Veterinarians Without Borders in Tanzania – Dr. Gerry Smith and Dr. Amy Lowe

In September 2017, Dr. Amy Lowe and Dr. Gerry Smith arrived in Tanzania, bound for the southern highland town of Tukuyu. They were working with a partner of VWB, Africa Bridge, an organization that helps the most vulnerable children in rural villages in three wards: Lufingo, Kisondela and Kambasegela, in the Rungwe district, through supporting their families with agricultural co-ops. Africa Bridge has been operating for over a decade in this area and has made some real and sustainable difference in the wards in which they previously worked, but felt they could use some veterinary assistance in their livestock programs. Below is their story, written by Dr. Gerry Smith.

A waterfall above Matema with our guide Maika

We managed to have lots of laughs and fun along the way, something that is essential if you are to survive the challenges that come with working in contexts which are so different from what we are used to in Canada! There is no way to avoid the difficulties of working in an unfamiliar place: work culture, values, traditions, language barriers and isolation/homesickness are a reality, but we have tried to minimize those by embracing as much of the culture, language, food and drink as we could. Visiting the market, buying food, having clothes made and feeling the joy and zest for life that exists here is a fantastic antidote to seeing the desperate conditions and the daily struggles that families experience in the area where we work. We tried to explore the area on most days off, with hikes to various hot springs, mountains, rivers, rock formations and visits to lakes, beaches, coffee plantations and other local attractions.

Amy having a dress made in Tukuyu.
Ngozi Crater Lake

Some of the most rewarding moments have been listening to stories related to us by the participants in the programs; hearing the pride in a grandfather’s voice as he tells us that milk sales from his cow enabled his grandson to complete schooling and be accepted into University, the first family member ever to have done so! Or the three teenage grandchildren explaining that they do most of the work for the cow because their bibi has arthritis, but that it is OK because the cow is going to allow them to finish school and pursue their dreams. Or the single mother who has eggs to sell and plans to move her family out of the thatch/mud hut into a brick house that she can now afford to build.

Of course, the highlight of any day is interacting with the children, they find joy in everyday life and remind us to appreciate what we have. We all enter these types of projects with lofty goals of changing the world, but soon realize that the best we can do is change the situation for small groups of individuals, with the hope that if that happens enough times there will be lasting and systemic improvement.

Everyone loves stickers!
One of the first farmers we met, Neema, cares for her three grandsons, she was so kind and thankful

The most important initial steps in becoming involved in this type of project are to simply watch, ask and listen. We spent most of the first two months meeting with our partner organization’s staff, agriculture workers, veterinarians in Tanzania, government representatives, village leadership and other organizations doing similar work. We attended meetings and village visits with the Ward Steering Committees in the process of identifying families most in need of assistance, meetings with the Most Vulnerable Children Committee who are tasked with administering the program locally and training sessions with co-op members. We spent time evaluating data that had been collected on the livestock co-op production. Oh, and we also visited the farms, examined the animals and talked with the farmers – something that we thought we would spent most of our time doing as veterinarians, but which is actually only a small part of the project. We were always welcomed very warmly and thanked profusely for our participation. We were also able to hear about and witness first hand the challenges in this kind of work.

Examination and vaccination on a less than happy patient.

We worked off site for most of December and January, doing more research and consultation, compiling and organizing information to be included in the training programs and manuals, as well as developing the health program. We attended conferences and visited other veterinarians and projects in both Tanzania and Kenya. We also took time to travel and to take advantage of the amazing diversity in geography, vegetation, wildlife and people that exists in this country.

Dr. Amy had to return to Canada but continued to work remotely on the project, Dr. Gerry was able to head back to the area to finish the on-site work, returning to Tukuyu in February. We worked extensively with our Africa Bridge team to finalize the training curriculum and manuals, reviewed our recommendations for health and production and refined the data collection, monitoring and evaluation tools. The training manuals will be translated and implemented in the new ward, Kambasegela, as the project reaches that point in 2018. Other recommendations and tools will be introduced where and when possible based on timing, budget issues and cultural adaptation. The implementation of change will be a challenge, both for the project participants and the organization and will take some time, but we are confident it will make a difference in livestock health and production. The next group of volunteers will be able to build on, refine, assess and revise as needed the plans we have initiated.

Gerry leading a heat detection educational session in March near Kibsa

It was so wonderful to get to return to some of the villages, do some mentoring visits, participate in training sessions, reconnect with the warm and grateful people and be reminded of the reason we do this…to improve the lives of the children in need.




Zoetis sponsored this year´s program by donating products (Dexdomitor, Clavamox, and Revolution) and sending a qualified Veterinary Doctor colleague who shared her knowledge and skills with these communities in need. Veterinarians Without Borders sponsors many projects throughout the world, including two initiatives in the northern reaches of Canada. This year, Dr. Carolyn Hours traveled to the Sahtu region in the Northwest Territories, serves a group of 5 isolated communities located along the southern edge of Great Slave Lake, which are exclusively accessible by plane except during the coldest winter months when transport is possible via the « ice highways ».   Below Dr. Hours shares her personal account of this experience,


The extreme remoteness of these northern communities helps explain the lack of access to even the most rudimentary veterinary services, such as vaccination and sterilisation. And, as rabies and parvovirus are relatively frequent among the canine population in the north, the risk of transmission to human populations—passing from wild animals to domestic animals to humans—is high. It goes without saying that the absence of a sterilisation program causes a rapid expansion of the canine population, leaving many uncared for dogs free to roam at their will. The result? Human populations live in fear of attack by aggressive dogs.


Since 2008, two professors from the University of Calgary, Drs Susan Kutz (Parasitology) and Frank van de Meer (Virology), have organised an annual veterinary clinic with the help of 3 final year veterinarian students. The goal of the program is to vaccinate and deworm local canine populations, and provide sterilisation clinics, general consults, and home visits in the communities of Norman Wells, Tulita, Deline, Fort Good Hope, as well as Colville Lake (the most isolated of the destinations, located only 50km from the arctic circle!).


Back row, left to right: Jessie (student RVT), Dr van der Meer and the 3 students of veterinary medicine: Jessie, Kylie, and Andrea. Front row, L to R: Tanya (RVT) and Dr Kutz​

Education plays an important role in the expedition. During evening workshops and presentations in schools, Dr Kutz and her team speak about the importance of proper veterinary care, canine behaviour, and the right diet (a locally shared view holds that a dog should be “thin”).

The equipment required for the expedition—including sterilisation and anesthesia equipment, the veterinary pharmacy, and everything else that will be needed (bandages, fluidotherapy, cages, etc)—is transported by a convoy of three Northwest Territory government pick-up trucks.


Since its creation, a number of companies have sponsored Dr Kutz’s program and for a second consecutive year, Zoetis participated by donating products (Dexdomitor, Clavamox, and Revolution) and by under-writing the presence of a Zoetis staff veterinarian.


Dr. Carolyn Hour, Zoetis experienced first-hand how rewarding it was to be part of this annual journey:

I had the great privilege of participating in this northern adventure, supporting the veterinary students during surgery as well as lending expertise during clinical consults and home visits.

The first community I visited was Colville Lake, a grouping of 150 people on the shores of Colville Lake.


In the 1960s, this community experienced a hunting-related economic boom and a number of families from Fort Good Hope, including the missionary Bern Will Brown, established a permanent settlement, which included the creation of a school and a church, « Our Lady of the Snows ». Mr Brown and his wife Margaret—to this day, an active member of the community, raise a pure breed race of white Huskies, the « Colville Lake Huskies ».



During our visit we were able to vaccinate and deworm 100% of the canine population. Dr Kutz’s team provides these patients with basic and anti-rabies vaccinations following a 1-year protocol. A 3-year protocol is judged un-practicable due to the number of wandering dogs and the frequent change of dog ownership (which, confusingly, is often accompanied by a change to the dog’s name). Ovariohysterectomy is a hard sell in this community in which children want to have puppies. Sterilisation of males is, for the moment, inconceivable. Nevertheless, our team was able to spay 4 females from our temporary clinic in the village gymnasium.


Despite an evolution over the years in the acceptance of veterinary services, Colville Lake remains the most fixed in its ways. The home visits allowed the team to check up on limping dogs or animals with other conditions that might otherwise never receive treatment.

Our next destination, the last stop on the tour, was Fort Good Hope, home to almost 500 people. In Fort Good Hope, we set up our clinic in one of the classrooms at the Chief T’Selehye School, which provides schooling from primary through to post-secondary (junior and senior high) levels and prepares students for technical training.


The cases and the animal population were more varied in Fort Good Hope compared to Colville Lake. They included: the castration of a small cat, the dental intervention on a Chihuahua, the ablation of a sebaceous cyst, dog castrations, and some ovariohysterectomies. Students were allowed to observe the various procedures throughout the day, helping promote the importance of veterinary care for the wellbeing of animals.

The outcome of Sahtu Vet Clinics 2015 was positive for Dr Kutz and the team. There was a remarkable increase in the number of surgeries, especially in the community of Deline. Another bonus was the growing proportion of the population who seemed better sensitized to the needs of their animals and now look forward to the annual visit from the veterinary team. For the veterinary students, this trip was an enriching experience that allowed them to practice their clinical and technical (surgical) skills while developing communication skills by interfacing with animal owners and participating in community meetings (in classrooms and at community events).

The experience was equally enriching for me. It allowed me to measure the impact that our sponsorship can have on the wellbeing of animals, which is our primary preoccupation at Zoetis, a pharmaceutical company, which is strictly animal oriented. The trip was also an occasion for me to discover another Canadian reality, that of communities that are isolated for more than half of the year, living in an extreme climate and balancing modernity with ancestral ways.

As I admired the northern lights over Colville Lake, it was impossible not to be won over by the natural environment, as beautiful as it is wild. Faced by the immensity of the silence in this region, this Inuit proverb captured that feeling:

« The only masters are ice and time »

Vaccinating Chickens in Ta Chan Pa

Sarah and Michelle: Chicken Vaccination Campaign – May 31, 2014

We had the amazing opportunity to get our first real hands-on vet experience here in Laos! We accompanied the Primary Animal Healthcare Workers or PAHWs around the various farms in Tha Chan Pa to vaccinate chickens for Fowl Cholera and Newcastle Disease.

Chicken Farmer
One of the chicken farmers preparing his flock for vaccination. They use chicken feed to catch their chickens under this large bamboo baskets and take them out one by one.


Ta Chan Pa is a quick ferry ride across the Nam Ngum river and 20 minute drive from Nabong campus. Here's the ferry we drove our project van onto. It was quite an adventure in itself!
Ta Chan Pa is a quick ferry ride across the Nam Ngum river and 20 minute drive from Nabong campus. Here’s the ferry we drove our project van onto. It was quite an adventure in itself!

It was a really hot day but overall pretty successful. This was an opportunity we otherwise might never have had back home in Canada, as the poultry industry tends to do mass vaccinations in ovo, or on day 1 after hatching. Rarely would we get the chance to do hands on vaccinations with adult chickens and roosters. It was also great getting the chance to meet new people from another village and to see how the PAHWs apply the training that VWB and the Faculty of Agriculture provides them.

Walking to our next farm. It was a reallllly hot day!
  Walking to our next farm. It was a reallllly hot day!
Preparing to vaccinate
One of our PAHWs prepping vaccination records.

We even got to meet the PAHWs’ families and purchased some fabric that one of their wives had handwoven. We think it would be great to purchase more fabric from this village and sell it back home, with proceeds going to the VWB/VSF chicken vaccination and animal husbandry programs right in Tha Chan Pa.

Sarah vaccinating a chicken for Fowl Cholera subcutaneously or under the skin of the wing.
Sarah vaccinating a chicken for Fowl Cholera subcutaneously or under the skin of the wing.
Michelle vaccinating for Newcastle Disease.
Michelle vaccinating for Newcastle Disease.

Meet our Summer Students in Laos!

Meet Michelle Lam!

Hey there, my name is Michelle Lam and I am grateful to have been given this wonderful opportunity to be involved with Vets Without Borders! In September I will be starting my third year at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario. Before getting into vet school, I completed a 4 year Bachelor of Science honours degree with a specialization in zoology at the University of Toronto, St. George campus. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I worked for a year at a busy referral and emergency clinic and a private small animal clinic. Soon after, I completed a one year course work Masters in animal behaviour and welfare at the University of Guelph. For my research project I looked at the effects of providing pain medication to piglets during castration.

I am very excited to be able to spend my summer in Laos learning about development work, and working closely with the National University of Laos to help create a sustainable veterinary program, to teach English and to help the school look for future funding.

Meet Sarah Edwards!

Hi! My name is Sarah Edwards and I am so excited to be dedicating my summer to the Vets Without Borders Summer Student Program! I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to combine my interest in global development with my chosen field of Veterinary Medicine. I am in the same class as Michelle, so I will also be entering my third year of study in the DVM program at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Prior to starting my DVM, I completed a BScH in Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen’s University, with a focus on research in Immunology and Microbiology. I also completed a certificate in Business Administration at the University of Windsor and hope to complete my full Bachelors of Commerce after finishing up my DVM. I have always had an interest in development work, especially since working with the Canadian Red Cross at their local branch in Windsor, ON, Canada. My most recent involvement with the social media campaign at the Global Development Symposium 2014 has also driven my excitement for this summer. I look forward to experiencing all of the programs that VWB has to offer here in Laos, such as cricket farming, rabies vaccination campaigns, PAHWS program, and meeting all the vet students at the National University of Laos. Here we go!

Our First Impression:

Laos is a beautiful country rich in culture and history. Our very first impression when we disembarked off the plane was how hot and humid it is here compared to Canada! We spent our first weekend in the capital, Vientiane, where we adjusted to the climate, cuisine, and culture. Our first couple of days were filled with trying traditional Lao dishes, as well as seeking out the nearest air-conditioned café to reassure our loved ones that we made it safely. A quick tuk tuk ride to the morning market led us to quickly realize just how much of a challenge the language barrier would pose. Luckily for us, some basic gestures and the use of a calculator to demonstrate numbers led to the successful purchase of silk sinhs, which are the traditional Lao skirts for women. Our last night in the capital was spent dining with the Vets Without Borders staff, who will be guiding us through our project while in Laos. We are very eager see our new home for the next three months, as we travel to Nabong!

– Sarah and Michelle (Written: May 18, 2014)

Michelle (left) and Sarah (right) on our first tuk tuk ride in Laos!

Meet Sra Luisa. She wants a permanent Veterinarian in Todos Santos.

Sra Luisa lives in Los Pablos which is a suburb of Todos Santos, Guatemala.  She is 54 years of age, and currently supports her three children as well as her son’s two children alone. Sra Luisa has two pigs, one which she intends to sell and one which will, one day, will feed her family. She has 34 chickens which she uses as a source of food as well as sells the eggs for money. She works as a midwife and also sews traditional clothing to support her family.

Sra Luisa has two dogs Supercon and Ducky, as well as a cat Dulce. Dulce means sweet in Spanish. Both of her dogs have been sterilized by Veterinarians without Borders. She used to have another dog but was forced to poison it. Her dog escaped from her yard, snuck into her neighbour’s house and stole some food. Her neighbour told her to “get rid of her dog” or he would report her to the municipality and have her put in jail. In Todos Santos, when hungry dogs are caught stealing the municipality will force owners to kill their dog. Since there is no veterinary clinic or humane way to euthanize animals in Todos Santos, people in the community are often forced to poison them with strychnine. When rabies was more common, people would throw sticks and stones at the dogs until they died.

Sra Luisa’s biggest concern in her town before Veterinarians without Borders came to work in 2008, was that she feared letting her children walk freely outside. People used to carry stones or sticks with nails in them to beat the dogs off them while walking the streets. Rabies was frequently reported in dogs in the area.

What Sra Luisa wants the most is for a permanent veterinarian to be situated in Todos Santos. She love’s the work Veterinarians without Borders does in her community and is grateful for it. She appreciates that the activities are directed toward public health as well as the animals. She will continue to support Veterinarians without Borders in her community and values their presence in Todos Santos.

In February 2014, Vets without Borders and 22 volunteers will return to continue working with Todos Santos.

To learn more about Vets without Borders work in Todos Santos, please visit our website. To support our work with Sra. Luisa and others from her community, please consider donating. To receive a tax receipt, please donate through our website. To receive some great perks, please donate through indiegogo.


PAHWs at the forefront

This month has seen the relaunch of the successful Livestock Clinics in 5 villages in Houychiem. Combining in-depth practical training with community outreach, the clinics are a way to give PAHWs village-based training whilst sensitising farmers to the importance of livestock vaccination, parasite burdens, and general farm management.

Using learner-centred approaches, the team encourages each PAHW to do a clinical exam, assess the situation of each animal and make a decision on appropriate treatment.  The PAHWs are thus building up their problem-solving skills during real case examples.   This week the clinics have focused on blackleg vaccination and parasite treatment.

The clinics were alsoa great opportunity to share knowledge about traditional treatments, such as using lemon for eye infections.   Check out some of the pictures here!

Livestock clinic team in Napok
Learning to assess body weight
Calculating drug dosage

Meet Janet.


In Uganda, women are limited in their property and ownership rights. Goats are one of the few animals that women can own. For women and children, many of whom have lost husbands and fathers to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Vets Without Borders Uganda Goat Pass-on Project is providing an essential way for women to make a living and support their children through school.

Janet lives in Mbarara, Uganda. In 2008, she became the proud owner of a dairy cross goat thanks to her participation in the VWB/VSF Goat Pass-On Project, which helps to improve the health and well-being of Ugandan families. The program model provides a pregnant goat to a family and they keep first born goat kid, return the second born kid to the program for another household. With each additional goat kid born, the family can decide whether to keep the goat or use it to take out a micro-loan to use for school fees, medical bills or to start a business. This photo was taken in the summer of 2012, where Janet is proudly holding the latest goat kid addition to the family. For the last five years your donations have helped Janet to become a para-veterinarian, a model farmer for her community, secretary for the Goat Pass-On Group and Chairperson for the Micro-loans Group enabling her to better provide for her children and their future.

When you donate to Vets without Borders, give an eGift, or buy a goat tote bag or 2013 Calendar, proceeds go to programs like this, and people just like Janet, around the world.
You can help create healthy lives for animals, people, and the planet. 
Send your eGifts today and spread the love a little further.

To learn more about Janet and the Goat Pass-On Project, watch this video.

Farewell to Ilima, Lubanda, and Ushirika

Sadly, my time in Tanzania has come to an end. It had definitely been an adventure, a challenge, and an incredible learning experience.

Some of my last few weeks with the project were spent building coops for some of the older farmers of the village (mostly elderly widows). The village chair, James, and my two interpreters Baraka and Juma, were a huge help with this endeavor and did all the hard work by cutting bamboo for hours each day. I did my part tying bamboo pieces, digging holes, and holding posts while James nailed pieces together. The farmers were incredibly appreciative and we were rewarded with many a delicious meal! We’ve done a lot of teaching over the course of the summer so it was a nice change of pace to accomplish something so tangible.

Last month we had a three-day training session for those chosen to be teacher farmers in Lubanda and we had asked them to choose their students. A few weeks ago I met with these students in groups and discussed the requirements for participation in the program (they must have chickens, must be willing to build a coop, must attend weekly meetings with their teacher, must vaccinate their chickens, and must keep records) and the importance of these requirements. Then I recruited field extension officers Henry and Gaga to help show the teachers how to vaccinate chickens. We got some vaccine and practiced on chickens belonging to one of the teachers before the teachers started vaccinating their students’ chickens. The teachers really liked the hands-on training and I was also happy to do my first-ever poultry vaccination!

I said my good-byes to the teachers of Lubanda and had one last meeting with the teachers of Ilima, during which I thanked them and said goodbye. But the farmers of Ilima “weren’t going to let me leave quietly.” They had a big send-off party for me two days later. Field extension officers Henry and Gaga, Juma the interpreter, Kibona the Village Executive Officer, the teachers of Ilima, and I gathered in the village “movie theater” (a small building with a tv) and had a feast of wali (rice), nyama (meat), Chinese (a spinach-like leaf), and soda. We watched Bongo Flava music videos, exchanged gifts, and thanked one another. The teachers gave Shona and I each a kanga (fabric worn by women as dresses, shawls, and/or head scarves). Along with prints of flowers or animals, these kangas have messages written in Kiswahili. Ours say “ Kila Muomba Mola Hakosi Fungu Lake.” I learned what that meant, but then totally forgot.
I think that Shona and I have accomplished a great deal this summer in the villages of Ilima and Lubanda. We’ve established an in-country support system for the farmers with the help of poultry expert Chris Chalangi and field extension officers Henry and Gaga. We’ve also successfully expanded the Ili ma Poultry Project to the neighboring village of Lubanda, built coops for elderly farmers in Ilima, and revised the vaccination system in Ilima.

Along the way I’ve learned a lot about Tanzania and its people. There are 120 different tribes in Tanzania, each with its own language. I’ve gotten to know so many Nyakusa people in the villages and I now know enough of the Kinyakusa language to make the necessary 10-minute long greetings. I’ve also met people from the other tribes in my travels and learned a bit about their cultures. I’m still working on my Kiswahili and hoping to be fluent sometime in the future. But I think that by far my greatest accomplishment has been learning how to cook like a Tanzanian!

But let’s not forget about the chickens! Coming from a mainly small animal background my knowledge of small-holder poultry farming was very minimal prior to this internship. I know Shona and I were the ones doing the teaching, but I think we ended up learning quite a bit ourselves about poultry management! Veterinarians have so many different career options – small animal, large, mixed, wildlife, research, academia, public health, the list goes on and on. But no matter what your interest is in veterinary medicine, I think it’s important to have a variety of different experiences and that those experiences ultimately make you a better veterinarian.

Lastly, and most importantly, I’ve learned what a powerful tool teaching can be. I was a bit hesitant about the Ilima Poultry Project at first because of its lack of hands-on work with animals. Alternately, the aspect of working so closely with people drew me to the project. Shona and I did not have the opportunity to do much with the chickens, and our work was not as tangible as treating a cow for mastitis, for example, but we did do a lot of teaching. And teaching helps people help themselves – it empowers them. If what we’ve taught these farmers about poultry management helps them raise more chickens, healthier chickens, improves their diet, and provides them with much needed cash by the selling of chickens and/or eggs then I think that the project is a success.

For the past few weeks I’ve been experiencing a reverse culture shock being in the much more touristy part of the country. I’ve enjoyed the delicious food and beaches of Zanzibar, made it to the summit of Kilimanjaro, and have seen hyenas and lions from only inches away in Serengeti and Ngorogoro. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet some really cool people along the way. But although I don’t so much miss the bucket showers and nightmarish public transportation of rural southern Tanzania, I do miss my Ushirika housemates and the farmers of Ilima and Lubanda. We’ve only just begun in Lubanda, but I can tell that these farmers are a great group of people so excited to learn. And my Ushirika housemates as well as the farmers of Ilima have been like family to me during my stay in Tanzania. This country has become like a second home these past three and a half months. I’ve met so many incredible people and I hope to come back and visit sometime soon.

I’d like to thank CFIA, Iams, and Merck for their financial support as well as my friends and family who donated money towards the project. Your generous donations have made a significant positive impact on the lives of farmers in Ilima and Lubanda. I would also like to thank our Ushirika family for giving Shona and I a place to stay, showing us how to cook like real Tanzanians, and worrying about us whenever we travelled anywhere or got sick. And of course thanks to the farmers of Ilima and Lubanda for being so generous and welcoming!


Goodbye KAT

Where does the time go? One day I’m being lead around Nepal on a tour without realizing it, the next I’m saying goodbye to the extraordinary staff and volunteers of the KAT centre and on a flight to Delhi. So much has happened since my last blog it is hard to keep track. The KAT centre is currently in “crisis mode.” The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) sadly, as of this fiscal year, has stopped providing (significant) financial support due to a change in policy. WSPA will now be focusing its efforts on more large scale government work. Furthermore, some of the full time staff at the centre recently went on strike demanding new policies, and leaving volunteers to provide for the animals (aside from feeding). Cathie, myself and some other volunteers recently spent time at the Saturday market, an area which mostly targets ex-pats, spreading awareness and attempting to raise funds for the centre.

It is so easy for us to focus on the overwhelming issue of lack of funds. And it should be. The fact is, the KAT centre    currently only has enough funding to run for three more months. Some long term volunteers are frantically  strategizing ways to come up with the money, and all donations help. What gets overlooked, or forgotten, are the day  to day success stories. Lately we have adopted out three in-house dogs and successfully rehabilitated eight more.  Two dogs (Johnnie and Sweetie) that came in over a month ago with serious spinal injuries and a poor prognosis were  released last week with a clean bill of health. It was amazing watching them recover with the help of vet medicine and  homeopathy. As well, following the strike, our two long term leg fracture patients were released as well as many  other hairless, mange – turned luscious coat dogs. The recoveries these animals are able to make, if someone just  gives them some time and care, is remarkable. Animals come in with massive wounds festering with maggots and a  week or two later trot out looking for food and their companions. In Poland they say, “It heals like on a dog.” And I  believe it.

These next few months will be crucial for the survival of the KAT centre. If the staff can settle their differences and  therefore permit efforts to be focused on proper fundraising, KAT’s future can be bright. As the leaders in Animal  Birth Control and treatment in Nepal, KAT has the potential to further reduce the stray dog population, educate the future of Nepal, and even expand to a second or third location. However, if staff issues remain and proper funding is not received the future looks grim. I urge readers to make even small donations. However, down the line I believe KAT will require a larger, corporate sponsor to thrive.

Over the past three months I’ve learned more about veterinary medicine, shelter medicine, life and humility then all my education combined. I also believe I have provided the KAT centre assistance in every way I could. Sometimes the staff and volunteers needed a laugh more than anything, and I did my best to help ease the tension when applicable. I will greatly miss everyone involved at the KAT centre, especially the children that lived in the attached home. I had the pleasure of taking these children to the cinema one day, and watched them marvel at the shear size of the building and play for hours on the “moving staircases”. I think I may have enjoyed myself more than they did.


My time with VWB has gone by in a blur and I loved every second of it. VWB makes an investment in us students. They send us across the globe to provide help bettering communities for animals and people. We do are absolute best to provide said help, and in doing so, learn more than we could ever imagine. For this, I could not be more grateful. I have made connections here that will last a life time. And, if I’m lucky, I hope to return to Nepal one day. Thanks to everyone I met and all the departure gifts. Your notes were hilarious and heart warming. I am in Manali, India now at a battery powered internet cafe during a power outage. I will be here for a few days then I will take a 22 hour bus or jeep to Leh, Ladahk.

All the best,



Des nouvelles de Jérôme en Ouganda

Le blog a été un peu négligé dernièrement, mais en faisant un résumé nous avons participé à la journée de défense des droits des enfants africains qui a lieu le 16 juin. Il y avait plusieurs activités organisées par la FAOC (notre partenaire local, Fondation for Orphaned Children) telles qu’une parade avec de la musique produite par les élèves  d’une des 4 écoles invitées, des poèmes, de la danse et de la peinture. Nous avons organisé deux jeux. Le premier était de nous mettre dans une boîte de carton avec un trou et les couleurs d’une cible autour du visage pour que les enfants nous lancent des éponges mouillées. Le jeu a été apprécié par les enfants, puisqu’ils riaient énormément, cependant certains sont de très bon lanceurs et je voyais parfois de la panique dans les yeux de Scott et Steve qui étaient dans les boîtes (moi je prenais des photo!). Ensuite il y a eu des piniatta remplies de bonbons, ce qui était plus compliqué à organiser entre autre parce que les enfants désiraient les bonbons avec trop d’enthousiasme et qu’ils ne respectaient pas la distance sécuritaire par rapport à la piniatta lorsqu’un autre participant s’approchait pour la frapper avec un bâton les yeux bander.

Nous avons aussi organisé une journée d’entrainement pour les paravets de tous les villages. Nous étions satisfaits des compétences qu’ils possédaient. Ils savaient très souvent quand administrer un vermifuge, des antibiotiques et traiter contre les tiques. Nous avons faits des cas cliniques et nous avons revus certaines notions comme le traitement d’un abcès et l’importance d’un abri propre pour les chèvres. Les paravets étaient très enthousiastes et contrairement à plusieurs autres réunions, personne ne dormait. Ils ont même insisté pour avoir plus de formation au cours de l’été. Quelques jours après nous avons eu de la rétroaction de la part d’une paravet qui disait que tous les paravets en général étaient très motivés depuis la journée de formation et qu’ils travaillaient fort. Cela nous a donné l’idée à Steve et à moi d’acheter des vélos pour les paravets parce qu’ils éprouvent toujours certaines difficultés de transport. Le paravets sont déjà motivés. Plusieurs se disent très contents de leur nouveau rôle (depuis qu’ils sont paravets) dans leur village. Ils ont plus de considération de la part des autres villageois et cela revenait dans les témoignages de chaque paravet que nous avons interrogé. Peut-être que s’ils avaient toutes les ressources nécessaires pour faire leur travail et que nous pouvions remédier au problème de transport, nous pourrions améliorer significativement la santé générale des chèvres dans les villages. Cependant, en Ouganda les femmes ne font pas de vélo, mais selon les travailleurs de la FAOC c’est tendance culturelle pourrait être renversée… Cette option reste à évaluer.

Après la journée d’entrainement nous avons commencé à préparer des journées de vaccination pour tous les villages. Cette année nous pouvons vacciner contre la brucellose pour la première fois. Ceci étant dit, ceci double le coût relié à la vaccination, ce qui veut dire que les villageois devront dépenser environ 90 cents (2000 shillings ougandais) pour vacciner chaque chèvre. Déjà, plusieurs trouvent le coût trop élevé. Nous avons vacciné environ 80 chèvres dans un des 18 villages. La vaccination de toutes les chèvres dans tous les villages représente un travail considérable qui pourra être effectué par les paravets dans le futur.

Nous avons aussi préparé un questionnaire que les travailleurs de la FAOC remplissent avec les bénéficiaires. Ce questionnaire nous aidera à évaluer l’impact économique de l’attribution de chèvres. De plus, nous essayons d’établir un lien entre les soins attribués aux chèvres par les bénéficiaires (vaccins, vermifugation, technique de régie etc.) et le succès de leur entreprise. Nous voulons aussi connaitre la motivation de bénéficiaires face au projet, c’est–à-dire s’ils entrevoient la possibilité de faire plus d’argent en reproduisant leurs chèvres et en investissant dans des vaccins d’autres soins pour leurs animaux.

Nous avons également acheter, vacciner et distribué 28 chèvres aux bénéficiaires qui étaient prêts a en recevoir.

La semaine dernière nous somme retournés au lac Bunyoni pour nous reposer et nous avons été rejoins par Scott, Christy, Nicole, Stefanie et Stephan qui débutaient leur safari pour leur dernière semaine en Ouganda. Cette rencontre était une surprise. Nous avions fait nos adieux la journée précédente et ne pensions plus nous revoir après ces deux mois passés ensemble. Le climat paisible du lac Bunyoni nous a donné l’idée de suivre nos amis jusqu’au parc Queen Elizabeth où nous avons passé trois jours en compagnie du Dr. Siefurt, un vétérinaire qui travaille sur la faune en Ouganda depuis environ 30 ans. Il enseigne aussi à l’université de Kampala. Nous avons retracé une lionne et un léopard à l’intérieur du parc grâce à des colliers émetteurs que Dr. Siefurt avait posés sur ces animaux dans le passé. La technique était assez efficace. Par exemple, nous avons trouvé un léopard qui se trouvait à environ 40 km de notre point de départ en environ 2 heures. Le but est d’évaluer les mouvements de ces animaux et d’en trouver les raisons. Aussi, Dr. Siefurt tentait de trouver une solution afin d’éviter que les lions mangent les chèvres des paysans, mais aussi afin d’éviter que les paysans empoisonnent les lions.

Ensuite nous sommes allés dans un autre parc national, le parc de Kibale qui est réputé pour contenir une population très dense de chimpanzés. Nous avons passés environ 7 heures à observer des chimpanzés dans la jungle. J’étais un peu déçu parce que tous ce qu’ils faisaient étaient de se promener dans les arbres et manger des fruits, mais je n’ai pas eu la chance d’observer certains comportements qui auraient reflété leur intelligence développée. De plus, le prix pour cette journée était très élevé comparativement à toute activité que nous avions faite en Ouganda jusqu’à ce moment (220$ ou 550 000 shillings Ougandais).

Nous avons ensuite rejoins nos amis qui poursuivaient leur safari à Entebbe pour aller faire du Rafting sur le Nile, ce qui était très agréable. Je m’attendais toutefois à être plus secoué et tomber à l’eau plus souvent.

Nous sommes maintenant de retour à Mbarara pour les trois dernières semaines du projet d’été. Nous allons poursuivre la vaccination des chèvres et la récolte de données.

#Photo de Dr. Kent Weir