16 April 2016: A Blog Post by Jess
Today on this Easter Sunday, we have left Kampala and are on our way to Masindi. Just to recap our time in Kampala, we spent the majority of our time at Nakesero Hospital working with 4 pharmacists that are training to become clinical pharmacists in that hospital or any hospital that would be willing to work with them. Uganda is different in the sense that they underutilize their pharmacists. Many of the pharmacists in Uganda practice in community pharmacy, but it is very different from the US retail pharmacy because the pharmacists don’t actual have to show up to get a paycheck. If the pharmacists don’t work in the community setting they will work in industry, which the majority of the Ugandan pharmacists seek after graduation/internships. Thus, the pharmacists volunteering at Nakesero are community pharmacists and will still get a paycheck even though they’re not at the pharmacy. Kampala was very different then Mbarara. Mbarara is rural where Kampala is very urban. They each have their own positives and negatives and in Kampala they include positives such as everything is conveniently accessible and close in proximity and the shopping and food was AMAZING, which we actively participated in both way too much. On the other hand, the negatives include overpopulation which leads to high traffic no matter where you go, but that’s pretty much it.
On our way to Masindi we stopped at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. This was a very unique experience because unlike most safaris where you stay in a vehicle and observe the animals the Rhino sanctuary allows you to go on foot, track the rhinos, and watch them from afar. We found a group of them and we got about 20 yards away from them! We even got to see two little rhinos playing with each other. It was the most amazing experience to actually get to see the animals in their natural environment. We had to sign a release form and our tour guide, Edward, warned us if they start running towards you to hide behind a giant tree, but he said it’s very unlikely it will happen. He explained that rhinos are a peaceful animal. They have poor eyesight but they have excellent hearing and smell which allows them to be aware of our presence, but they won’t attack unless they feel threatened. After observing the rhinos for quite sometime we ate lunch, where I tried to order a traditional US Easter meal but that wasn’t an option, went to the gift shop, and then got back in the van to continue our journey to Masindi.
As we entered Masindi it reminded me very much of Mbarara. It is very rural, which is a relief after the hustle and bustle of the city. We are staying at the New Court View hotel which is so cute because the rooms resemble the traditional Ugandan homes. I look forward to spending my last week in Uganda here. To everyone reading the blog, “Happy Easter! From my Ugandan family to yours!