It is time for my last blog of the year, as Yoba will go on holidays for the next two weeks. Today was my last day at the Ugandan Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), where I was working together with our Ugandan colleagues in a very relaxed and enthusiastic atmosphere. Typical for Ugandan planning and scheduling, UIRI management has only decided on Monday (19th) that the institute will not re-open its doors between Christmas and New Years. In the end, most work even stopped on Wednesday already, since the generator was out of order and electricity from the network only decided to bless us occasionally. Naively, I tried to continue to produce some yoghurt, only to realize that it is considerably harder to weigh 20 grams of frozen bacteria on an electric scale when power gets cut off in the middle of the process. In the end, I decided that our bacterial children also deserve a Christmas break anyway, and together with the UIRI staff we closed the doors for this year.
Now, out of the laboratory, I am looking forward to Christmas. Despite the absence of cold, snow, cookies, Christmas decoration and most importantly my family I am sure we will have a great time. Teaming up with a group of Europeans who are as family-less as we are in Uganda, we have rented little huts and tents on a private, small island in Lake Victoria. Celebrating with friends on a remote tropical island with (hopefully) white beaches, campfires, good food and alcoholic beverages seems like the perfect approach to distract yourself from the fact that you are not spending Christmas at home.
Even better, the absence of electricity on the island and the fact that we will have to bring all our food and drinks by boat will probably provide for the most adventurous Christmas anyone of us has ever had. I only remain with one doubt, namely the question whether I will find a palm tree that qualifies for the honorable position of dignified holder of my newly acquired (silver-blue) Christmas tree balls.
I hope all of you back at home will find a Christmas tree fulfilling all your demands as well.