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January 25, 2010

By Jessie Stone

Uganda is very hot these days and it is welcome relief to be able to play in the river! Having Emily down here volunteering and paddling is a real treat for me – its wonderful to split the days up between work in the field or the clinic and on the river. Sometimes it’s a bit of a mad scramble to get it all in, but somehow we manage even if we are not exactly on time!

Emily has been helping with our malaria education sessions and our malaria follow-ups where we go visit people in their homes usually 6-8 months after they have bought a net. On these visits, we get a very unique opportunity to see how people live, how they are doing with their net, and if they report having less malaria –which luckily the vast majority does. It is an amazingly educational experience to see this first hand. Emily has also been helping Jessica and Wilfred, who run our malaria program to work on a coloring book about malaria for primary school kids. It will be super cool to get this out in the schools and see how kids do with it.

New since the last time Emily was here, is our family planning outreach program, which Emily has gotten to see in action. Family planning definitely produces many more hilarious situations and questions than the malaria education sessions and I will let Emily tell you about those experiences too – I think she had a lot of fun with them as well.

In between the education sessions, working on the coloring book and painting the clinic, we have also been able to squeeze in kayaking. I was excited to show Em some of my favorite play spots and parts of the river that have changed since the dam started being built. There are some great play spots on the upper river and we have made several trips to super hole so far too. No one ever talks about super hole when they mention the Nile but it’s a great play spot and beautiful too. Super hole is a fantastic place to learn new tricks for both waves and holes as it has features of both. Emily has been teaching me to back loop as well as helping me with my Mcnastys and Phonix monkeys. It’s been awesome and I am learning a ton while also crashing a lot in the process!

Today, we took out one of the new Ugandan female kayakers named Amina. She is 17 and just learned to paddle a few months ago. She is doing great – totally fearless and committed to paddling, she always has a big smile on her face even if she has just done a giant window shade!! Today at super hole she did a bunch while learning to surf the wave and she really improved during our time out there. Hopefully, we’ll get to go out with Amina and her sister Somia again soon. It’s really great to see more Ugandan women on the water. More to come very soon!

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