Post #3

Since I last wrote we have sadly lost one of our team members. Dr. Laura has returned to Canada. We thank her for all her hard work and guidance she gave in the first 3 weeks. She is very devoted to the project, having returned for the 3rd time. It is apparent how much the communities appreciate her as they express their sadness when we inform them she has left. Jerome, Scott and I have been continuing the work and progress is being made. We have been visiting our beneficiaries, searching for vaccines, and conducting paravet training.

We had the opportunity last Saturday to take part in the FAOC Day of the African Child celebration. The Day of the African Child is an international celebration to remember over 200 children who were killed during the South African apartheid when they stood up for their child rights. The day focuses on advocating child rights throughout Africa. This years theme was Children with Disabilities. The intention was to bring awareness to the high prevalence of disabilities in Uganda and the challenges these children face. The event included a parade, speeches, demonstrations, music, and games. It was a huge success and we were happy to be a part of the program.

This week we had our first paravet refresher training. Paravets are local men and women who we have trained in basic animal husbandry, nutrition and medicine. They have been trained over the past years by previous volunteers. We held a refresh training course to review important concepts and answer questions. The individuals are very keen to learn and show great initiative. They asked great questions and were engaged the whole day. We ended the session with case studies regarding typical situations they might face. We presented a case of a goat with ‘flu’ (pneumonia) and had the paravets ask us questions as if we were the owners. This helped to review history taking, common diseases, treatments and husbandry/nutrition recommendations. It was very interesting for me to see how they interpret the situations and their medical approach. This was my favorite part of the summer so far. I really enjoyed interacting and learning with the group.

We are now working to set up vaccination days with all our parishes. We are hoping to carry this out over the next month. Beneficiaries are busy building goat pens and once they are complete we will be holding our second pass out. For those interested, Brian has been discharged from the hospital. We returned him to his home last week. It was difficult to send him back home as I am unsure if he will receive the care he needs. We checked on him on Friday and he seems to be doing well. We provided him with a matress and mosquito net to make him more comfortable.

We are meeting new people every day involved in exciting work across many disciplines and from many different countries. We have booked a trip to Rwanda next weekend to visit the Genocide Memorial and experience the different culture. I am hoping to meet up with the two vets that I met in Guelph before leaving that work with the Mountain Gorilla project. We are about half way through our trip and we realize everyday how much still needs to be accomplished in such little time. Motivation is still high as the staff at FAOC have been very supportive. I am excited to see what the second half of the trip has to offer.

All the best,

Dr. Steve