I’m still in Kampala. I am learning there are always obstacles and delays in Africa. The first were the riots within downtown Kampala. I guess choosing centrally located accommodation is not always wise. Friday was especially difficult. I was about to head to another government office for my permits when crowds formed outside my hotel. People were building road blocks with rocks and miscellaneous items. The police and army both came in tanks. People were throwing anything they could at the police, food and rubbish, causing angered authorities to take fire. Six hours later after constant firing, fires, yelling, all types of authority vehicles moving about, tear gas seeping into our hotel, hundreds injured, 5 killed, and impeccable live coverage of the royal wedding I was picked up by my NGO with happy smiles. Twitter of all sources had enlightened me about the political situation in the country of Uganda with immediate news and useful links. The roads had opened up and I was brought to a new hotel out of the center of the city. I was saddened by the situation in Kampala and was anxious to get out of the city. I had to wait for offices to open back up on Monday and hoped to leave on Tuesday.
It is now Thursday night May 6th and I have been here 10 days. I only accounted for 3 days and it doesn’t look like I will be leaving until Saturday or Sunday. The president’s office must give me final clearance. Each governmental office has “misplaced” my documents, original mailed hard copies and scanned emailed copies. I of course brought more but this doesn’t necessarily move things along and I still hear “I do not have the authority” or “tomorrow tomorrow.” I am frustrated and would like to get to work. Time is wasting. Things move slow. Africa is not agreeing with my Manhattan geared mind. But I am in their country; I am a visitor that must adapt. I need to bring it down a notch, and then some more, and some more. My brother told me that travel in Africa is hard work and I met an Aussie family yesterday that told me traveling in Africa is a full-time job. What is it to work here? I’ve always known I lack patience; I am getting a crash course.
However, today I met Dr. Gladys, the CEO at my NGO Conservation Through Public Health. I am very positive about things and the most excited I have been to start this project . She is straight to the point which is refreshing, enthusiastic, and practical about all parts of my research plans. She was especially helpful and hopeful of the additional saliva swabbing components of my study, which I am thrilled about. If we can make this happen which is ultimately up to experienced trackers and rangers then I will have an even more interesting project. I feel incredibly motivated again after speaking with Dr. Gladys. I feel privileged and thankful to work with such an amazing person and organization so aligned with my interests. As long as I do not let my impatience get to me this will be an amazing few months. I think I can do it, these difficulties are counteracted by the notorious good spirit and smiles of Ugandans as well as my gratefulness for the opportunities I have in my life. I am a lucky person to be doing the things I am doing. Plus I got my taste of wildlife and animals at the hostel I am at now, which consists of lovely vervet monkeys, pigs, goats, cats, and dogs. Animals and nature will keep me calm and happy.