Sunday, January 20, 2008

Up, Up, and Away!

Flight to Entebbe, Uganda: $2,204.22
Vaccines and medication for yellow fever, tetanus, rabies, meningitis, hepatitis, typhoid, tuberculosis, polio, and malaria (but not ebola): $1,179.00
Observing chimpanzees in the wild: PRICELESS

You may have heard of this inspirational woman and pioneer of primatology- Jane Goodall. She's so big now, she has an institute. If you are receiving this email from me, there is no doubt you have heard of her, and I am excited to announce that I will be working as a research assistant at (you guessed it) the Jane Goodall Institute in the Budongo Forest of Uganda for 3 months. Then I will be off exploring other areas of Africa for a few months.

I will be helping collect data for a PhD student's thesis project assessing chimpanzee stress response to human impact on the forest. Basically, humans cutting down trees, hunting animals, and otherwise disturbing the habitat stresses the chimps out; sustained levels of high stress can lead to lower immune function (you know how you always get sick during finals week...).

With lower immune function comes lower long-term survival, bad news for an endangered species! Considering conservation, the goal is to create a management plan to protect the chimps and educate the locals on the importance of conserving their dwindling resources.

And this won't be a luxury safari- far from it. No electricity, no running water. As for accommodations, I was told to bring a tent and sleeping bag. Nonetheless, I've never been so excited!

By now it should be fairly obvious that I will be away from all the modern conveniences of the internet, though I will try to make it to Masindi town (about 40 km from my tent) to check email and charge batteries every now and then. I will send out monthly updates of my whereabouts and adventures, and I will also try to write in my brand new blog ( Also check out my photo page when you get a chance (

I wish everyone an adventurous, eventful (and safe!) 2008.
-Katie Hall

PS If you do not want to receive emails, or if you want them sent to a different address, please let me know asap!

PPS I'm taking bets for the maximum number of bug bites I may have at any given moment

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