Tuesday June 28, 2011
Knowing that by this time our research would almost done, we planned for a respite at Murchison National Park in Uganda. I don’t think I told you that there are now 7 of us doing work in Masindi. Dr. Godlove Fonjweng, the Director of Global Education at Wilkes joined Joe and me for our initial trip to Masindi and has been helping do the village interviews for my project. Four others joined us to conduct their own project regarding the impact of safe water on the community- another faculty member and a recent alumni from Wilkes along with a faculty members from two other colleges in the Wilkes-Barre, PA area. So all 7 of us left Masindi this morning to travel about 2 hours north to the park and now we just got back from our first Game Drive. Wow, it was totally fantastic! The landscape was just beautiful with numerous shades of green that transitioned from woodland savannah to grassland savannah and back again. The land was covered with long grasses, a variety of bushes along with Acacia trees and Palm trees. The latter is not indigenous to this area but we were told that the Palm tree seeds were brought to Murchison by migrating elephant herds from the Sudan via their feces many years ago. Now the trees are all over and from a distance the scene reminded me of the picture of the Truffula Trees in the book by Dr. Seuss, The Lorax. We actually started seeing animals on our way in into the park; as we drove along we would see baboons sitting all over the road ahead. Our driver slowed down and so we could try to catch them in a picture. Once the Game Drive started, though, the animals became more prominent. We saw all kinds of “antelope-related” creatures, warthogs, buffalo, giraffe and elephants. It was so amazing! Our van had a roof that popped up so we could stand up and take picture unencumbered by windows. I will attach some below. I hope to be able to figure out exactly what the animals are called tomorrow. We are taking a boat ride down the Nile River in the morning and then plan to hike up to the falls and then another Game Drive in the afternoon. Oh, I forgot to tell you that we drove to the top of Murchison Falls even before we got to our hotel. It was a beautiful site. The pictures will look a little “foggy” because the spray from the water was so strong. I have been trying to load pics for a little while now but the connection is so slow. I will post one so you can share some of my excitement but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for more.