfect dinner for sure (ask Megan about the juice in East Africa). Tomorrow we're going to go by the UNDP/MVP office, and hopefully reconnect with David, the village coordinator. We hope to be in Ruhiira itself by the end of the week.

I feel (and I know Megan shares my sentiments) that it's so hard to put in a few words on a blog post everything we have seen and felt and experienced over the last two weeks - and we can't wait to get back home and tell you all the stories in person we've already built up... but blog posts should be more frequently and lengthy now that we have a real home base.

Stick with us, there's lots more fun to come!

Meanwhile, here are some of the best pictures from our recent few days of safari.

681-the view from our campsite lodge, just outside the gate of Arusha National Park in Tanzania. (8/26/07)

707-our first animal sighting - she really surprised us both - just 2 min inside the gate!

713-the 'mini serengeti' - here there were giraffes, zebras, and cape buffalo

786-a black and white colobus monkey - they make a lot of noise jumping through the trees!

813-the road through the park - we had a 4x4 landrover!

868-giraffes... and mt. kilimanjaro (as it finally emerged from the clouds it had been hiding under all day)

890-a flock of flamingos, taking off... so lucky to see them

894-crested cranes, uganda's national symbol (seen here in tanzania)

918-our walking safari (see the buffalo and warthogs right behind us?!?)

941-meg and eric and mt. kilimanjaro

991-meg riding a banana truck up to see Mulala village - home of a sustainable women's group, near Arusha NP

1037-meg with two of the women from the village - and some of the cheese they make

9-a girl at the primary school - the money from the women's group (selling the cheese) helped to build additional classrooms

185-masai mara national park, in kenya (8/30/07)

264-the fiercest lion of the day

291-some of the endless herds of wildebeast... they literally stretched over the horizon...

319-a very, very scared, but very, very cute baby cheetah

380-the closest we got to some hippos

424-a warthog - the most fun to watch!

441-an ostrich... their feathers are huge!

444-a momma and a baby elephant... the babies could barely use their trunks... very cute

463-meg with the elephants

516-some gazelles... i think we counted 10 different types of antelope, including these

554-meg doing a traditional masaai dance

605-sunrise - and on our way to uganda


Rachel said...

Wow!!! Those photos are amazing. Looks as if you two are having a great experience so far. Can't wait to hear more of your journey.

Anonymous said...

Those pictures were indeed amazing! Thanks for keeping us all updated! Love you guys!
Michelle M.

Jennifer said...

Incredible!! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful pictures and stories! Can't wait to see and hear more. We love you!
Jenn & Patrick

Les said...

I am so glad you guys have been safe and enjoyed everything so far! The pictures look amazing, wish I could experience with you.
I am still waiting patiently for my 1st weather report!

Love you guys!


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