Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gorilla Tracking

Sorry for the hiatus!  I've been traveling around western Uganda with my mom for the past week and a half.  One of the highlights of our trip was definitely Mountain Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest.  There are about 700 mountain gorillas remaining in the world, all of whom live in Uganda, Rwanda, and the DRC.  More than half of them currently live in Uganda.

We visited the Rushegura family, consisting of 19 gorillas including a 4-week old baby!

The silver back/alpha male of the Rushegura family

Monday, May 2, 2011

Besigye Attacked and Arrested

Last Thursday, opposition leader Kizza Besigye was brutally attacked by police officers who broke the windows of his car and sprayed him in the face with tear gas from close range.  He is now in Nairobi receiving treatment and luckily has regained some of his sight.  The attacks angered many Ugandans, leading to protests on Friday.  Museveni's (president since 1986) military police responded violently with a great deal of tear gas as well as live ammo.  Several protesters were killed and more than a hundred were injured.  Besigye continues to encourage the peaceful walk-to-work movement.


Kampala’s public transportation around the city center and to suburbs is based around taxis or vans called mutatus.  Mutatu lines run to and from taxi parks right at the center of town.  If you are outside the center and want to get to another neighborhood you can board any mutatu which will invariably be going to the center, then, in one of several large taxi parks like the one pictured above, you must find the spot from which mutatus to your destination depart.  Most mutatu rides cost 1000 shillings (less than fifty cents US) although prices have recently risen, infuriating many Ugandans and leading to protests.

 Mutatus are meant to hold 15 passengers, but drivers will pack in many more whenever possible.  I’ve heard of drivers fitting as many as 25 passengers into a single mutatu!