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Getting Medical Help In Rural Uganda – A Drama In Three Acts!

Gilles & Dr. Williams at Kagando Hospital on the Congolese border, North Uganda

Gilles & Dr. Williams at Kagando Hospital on the Congolese border, North Uganda

1) The night after the gorilla trek, Gilles woke up in terrible pain. His left eye was swollen and awfully red. As soon as it got light we asked one of the awakening drivers to take us to the village hospital in Buhoma. Our arrival caught the only person on duty, a sturdy nurse, by surprise. She left to get help.

We waited in the doctor’s office, a two by two meter room, with a few pieces of old wooden furniture. Lots of faded sheets of paper tucked to walls and doors gave instructions as what to do when bricked by needles or how to recognize Ebola. The only items that reminded us of a hospital were neatly wrapped syringes. On two small cupboards it said “Medication”. Those were locked with a padlock. The strangest thing was a filing cabinet with lots of faded forms meant to transfer patients to labs or an x-ray, etc… Where could those facilities possibly be? Continue Reading →

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Buhoma Highlights – Fiction & Reality

Large tea plantations, a few on flat terrains, but most sneaking up hills, are another common sight in Uganda. The different green of the leaves make them pleasant eye-catchers. West Uganda, Africa

Large tea plantations, a few on flat terrains, but most sneaking up hills, are another common sight in Uganda. The different green of the leaves make them pleasant eye-catchers. West Uganda, Africa

Our room at Bwindi View Camp desperately needed an overhaul. However, the staff was lovely and the food ok. The best place was the restaurant’s terrace, the perfect place to mingle. Either we were competing with Italians for the best photos of the many birds in the surrounding trees or were queuing for a plug in the jungle of mobiles, cameras or laptops near the only power outlet. Continue Reading →

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Meeting The Habinyanja Family

Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Beringei), Family Habinyanja, Makara, the Silver Back, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, West Uganda, Africa

Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Beringei), Family Habinyanja, Makara, the Silver Back, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, West Uganda, Africa

High above our heads they were, up in the trees, loudly ripping off the leaves and moving swiftly from one branch to another. This was a surprise to us: all the pictures we had seen showed relaxed gorillas sitting on the ground surrounded by juicy, leafy vegetation.

Pieces of wood came raining down on us. It was more an acoustic entertainment than a visual one, since we could barely see them. But they must have felt like pleasing us and moved on to a clearing where they settled in the high grass. Continue Reading →

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Bwindi Rainforest

Home Of Uganda’s Last Mountain Gorillas

Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Beringei), Family Habinyanja, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, West Uganda, Africa

Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Beringei), Family Habinyanja, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, West Uganda, Africa

Rain set in once we arrived in the small village of Buhoma, site of the National Park’s headquarters. This worried us endlessly: trekking through the forest is difficult enough, but in ankle-deep mud? Besides, Gorillas do not like rain and hide in the dense forest. Even if you find them, making decent photos would be simply impossible. In the grotty, horrible room of the Bwindi View Camp, we hoped for decent weather for the next morning. Continue Reading →

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On The Dark Side Of Life

Lake Bunyonyi - More than 20 islands dot this supposedly 2.000 meter deep lake

Lake Bunyonyi – More than 20 islands dot this supposedly 2.000 meter deep lake

Hell broke loose around evening on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi: thunder, lightening and torrential rain. Minutes later the electricity went down. The generator only served the restaurant. The rooms were pitch-dark. It got so cold you could see your own breath. So we crawled into bed with our headlamps only to discover a leak in the roof of our room. Feeling sorry for ourselves, we soon remembered the villagers in their canoes returning home from the local market. They were paddling across the lake exposed to this horrible weather. Continue Reading →

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Batwa Pygmies at Lake Bunyonyi

Traditionnal songs & dances, Batwa People, Lake Bunyonyi, West Uganda, Africa

Traditionnal songs & dances, Batwa People, Lake Bunyonyi, West Uganda, Africa

Our boat gracefully plowed the dark waters of Lake Bunyonyi. Not a ripple disfigured the smooth surface, allowing the carefully terraced green hills to be mirrored in the deep lake. Banana groves and tall eucalyptus trees dot the steep shores and most of the 29 islands. Each has its own legend, like Punishment Island where unmarried pregnant girls were left to starve as recently as 90 years ago. Continue Reading →

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Shakira Coming To Heidi’s Rescue

GrandEscapades-Uganda-104My safari from Rwanda to Uganda started promising. Leaving Ruhengeri / Rwanda like a Swiss clock, the “Matatu” whizzed me the 25 kilometers to the Ugandan border. A German biker traded his Ugandan shillings for my Euros. I crossed into Uganda on foot and hopped on a “Boda Boda” (motorbike taxi) to Kisaro. Easy enough! Continue Reading →

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Gilles – A Long Way To Cross The Equator

GrandEscapades-Uganda-101

Gilles – Crossing the Equator on the way from Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, Africa

After a straightforward flight Vienna – Istanbul – Entebbe, it was another eight hour drive from Kampala to Lake Bunyonyi where I was to meet up with Heidi. The only pseudo highlight during this long haul is crossing the Equator, where all good tourists have their photo taken at the very landmark. Not to be missed is the demonstration of how water whirls clockwise or anti-clockwise when rushing through an outlet, depending on which side the Equator you stand. What a difference a few meters can make to physics! And yes, for the weight conscious, supposedly you are 3% lighter when standing on the Equator… Continue Reading →

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