Stu the ranger’s visit to Uganda: Day One

Today saw the beginning of another ranger trip to Uganda led by Mr Stanley’s friend, Stu. He accompanied Mr Stanley on both his visits to Uganda in previous years. Stu will be visiting Kafuro on his trip and will dropping off all of the book that children from Liss Junior School so generously donated. Mr Stanley will be updating the blog on Stu’s behalf and we hope to arrange some direct contact while Stu is in Uganda. Now read on and enjoy…..

This adventure starts off with SSE volunteer conservation at QE country park. A few of their number weren’t ready for Steve Peach and his gift for talking endlessly about Uganda. Thus another set of willing lambs prepare for the big push.

They have been fantastic in securing donations and resources (in the process costing me untold hundreds in back pain correction) but more importantly they have the right frame of mind, quickly engaging in friendship with the teachers and rangers able to communicate across the thousands of miles.

With all things Ugandan there is a ‘programme’. It differs from a plan or schedule in one important respect, no African expects it to happen as it is set out. It took us a while on my first trip to realise you can only resist the natural rhythm so much. And thus the night before my flight, round 10pm, after coming last in the pub quiz, you find me embracing my inner African with all my packing still ahead of me. A huge pile of laptops, books, clothes, first aid, school supply, gifts, football kits and more and only two hold suitcases (23kg each) I loaded them up to the max and then set about filling my hand luggage and laptop case to capacity too and when were over limit then adding the coat with the largest pockets. Most of my clothes I wore instead of packing. There is always a way. I think I have approx. 75kg.

The direct BA flight takes 8 hours and terminal 5 and it’s staff were great even if their scales read my luggage as 25kg a bag forcing me to find homes for more of it on my person.

Flew over the alps, very clear and amazing and the Sahara desert. My neighbour, Tracy Adams, turned out to be be taking herself around the national parks. Very brave especially for an accountant but she had lived in Africa on an FSO placement. Somewhere over Africa the body clock tried to switch forwards (at this time of the year Uganda is 3 hours ahead) and I felt drained. Not helped by my TV – only able to show Gravity on loop or the moving map but with the picture quality you get when you tune to terrestial without an aerial.

Out of the airport and greeted by the heat first then a equally warm welcome from Ronnie, our guy at Rangeland safaris. He has been a teacher and a guide in his time and will be driving us to Queen. He has a boy, 10 yrs, I must find out if he supports QPR, like his father. Evidence suggests team support runs in families here.

The rich smell is the most evocative and immediate sense. Waking me up again as we drive along with the windows down at half midnight to my guest house. Tired, we plan a programme for today of breakfast at 8, Ronnie to try booking the chimp island boat ride and contact me at 9. Can’t will myself to sleep, so much noise, just have to let your senses adjust for a while until your body is ready to shut down. No need for sheets in this heat.

This morning woke up 7am Ugandan time with a heavy head. Barely managed to make breakfast at 8am. Pineapple, sausage, toast and Spanish omelette. It’s 11 am now, no Ronnie – I’m smiling and embracing the meaning of ‘programme’. Oh I’ve stolen some wifi and found out I’ve missed the boat. Into town for money and sim card then.

A last glimpse of rainy London before the heat of Uganda.

A last glimpse of rainy London before the heat of Uganda.

 

 

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