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“Well be back!” That is how most Ugandans greet you when you come back to Uganda after being away. It means welcome back! And in January 2019, that’s what I heard many times on arriving in Uganda! I was a bit nervous to see what the river level would be and what features would be there or not, but I was happily surprised my first day to find Itanda hole at a very good level – what a wonderful way to come back to the Nile after a month of ski touring! Though I knew that they were testing the turbines at Isimba dam, and the level of the river would fluctuate, I still was not sure what would be there or not. Apparently power will be generated beginning in March and then the effects of the hydraulic gradient may be felt. As March is coming right up, we will see what’s happening very soon. For now, we have been having big changes in the river levels but thank goodness there is still plenty of great stuff to paddle. This winter, in between training our new country manager, hosting visiting doctors and students and keeping up with the busy running of the clinic, I was training for Team Trials at Rock Island. I was trying to get as much good hole training as I could along with balancing everything else.

It was great paddling but the majority of it was alone!! It was a true test of dedication and determination to do this day in and day out – making the most of my time in Uganda. It was also very fun and I felt grateful to be healthy enough to do that kind of training. Before Christmas my shoulder had been really bothering me and I was concerned I had really hurt it again but very luckily not!! The video camera became my new best friend – I tried to do as much video review as possible and thanks to Haley Buffman – she brought a tripod – who knew those are now hard to come by?! Haley and I did also have a few great days on the river – her energy and enthusiasm is exactly what everyone needs in a paddle buddy and I was only sorry I did not get more time with her! Hopefully this summer!

Along with the training and and enjoying the river, we had some interesting visitors who really wanted to help the impacted people who were displaced and uncompensated from the flooding of the Kalagala Offset Area – this was really excellent. They help monitor World Bank projects so with their help and the inspection panel’s help, people just may get the proper treatment they deserve. It was so sad to see so many people totally forgotten and voiceless in this process of “development”, but it is not over yet – so we will see what unfolds now. In the meantime, I am feeling well prepared for team trials wherever it occurs!
PS – Thanks to Eli Reichman for coming back to Uganda to shoot beautiful photos and video! The first 2 photos are his!!