Dear Friends,Let’s start this email off on an unpleasant note and hopefully we will finish off a lot lighter! The Oncology (Cancer) Ward really feels like a place you are sent to die. It takes quite a bit of determination and moral support from family and friends to stop you from plummeting into a black hole and succumbing to this dreadful disease. You will not come out of it unscathed and until you are told that you are in remission, you believe you may die. In fact you are only in remission for 3 months, until your next blood test reconfirms it. Let’s hope my upcoming blood test results are as good as the last. Thank you to my doctors and the staff at Donald Gordon and to my family and friends for all you have done.
What was it like being back in South Africa for 16 months, you ask? Well, it was exactly the same as before we left! We experience enormous changes in our daily life, routine, food, circumstances, climate etc. on the road and yet nothing changes at home. Unfortunately we felt enormous racism towards us which we don’t experience during our travels through the rest of Africa. Some friends found it difficult to deal with my illness and I think some may have even wondered whether I was really sick. We had mixed reactions to the story of our journey so far – some people were extremely interested and wanted to know everything and others wouldn’t talk about it at all, just wanting us to slot back into their version of society.The only reason we didn’t leave for Uganda immediately when I heard I was in remission was because Christy had committed to looking after a friend’s horses for two weeks. After chomping at the bit and trying to be patient, we eventually arrived back in Uganda on 8th August 2012. I was still very weak, uncoordinated and my brain a little bit fuzzy and I relied heavily on Christy.
I finally got to meet the wonderful family who have been taking such great care of Christy and our horses. Steve and Katia and their two children, Tana and Sasha, welcomed me into their home as they had Christy and have been the most gracious hosts. Steve works for a Dutch flower farm called Wagagai and Katia, one of the founding members of the USPCA has a passion for all animals.
The process of getting Chami and Nali fit is taking longer
than I had originally thought it would. A 16 month lay-off, living the easy
life without much work is not a simple process to reverse. Anyway, our boys are
very much a part of Katia’s herd and it will be difficult, especially for
Chami, when he has to head out and leave his girlfriend behind.
|Katia showing the ladies just what it takes to keep horses!|
|Chami and Santana... always together!|
So how else have we been keeping ourselves busy? There is an thriving social life in Entebbe: Steve dragging us onto his boat forcing us to fish for our supper, Friday evening dinners at someone’s house or restaurant, Sunday brunches with far too much food on the table, star gazing, birthday parties at the Yacht Club, swimming in the fantastic pools (even though one is 5°C colder than the other!), roast pork and tea afternoons and girls tea and cake at Sheree’s house that I’m allowed to attend as an honourary female! I’m not quite sure I like that title! Everyone has been most welcoming to us.
|Kids at Pony Camp!|
The rainy season had just started when we arrived. There are very hot muggy days intermingled with the odd cool and breezy day. Some of the thunder and lightning over the lake is pretty spectacular. One of the storms wrecked a couple of greenhouses with huge torrents of water and strong winds. The lake can be picture perfect one minute and become extremely choppy the next. Boats have been known to overturn. On good days, fishermen stand on shallow rocks in the middle of the lake giving the impression that they are walking on water!
|Hammerkop at sunrise..|
One of the fundraising events for the USPCA, that Katia is involved in, is called The Shaggy Dog Show. Christy was the Ring Master which involved trying to control errant dogs and their children! Tana and Sasha each took a dog and competed in some of the classes, coming away with some lovely prizes. Tana and Wombat won the Shaggiest Dog Prize.
|Tana and Wombat!|
|Billy and Patrick|
|Billy deticking Norman!|
|The cat called Horse in the dog house!|
Having been forced to be patient for a year and a half, it is very satisfying to know that our departure is imminent, no matter how sad it will be to leave Entebbe.Kind Regards,
Billy and Christy