The 2009 Africa Field Study Semester

Tea plantation, near Kibale National Park, Uganda.

Tea plantation, near Kibale National Park, Uganda.

McGill’s 2009 Canadian Field Studies in Africa / Africa Field Study Semester program took place January through March. Here is the first of several postings from the field.

January 25, 2009 | We had spent the past week in Nairobi, Kenya at the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology attending a series of lectures on topics ranging from anti-malaria programs to urbanization challenges and beyond from local figures, as well as touring fascinating sights like the Kibera slum, home to 1 million dwellers, and Uhuru Park, the culmination of an enormous conservation effort of the past few years. However, we left Nairobi today for Kibale National Park in Uganda. Starting with a 4 AM wake up in order to beat the traffic crunch of 1.5 million people who commute into the city each day, we piled into our trucks and set off for the airport. After saying goodbye to the “Green City in the Sun” until March, we caught a short Kenya Airlines flight to Entebbe in southwestern Uganda. There we began the real part of our journey: A 6 hour bus ride to the Makerere University Biological Field Station in the National Park. The trip actually went by fairly quickly, with lush forests and rolling hills of tea plantations providing scenery for practically the whole trip. Along with a few rest breaks and a couple of crates of “sodas” (soft drinks for our non-American readers), it wasn’t a bad trip at all. The field station itself is fantastic, with beds and meals provided and wide open spaces for soccer or Frisbee. Located above a local village and surrounded by forest, it maintains a fulltime staff and several cabins for residing researchers. Tomorrow is the first day of classes here and it should be a great chance to get out of lecture halls and into the field.

Contributor: Kevin Barford

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