Saturday, March 22, 2008

March 22nd

Well, back home after almost two months away.  The last two weeks were in Kenya, where things seem to have settled down, although we avoided going into the western part of the country.
If the rumours are right, then the ghastly trouble that exploded in late December and much of January was hardly spontaneous.  It appears to have been planned well in advance.  One account had it that pangas, the machetes of East Africa, had been purchased in bulk many weeks before the election.  Another had it that road blocks in some areas were up and functional within ten or fifteen minutes of the election results being announced.  There is no doubt that there are huge numbers of internally displaced people around the country, people who have lost everything, and are now desperate, living on the charity of friends, relatives or even in tented camps.
We were sheltered from all of this as we traveled in our old stamping grounds, around Mount Kenya, and saw many old friends from our time living in the country.
Our flights home were fairly brutal.  The total travel time was 35 hours, with three intermediate airports (Zurich, Frankfurt and Calgary). Just over half of this was in the air, the rest hanging around in lounges.  Not restful.
The Saskatoon scenery is a bit bleak.  Everything that is not white is brown. Open patches of gravel appear like mange at random spots in the remaining snow.  Piles of messages to deal with at home, but at least the house is in great shape.
After the messages have been dealt with it is full speed ahead on two fronts. 
The first is to set next year's trip to Uganda in motion.  We arrive home a few hours after the students draft has taken place, and we have no idea who has chosen to join us.  Next week country here, and then we have to get them organized.
The second, more immediate task is to prepare for the book launch in 18 days.  If all goes according to plan it will be off to Edmonton on the 10th to thank Jane Goodall for contributing the foreword, and to maybe tell a couple of stories from the book.  Right after that it will be back to Saskatoon for the first official launch at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, at noon on the 11th.  This will be a more-or-less private event at the college.  Thence to Banff for the Canadian Non-fiction Collective's annual meeting at the Banff Centre.  The first public reading or launch in Saskatoon is to be held at The Refinery on Dufferin Avenue on the 17th.  More later on that as the organizational details unfold.

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