Monday, October 6, 2014

Arrival in Uganda

(Originally posted Aug. 28, 2014)
Hello from Uganda! I arrived safely  to the Ugandan Christian University in Mukono,Uganda on Sunday morning (8/24) about 5 am.The wi-fi on campus is not always very constant along with the power, so communication can be a bit more challenging at times. We were not approved for wi-fi until yesterday so that is why I have not posted anything to my blog since before I left.
This first week has been filled up with various orientation sessions, for both the university and the Uganda Studies Program. Also getting settled into our new home for the next four months has been a major priority. I am staying in one of the Honors College dorms and will have a Ugandan roommate in about two weeks, when classes actually start. On Sunday afternoon we hiked up Monkey Hill, and were able to see great views of Mukono.  I have been surprised by the lush plants and trees as well as the hilly terrain on campus and the surrounding community. The views are beautiful in their own unique way.  
View of Mukono from Monkey Hill
 On Tuesday, my Uganda Studies Program (USP) peers went on a scavenger hunt around Mukono Town to locate specific items/ places. We were asked to find yogurt (which I was surprised to find in some of the larger  shops), what the word  muzungu means (white person), where to get laundry soap, clothes pins, and other such items. The main task was to load airtime (minutes) onto our USP phones. This experience was a bit interesting since it was raining for most of our trek into town. In Uganda everything shuts down when it rains, and as Americans we were not bothered by the rain since we had umbrellas or rain jackets. Several Ugandans thought this was pretty comical. After our scavenger hunt we had the opportunity to explore around Mukono a bit more. A few of us got to experience a Ugandan open air market with shops lining the street as far as you can see in the midst of shoulder to shoulder people. It was a sight to be a part of and observe. (I hope to go back and take a picture at some point.)
Today I learned where I will be completing my social work internship. The organization is Reach One, Touch One Ministries (ROTOM). This organization provides care, friendship, hope and support to the disadvantaged elderly in Uganda. I am excited to have the incredible opportunity to work, serve, and learn from this organization, my supervisors and this unique population group. I entered this experience with an open mind as to where I would be place, and I am sure that God has placed me exactly where he wants me.
I will be leaving for Rwanda on Fri. for about a 10 day trip to learn more about the genocide and the current efforts towards reconciliation.  This trip has the potential to be very emotionally tasking so your prayers are greatly appreciated. Here are a few things to be praying for this week:
  • safe travels to and from Rwanda( 18 hr bus ride to our destination in Rwanda, and then back to campus)
  •  grace and patience with my USP peers (both American and Ugandan-7 honors college students are going with us as part of their UCU requirements)
  •  a willingness to actively learn from the people we meet as well as the memorial sites/organizations we visit

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