Update from Vivienne and Sarah in Uganda

Written by Vivienne Steele (incoming MSc student, Guelph) and Sarah MacVicar (MSc student, McGill) It’s hard to believe that we are halfway through our time in Bwindi. Things have been going very well, and we are looking forward to making the most of our last two weeks here!

We have had the opportunity to visit six communities in Kanungu District—two Bakiga and four Batwa communities. In each visit, with Saba and Grace’s guidance and translations, we heard some of the stories of childbirth and delivery from the women in the community. These powerful narratives will be guiding our research as Viv investigates antenatal attendance and Sarah looks into how climate change may affect birth outcomes in the region.

For our brief mid-trip break, we had the chance to go visit Lake Bunyonyi, a lake in the Kabale District, near the border of Rwanda, rumoured to be the second deepest lake in Africa (up to 900 m deep!). We stayed in a “geodome” style house, with an open view of the night sky. Crawfish from the lake was on the menu – as well as dodo pizza! Before leaving, we headed out on the lake for a morning paddle in a dugout canoe – beautiful, made us feel like we were back in Canada.

Other gastronomic experiences: Sarah tried jackfruit for the first time and loved them! We will definitely be having more before departing. We also had supper at the Bwindi Community Hospital’s guest house, which was a great opportunity to interact more with folks from the hospital.

We are looking forward to our remaining time here, with an upcoming visit from our supervisors Professor Berrang Ford and Professor Harper! They will be here with and with several other IHACC PI’s—Didacus Namanya, Dr. Lwasa, and Professor Ford. We will be continuing data entry at BCH and doing a few more key informant interviews as we wrap up our research over the next few weeks.

Sarah and Viv