It is the first day of December (although the weather would not suggest it) and I am officially half way my stay here. However cliché it may sound, it feels like time has flown by. I am happy not to be leaving quite yet, and feel good about the point we have reached. Surely there were some bumps along the road once in a while, but we managed to get where we are. During our last meeting with Uganda’s Dairy Development Authority (DDA) we encountered full enthusiasm for our progress and our project in general.
The Katete plant is getting closer to an appropriate procedure that will allow them to improve fermentation of Yoba’s probiotic yoghurt. As Katete does not have the fancy equipment UIRI is blessed with, I have had to try many alternative methods for keeping the yoghurt at an appropriate temperature, ranging from charcoal chambers, artificial water baths, hot stones and mini-saunas. Recently I have been able to get assistance from a German engineer called Markus, who insisted that “limestone keeps the heat”. Thus, after a long day-trip around warm Kampala, I found the 25kg bag of limestone and transported it back to UIRI, in order to finally test out this theory. It has been found that indeed the temperature is much more well-kept when comparing it to room temperature! Markus is enthusiastic to keep refining this technique now, in order to make it possible for villagers all around Uganda to make yoghurt in their own homes!
Meanwhile, on the UIRI side we are in preparation for the much awaited launch of the product. Right now Bernd and I are both involved in setting up a test market, where we will set up stands around selling points in the area and hand out questionnaires to our target customers. If all goes according to plan, we will be buying our own yoghurt in the stores at the start of 2011!
To take a break from work we decided to take a short weekend trip 2 weeks ago. As we had already explored the west of the country, we figured it was time to find out what Eastern Uganda is hiding. We were very lucky; the Ugandan Christian University, which is located right next to our guesthouse, was organizing a trip to Mbale. It would be 2 days of hiking around the Mt. Elgon national park and visiting the Sipi falls, and all this with a group of international students! We were thus travelling with a group of Kenyan, Rwandan, Congolese, Nigerian and South Sudanese students studying in Uganda. Of course, this meant it would involve a spontaneous pre-breakfast dancing session! During the hike the scenery was once again beautiful and the waterfall so powerful and intense, you could barely feel more alive then when standing at the bottom, experiencing the water. What better approach is there to get energized for work again?
That’s all for now, thanks for reading!
Greetings from Kampala,