Hi! Welcome to our site! We decided to call this blog "Yum Chapatis," because we look forward to eating lots of yummy, doughy, chapatis this year :) For now, here's a yummy recipe: click here. Throughout the year we'll try to post photos and updates to yumchapatis.com. Send some love our way!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Culture shock and my first old world monkeys!

January 28, 2010

OK, so I've been in Uganda for nearly four weeks now. I arrived at camp three weeks ago tomorrow.  I'm finely settling in and getting somewhat used to the cultural differences.  Ironically, I'm having a harder time adjusting here than I ever have in Latin America.  I'd say either I slowly worked my way into Latin culture through series of shorter visits (meaning things don't seem as different to me there from my own culture), or things really are a lot different here halfway (well, maybe 1/3 of the way) around the globe.  I'm going with the latter.  I was going to expand on this and give examples of the differences, but in writing them I realized that I need more time, so things are in the correct context and not assumed.  I can hardly claim to know even a fraction of the culture here.  I like it though, so am happy to partake in many more weeks. :)

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of meetings and more meetings and learning, interspersed with reading and journal writing on some days.  Elizabeth Ross, the director of the NGO I'm volunteering with (Kibale Forest Schools and Student Support Project, or KFSSSP) was here for two weeks and had many meetings and things to do.  The NGO is known as the Kasiisi Project in the States.  I was excited to find out last week that one of my primary goals for the volunteership will be organizing and then showing four short kids films in the local schools on conservation topics: water resource management, deforestation, waste management, and overgrazing.  I'll post some pics later on as things get going in the schools.

Now for some fun, here are three pictures of the four common monkeys (red-tailed monkey, black-and-white colobus, red colobus (endangered), and not pictured are olive baboons) to be seen around camp.  I don't think Julie's posted photos of these yet, but perhaps.  I know she's posted pics of baboons who ate her food.  They've yet to get at our food since I arrived.  I hope to get some good pics of birds up here, I just need to go bird watching soon!

  Black-and-White Colobus

Black-and-White Colobus

Red Colobus

Red-tailed Monkey

Boda boda

January 6, 2010

I wanted to quickly share a few pictures of the local transportation. Julie has already mentioned it, but these are boda bodas, or little motorbikes.  Rarely, Julie and I will take one for a few blocks.  The bike isnt in the picture here, but you can at least see the two of us and our mysterious helmeted driver.  You can see the bike in the picture Julie took of me.  These were taken in Jinja, which is on Lake Victoria at the source of the Nile.  We stayed here for a couple of days after our rafting experience and camping.

Rafting the River Nile

January 3-5, 2010

Julie and I had an awesome experience rafting on the Nile River on Sunday! Now, this was my first rafting experience, which was a bit intimidating.  I make a point of not trying out dangerous things (even somewhat dangerous things) in developing countries.  I was accepting of this venture, but would in no way join the bungee jumping seen from the river banks (even if it was over the water!).

To say the least, the rafting was incredible!  Our Ugandan guide, Henry, was very confident and clearly well-versed in water dynamics and safety, which comforted me.  We had two kayakers to pick us from the water when we flipped, which was pretty much guaranteed.  We were heading 30km (19 miles) that day through class 3 to 5 rapids with some flowing river and some flatwater lakes in between.  The first few were class 3, which warmed us all up to the 5s coming up.  I think we may have made it through the first class 5 upright, but not the rest!  Now, I should mention that they say these are special class 5 rapids because they won't suck you in and cycle you through, or hold you under water more than a few seconds.  They were certainly HUGE waves, so I buy that they're class 5, and I was spit out every time I went under, as was everyone else, so I believe it.  On the last rapid just before the take out, we piled in 4 more and ran it with 8 plus the guide.  The guide and I got knocked out!  While I was under water, patiently waiting to surface (and Julie was asking where I was), Julie said  I kayaker was in the raft with his kayak in a flash, steering them for the take out point.  Well done, Explorers (our guide company)!

Sadly, we don't have pictures, as they told us to take off all jewelry, sandals, and anything that might be ripped from you.  I've attached two photos from up on a high bluff were we camped in a bungalow for the following two nights while relaxing and reading.  We passed this point on our rafting trip about 1/3 of the way.  Also, you'll notice the picture of Julie and me enjoying chapatis!  This was my first chapati, called a rolex (from rolled eggs). :)

To quickly report, we saw no crocodiles.  Whew!  There were lots of birds: Great Cormorants, Ibises, Pied Kingfishers, African Fish Eagles, African Darter (aka snake bird, called a darter b/c it literally darts fish with its beak!), egrets, a Black-crowned Night Heron, and a Palm-nut Vulture. OK, more to come later!

New Year's in Uganda

January 1, 2010

What a way to start the New Year!  I arrived in Uganda last night to reunite with Julie after 11 long weeks apart. :)  I landed around 10PM local time (GMT +3) and made it through customs by 11PM.  We spent a quiet evening in, drinking gin and tonics and catching up.  Julie was super sweet and had bought me a phone and a french press, which are both super exciting!

My flights were the longest I've ever taken, yes, never more than 5 hours have I flown, but then, that's a feat too, considering I don't have wings.  I clearly remember seeing Nova Scotia (and thinking how cold and miserable it would be if our plane crashed and I managed to survive, just to freeze to death).  Yes, I think about death a lot when I'm flying.  It scares me more than most things.  On my flight from London to Entebbe, I also saw the sunset over the Sahara, which was beautiful and crazy to see that much sand in one place!  Luckily, all went smoothly and I'm here now. :)  Last thing for now, my sleep schedule has never undergone more than 3 hours change. I was completely awake at 5AM this morning!  And now I want to go to sleep at 3PM, haha!!  OK, not many pics yet, but here is one of Julie relaxing, which are our plans for this first week of January.  More pictures to come!