Thursday, June 7, 2007

Reporter's Notebook

Tomorrow, I fly to Bukoba.

About a month ago, I sent an email out to about 200 people asking for help. I received hundreds of responses, ranging from "Are you kidding?" and "How strange!" comments to highly informative letters. 90+ of these were notes which contained useful information.

I have the names of 5 people who remember the incident, one woman who herself suffered from this epidemic, and the name of a doctor's assistant who treated people who suffered from this epidemic.

I have been told that it has a couple of names in the local language (Kihaya): Okuneepa or Omuneepo (or Omunepo).

I have a stack a names of people in the region - 15+ names - of people who are well connected and can help me to local folks.

A few other things I have discovered:

1. This region, Kagera, has a reputation for epidemics. It was where AIDS entered Tanzania -- as it contains a trucking route from Uganda. It was also ravaged by the Ebola virus.

2. It is a region which has endured floods of refuges from Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.

3. Okuneepa is still happening today.

I have plans to travel around the area, visiting the locations of these outbreaks, and visiting my contacts. But I've also learned that in Africa, things do not always go as planned.

More soon.

11 comments:

Sue said...

no hitch-hiking allowed.

Ellen Horne said...

Wasn't planning on it!

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