17th February 2014 - Back in Kampala for a few days, Linnet Griffith-Jones writes about life in Kaabong, five weeks into her internship with AWARE Uganda - Safe World Field Partner in Karamoja, north-east Uganda.
Kampala and Swimming Pools: a Break from the Reality of Kaabong
So I left Kaabong, headed back to the oasis of Kampala. Back to a world with transport and running water. It has been a welcome break from reality. I've been spoiling myself rotten, chilling out by the pool at the expat haven that is Kabira Club and other more affordable places, in part because it has been too hot to do much else.
Good news for Expectant Mothers in Kaabong
Apart from being taken out at night by my new friend, Violet, and swimming, I have also been getting some work done; in fact the pool is a good place to network on the weekends.
Mostly I've been planning, thinking and looking for grants.
The good news is that the hospital in Kaabong has reinstated the partnership with AWARE Uganda and the maternity waiting house in Kaabong has started up again. This means that at risk, expecting mothers now have somewhere safe to go within reach of medical facilities for when the time comes.
This has come as a huge relief to everyone at AWARE and I am really looking forward to seeing how it all works when I get back upcountry.
Jiggers Epidemic and the Ugandan Media
The other project I've been working on is getting the jiggers epidemic into the media. Having had an interview with a writer from the Sunday edition of New Vision (the state run newspaper), I am expanding my foray into journalism by writing an article for the Daily Monitor (the main opposition paper), which unfortunately requires me to remain somewhere where I have access to the internet.
After all I said about Kaabong being too terrifying, I am actually longing to get back - so the delay isn't ideal, but it would be pretty cool to see my name in print - and moreover to raise awareness of the jiggers issue - so I suppose I'll just have to wait it out!
The exact date of my next mission to Karamoja isn't clear yet, but I do know that I will be using public transport, which with Grace Loumo [founder of AWARE Uganda] being away, should be a bit of an adventure: last time I got the public bus here, they blasted a weird combination of Blondie, Carly Rae Jepsen and songs praising Jesus at deafening levels for the whole trip from Kotido to Lira!
Talking of public transport, I've now taken six trips on bodas [motor-bike taxis] and haven't died or crashed; finger's crossed that I haven't jinxed myself, but I seem to be getting the hang of it! Some progress even if personal rather than professional!
Linnet Griffith-Jones is a graduate in Politics from Lancaster University and has an MSc in International Politics from Trinity College, Dublin.
From January to July 2014, Linnet was interning with AWARE Uganda, based in Kaabong.