the first day of the tour visiting African Barrick Gold’s open-pit Buzwagi mine, and a few community development projects in the nearby area, the second day of the tour was devoted strictly to visiting community projects around Buzwagi and Bulyanhulu—and making the short trip between the two mines. Once more, as promised, here are some pictures to share a little bit of what I saw. Enjoy! African Barrick Gold Tour Day 2 in Pictures The first stop of the day was the new Mwendakulima ward offices that African Barrick Gold helped construct. There we met the chairman of the ward, who had very good things to say about the positive relationship between ABG’s Buzwagi mine and the surrounding villages. Then, we went to see ABG’s resettlement project which relocated villagers living in rudimentary mud housing like this… …to more permanent structures like this one, on a new plot of land. We then flew out on the company plane, “The Dash”… …and made the short 15-minute trip to Bulyanhulu. …where immediately, we could feel African Barrick Gold’s corporate presence again. The “airport” at Bulyanhulu was a hive of activity, with many ABG employees leaving for or arriving from their regular time off . Unlike Buzwagi, which is ABG’s newest mine, Bulyanhulu is older, caters not only to ABG staff but also to their families, and has much more of a community feel. The foliage was outstanding… I couldn’t help but take a picture of this beautiful tree. The Bulyanhulu canteen serves a mean meal… …and the warmth of the service staff gave it a very homely feel. After a quick lunch, we went to visit community development projects around Bulyanhulu. The first stop was a VCT Centre located off the mine site, which catered both to ABG staff and the surrounding community. We spoke with the medical staff, who explained the importance of fighting HIV in the surrounding community in order to fight HIV effectively among ABG staff. Then we visited Bugarama Secondary School, constructed by African Barrick Gold… …which had three science labs–one each for the study of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics–that reminded me a lot of the science labs at the high school I attended. We found this Form 4 Physics class in progress, and from the look of things, it’s not surprising to hear that Bugarama Secondary School students do very well in Science subjects on National Examinations. We didn’t visit the other classrooms at Bugarama Secondary School… …but we did visit the headmaster’s office, where we saw this poster… …and this one, giving me great hopes for the long-term benefits this school will bring to the surrounding community. (Sadly for these students, who we caught being disciplined, discipline at this school is not just a lofty sounding idea–ouch!) As we left the school, I noticed that here, too, there were many bicycles…(again, any correlation with relative prosperity?). We passed thorough housing projects on the way to our next stop and saw houses like this one… …and this one, built for African Barrick Gold staff through a housing loan scheme. Our last stop for the day was IBUKA, a cooperative formed by 8 villages around ABG’s Bulyanhulu mine, which inspired me by the proactive way in which the community had organized itself to interact with the mine. Tired and exhausted after a long day, it was a pleasure to get to my room and find this welcoming sight as I opened the door (I thought the towel was a nice touch! :-)).
And just for kicks, this is what it was actually like driving into the gold mine in Bulyanhulu.
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