Uganda covers roughly the same area as Michigan, but traveling between cities and attractions is far more difficult here than at home. A quick trip to Lake Bunyonyi this weekend – about 140 km – ended up taking about 8 hours round trip, leaving only a few hours of daylight to actually enjoy the lake. Still, it was well worth the effort and the figurative and literal bumps in the road it took to get there.
Dug-out canoe ride
Lake Bunyonyi (meaning “place of many little birds”) is beautiful (just like everything else in this country). I’ll just throw down some pictures and leave the description at that.
We got to canoe the lake and I even took a swim. The place we stayed is on one of many islands on the lake and the resort is apparently a really popular stop for European backpackers making their way through East Africa. I heard so many languages this weekend! It is meant to be an eco-resort, so the menu items, though very American/European, were all made with local ingredients and were SO GOOD!
My food options for the past 7 weeks have been pretty limited, and I oscillate between loving and hating the rice, beans, and starchy side dishes that I eat every lunch and dinner. All the food is grown locally and goes straight from the farmer to the market, no processing needed. From the side of the road, you can find local specialties, like Irish potatoes in Kabale or jerry cans full of milk around Mbarara. Somewhere close to 85% of the population participates in agriculture and what is lacking in variety they make up for in abundance. And some foods – like the little banana pancakes we buy at the market or the chapati filled with eggs called Rollex – I could never get sick of.
Work has switched from the field to the office, and I’ve spent a lot of time in the past week writing summaries and a report of all of our findings this summer, so PHP can look at our recommendations going forward. It’s exciting to see how much we’ve been able to learn in 8 weeks, and even more exciting that we have some real programmatic frameworks in place to address both obstetric fistula and the lack of health transportation. The boda boda ambulance will hopefully be ordered soon to start helping women in labor get to the health center and we even made our own education flip-book about fistula! More than anything I could leave behind, I’ll be taking with me a better understanding of public health in this particular setting and a clearer idea of what kind of career I want to make for myself.