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Hi Yoba fans,

After a somewhat extended silence  it is time for an update from my side. The last weeks in Uganda have been, well, surprisingly normal. Living in Uganda for more than 3 months now, we have become so used to the life here that it becomes increasingly hard to imagine life back at home. Does a meal in a decent restaurant seriously cost some 20€ (the monthly wage of manual laborers)? Does it really get colder there than 10°C?  While in the beginning we made fun of our Ugandan friends saying that Europe must be paradise because we never have power cuts, I am now starting to think that it is seriously an incredible thing to have a stable electricity supply.

The big influence of (the absence of) electricity on our lives became particularly obvious in the last two weeks. The group of students we live with is currently doing their final exams of the year, and studying through the night is not an uncommon thing. Unfortunately, it is considerably harder to study in the dark. As electricity seldom stays around for an entire night, the students often sit around a candle together, trying to decipher their notes in the flickering light. Some mornings I see students coming out of their rooms at dawn to make use of the first rays of sunshine to study on the lawn, whereas others decree that they simply have to surrender in the face of this force majeure.

While our social life and leisure time has been as routine as it can get in Uganda, work for Yoba has had quite some surprises for us in store recently. Having overcome the infancy problems of our bacterial children in the last months, we naively assumed we could directly proceed to adulthood. Like so many parents, we were pulled back into reality when the puberty of our children began. After having been well-behaving kids for several weeks in a row, the bacteria suddenly started to behave completely irrationally. Staying up for too long and disobeying direct orders were only two of the problems, and the previously successful interventions have proven to be utterly futile. Fortunately, there is also a positive side to puberty: the person (or bacterium) coming out is bigger, stronger, more mature and less susceptible to bad influences in the environment. Consequently, our current task is to harness the new strength of our bacteria. Through our experiments, we have managed to further accelerate their growth (we are now down to 4 hours of fermentation from 12 in the beginning) and reach much higher levels of live bacteria in the final product (PH value of approx. 4.1 in comparison to initial 4.6). On the side, we have been busy preparing the market introduction of the Yoba yoghurt. It is going to be hard to let our children leave to live on their own, but we are confident that they will keep themselves and others in good health.

So after a few exasperating fights with our Yoba children and some nights spent trying to push mathematics down Ahumuzas throat in the candlelight, we are now looking forward to two things: First, our friends coming out of their study-zombie mode and behave like normal students again; and second, our Yoba bacteria leaving behind their pubertal, erratic behavior to emerge as the strong,  sensible bacteria we know they can be and that our partners are expecting excitedly.

Greetings from sunny Mukono,


Bernd Isenberg

Bernd Isenberg



  1. Mandy 9 years ago 25th March 2012

    I found lonely aplnet quite useful. Try getting a guide book Bradt guides are very useful and they do one for Uganda. A book will probably give you the best information and you can take it with you if they have no electricity they aren’t going to have internet access for a website! Find out about whether clean drinking water will be available if not you will need to boil or take iodine with you (which is horrible!) Have you traveled a lot before? If not you might get some stomach upset from new foods and different germs than your used to. If you are only going to be their for a short time, and aren’t planning much travel in the future its probably worth avoiding things like dairy products, any fruit you can’t peel, and possibly fish and shellfish. If your going to be there a while just eat what you want and get used to it, or your going to have a very limited diet.Take a pack of cards with you they take up little space and can provide hours of fun.Pack light if you are going to be travelling on buses and stuff you want to be able to carry your luggage.Learn how to say thank you, please, hello etc in the local language as soon as you get there people are far less likely to rip you off if you can say something in their language.Learn how to haggle.Take a lot of wet wipes with you, and also alcohol hand gel.Make sure to get all your vaccinations before you go. Also get your visa sorted out well in advance.I’m fairly sure Uganda has a risk of malaria, so take your anti-malarials properly, but most importantly don’t get bitten. Take it from someone who knows malaria is no fun!

  2. tommy belesis 8 years ago 8th November 2012

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon
    everyday. It’s always interesting to read through articles from other authors and use a little something from other websites.


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