Planning for Uganda -Part II

In my last post, I included a map of Uganda that located Bududa, the small village where I will be living and volunteering. What the map didn’t indicate is how long a trip it is to Africa and how the rough roads and big, moving obstacles make driving exciting in Uganda.

So how do Jim, Barbara, and I get from Philly to the Bududa Learning Center?
It’s not easy!

  • First, brave the New Jersey Turnpike for a run up to Newark Airport.
  • Convince security that the cases full of tools, video gear, presents, pills, and toilet paper are not the foundation of some revolutionary sect.
  • Then sit for 18-hour in cramped seats, surrounded by coughing strangers, while flexing fingers and toes to avoid blood clots.
  • All the while, hope that the stop in Brussels isn’t delayed so long that our hotel reservations in Kampala aren’t given away.
  • A day in Kampala to recover before hiring a local driver with a four-wheel drive vehicle and then hang on and pray during the day-long, 260 kilometers neck-wrenching ride to Bududa.

But I’m putting the cart before the horse. I can’t even enter Uganda without getting vaccinated for Yellow Fever. The only place in Philadelphia that has the vaccine is the University of Pennsylvania Travel Medicine department. I made an appointment, arrived on time, and was rewarded with three shots, four prescriptions, and a bill for over $1,000.

The prescriptions could be a coded suggestion from my doctor that I might want to reconsider going on this adventure. Modern medicine makes no guarantees when administered for travel in third world countries. I have to start the Malaria pills the week before thee trip begins; continue with one pill each week I am on location; and continue taking one pill a week for four weeks after I return. The regimen for dysentery/diarrhea/Montezuma’s revenge is simple: take two pills at the onset of symptoms and cross your fingers. The fact that I was prescribed six pills covering three different “onsets” makes me think that Montezuma will get his revenge one way or another.

The next challenge is assembling a set of video gear with lots of backup. It needs to be high quality, relatively light, and well protected from heat and dust. B&H Photo/Video is on my speed dial. They had the video camera I wanted. The Panasonic AG-UV180 was a good deal because someone had bought it and returned without apparently ever shooting a minute of video. I already own most of the audio gear needed including wireless lavalier mics and a shotgun mic to mount on the camera. Lights don’t make sense when electricity is in short supply, but I will bring a small, battery-powered, camera-mounted LED light to fill in back-lit faces or the interiors of family huts.

I’ll also plan to shoot lots of photos. My friend, Michael, lent me a very nice little digital still camera. I’ll get a spare battery and couple of memory cards, stick it in my pocket and will always be ready for those once-in-a-lifetime pictures of people and animals.

In my next post, I tell you some of the practical, surprising, and charming information I gleaned from reading my newly assembled library of Ugandan travel books. Please sign up below to follow my volunteer adventure blog.

Published by Ron Kanter

Professional documentary filmmaker Amateur woodworker Avid motorcycle rider

7 thoughts on “Planning for Uganda -Part II

  1. Again, I am flabbergasted by the amount of stuff you need to do just to get ready! And the undertaking….holy moly! Can’t wait to see you tomorrow to get more of the inside scoop. 🙂

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    1. Thanks for your question, Steve. A few other people have asked if they can participate. I am grateful for this and I am planning to put together a GoFundMe campaign in the next few days.

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  2. Ron, Not only are these fun to read, but I’m excited to have you as my travel guide for the trip…..so pleased you’re reading the Uganda Travel Books. Also, I think I had 4 shots (without Meningitis!); how did you get away with 3 and spend more than me?? I think my shots were Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and a Tetanus booster (since I was already 7 years since my last one). Anyhow, I loved the blog; thanks for doing this. Jim

    >

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    1. Jim, I’m not sure I qualify as your travel guide unless you are referring to the blind leading the blind. As far as my vaccine menu, I went with a Meningitis injection with a side of four Typhoid pills. I skipped desert because the green jello didn’t look very appetizing.

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