The students who came to Uganda in February did their presentation yesterday at noon. There was a great turn-out and lots of interest, not least from students in first, second, and third years of the DVM course who might be considering going on such a rotation in future years. Most of the students who had been to Africa could not make it to the talk, as they we heavily engaged in other segments of their final year work. Danica was monitoring a cat as it recovered from anaesthesia, Rebecca was scrubbed in to a lengthy surgery on a dog, and Nathan was off somewhere on a large dude ranch helping to castrate a bunch of horses.
It was obvious from the stories that Tyler and Sonja chose to relate, that the rotation had been a huge success and had made a profound impression on all of those who came with Jo and me. Without question the most emotional stories were about the children in the two primary schools that we visit each year in Queen Elizabeth National Park. We have supported them for six year now & the progress is palpable. I have almost a full chapter devoted to them in The Trouble With Lions (launch date now only 14 days away!)
It was also obvious that a major highlight had been the day we captured a male lion and replaced his collar, which had grown so weak that it was only transmitting a signal about 300 metres.
Tessa, our professional photographer had taken over 6000 pictures during the trip and has whittled these down to something under 1000, with hopes to cull even further. She thinks that she will eventually be able to get them all on to two DVDs. Then she has the challenge of getting her movie footage edited. That will take time.
Meanwhile you can see how the students reacted on their own blog site at http://blogs.usask.ca/awe/
One set of Tessa’s pictures, taken for the fun of it, showed most of the female students, who were dressed in coveralls, holding up a dart gun as if it were the ultimate “Great White Hunter” weapon and they had just shot one of The Big Five. Tyler, who was speaking at the time, acknowledged that each year I offer a “Birds of Africa” calendar as a means of raising funds for the two schools and suggested that I might like to alter the content of the calendar and offered these pictures instead. I could only think of one thing to say, and so responded “These birds have far too much clothing on to be of any use in a calendar.”
Next, we meet with the 2009 crew on Monday to begin the preparations for next February’s trip. Busy times.