One Week

I’ve been living in Uganda now for eighty-two days. In seven days I will travel to Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and then to Entebbe to stay at a hotel near the airport. In eight days I will board the first of my flights to travel back to the the USA. In nine days I will land in Boston.

IMG_3031.JPGIt’s incredible to have arrived at the last days of this journey and reflect on everything I have seen and experienced in Uganda. I’m so glad it’s not over yet and I still have time to enjoy being here! Daily life in the village has become so familiar to me, like I have tried on this new normal and found that it fits quite well. It’s hard to think about transitioning back to the American lifestyle.

The main difference I have found between life here and life in the states is that in the US we have glorified busyness, hurry, and a full schedule almost to the point of folly. In Uganda those concepts are barely on the radar.

The pace of life here is relaxed and fluid. People walk slowly, taking time to visit and have a conversation. The end of the work day, or a meeting, or a meal isn’t determined by a clock but by when the event is finished.

IMG_2932.JPGThree months living in Africa has been incredibly refreshing in many ways, and honestly I wouldn’t mind staying a bit longer. Of course I miss my dog and family and friends. I am happy to see them all soon, but I will be sad to leave Uganda.

I don’t want to go back to a normal where people are constantly busy, tired and stressed. I don’t want to leave the quiet simplicity of village life and the rhythm of the daily activities here. It will be challenging to say goodbye to my friends not knowing if we will ever meet again.

One of the things I have learned in my travels is the importance of leaving well. To start processing before you have to say goodbye. To anticipate the approaching change so you can truly experience the remaining days you have and appreciate every moment that you have before the chapter closes. To stay present, and stay in it until the end, and treasure the little things that make life here so rich. It also doesn’t hurt to plan a party and invite everyone you know!

I am so thankful for the opportunity I have had to live in Ddgeyea and be part of Engeye. With all of the unique challenges, ups and downs of the past three months, I can truly say that it has been an incredibly worthwhile experience.

IMG_2943Yesterday I accomplished one of the last requirements for this internship. Now my projects are completed, the trainings I conducted with the staff are finished, and my final presentation is done. All that remains to work on now is a final internship reflection paper.

It feels really good to have gotten to this point. I feel a great sense of accomplishment with what I’ve been able to learn and do at the clinic. I know that the materials I have created with the staff will help strengthen their programs and foster future growth. I just wish that I could stick around for a while and be part of the next steps of the process. It’s exciting!

The work that the staff here are doing to train the VHTs (community health workers) will have a direct impact on the future health of the people the surrounding communities. What they are doing will literally save lives. I’m so thankful to have gotten to share in their work, if only for a few short months.

Here’s to the incredible people that make the Engeye Clinic such a wonderful place! Webale omulimo omulungi.

Engeye

 

 

Ten Weeks!

TIMG_2404his weekend I am finishing my tenth week in Uganda, with three weeks left till home. I am beginning to plan for my final internship presentation and wrapping up my remaining tasks. I’m also taking time to appreciate being here and the unique aspects of life that I so enjoy!

Life in the village is so peaceful. Shortly after the sun goes down, things get quiet and people settle in for the night. I wake up when the morning light starts streaming through my windows and have time to relax and get ready for the day before heading over for breakfast.

There’s a rhythm to life here that feels so natural, rising with the sun and letting the evening sounds lull you to sleep.

I haven’t had coffee since I got here, and I find that I don’t really miss it. It has been replaced by cups of decaffeinated African tea. It’ll be interesting to see how long this change sticks when I’m back in the land of Starbucks and rush hour drives to 9 am classes.

By far my most favorite aspect of life here is that most everything is outside! The kitchen IMG_2405is outside; the eating area is outside. The two clinic buildings are small, with one about the size of a classroom, and the other a bit larger. The building doors stay open and the walls are lined with open windows and vents allowing the free flow of wind, sound, and light. My morning commute is a few minute walk over red dirt paths to the clinic.

The local shops are small open air store fronts containing mostly basic necessities. Traveling to another village or town means hopping onto the back of a motorcycle. There are motorcycles everywhere, even occasionally in the second clinic building! Riding on the dirt roads and paths is a blast!

People here are friendly, even though I can pretty much only manage basic greetings in Lugandan, passing anyone while walking around involves greetings and smiles.IMG_2233

Tea time is around 9:30 or 10, or whenever you decide you want a break and a snack. You can get a chapatti from the clinic shop and then usually find a few other people around the picnic tables enjoying the morning break.

In the mornings I do my clinic work until I finish the day’s tasks. Then I like to head over to the picnic tables and work on internship projects until lunch at 2pm. Lunch is pretty much a combination of the same three or four Ugandan staples, and maybe some kind of squash.

After lunch I find a project to work on or talk with people until things quiet down around 4 or 5. Some days I’ll take some time to sit outside and read a book.

IMG_2087It’s silly, but every once in a while it hits me while I’m wandering around that I’m in Uganda and I grin like an idiot and open my eyes wider to see and take in as much as I can!

The days are simple and repetitive, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. The clinic offers high quality services to the community, seeing more and more patients as time goes on. My clinic work is to record the patient totals and diagnoses for weekly and monthly reports for the Ugandan Ministry of Health. For me, it’s the same thing every day, but because I’m doing it other staff are able to see more patients.

Free time in the evenings I usually fill with a book or my guitar. I’ll watch a movie on my laptop from time to time, but there’s no TV and no Netflix.

There are several little lizards that live on the walls of my house and a tiny little mouse I named Pete who’s small enough to slip under the crack of my front door. The first time I saw him he was maybe the size of my big toe. He makes an appearance from time to time.
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I feel like I have settled into the rhythm of life here, but I am also very excited to be going home in 21 days. My internship project has gone well, and there are only a few things remaining to finish. All of the necessary travel plans are in place for the 5 hour drive to Entebbe, a place to stay over night, and transport to the airport to catch my first flight on August 5th, which also happens to be my birthday!

Two Months and Two Thirds!

 

This weekend marks two months in Uganda! I hit half way through my three months a couple weeks ago, but spent most of that week sick in bed. Thankfully, that was an isolated incident in this otherwise healthy experience. But, I will never again take having a bathroom inside my house in the USA for granted. Or Gatorade and chicken noodle soup.

thumb_IMG_1576_1024Today is my niece Addie’s eighth birthday. It’s strange, but her birthday has become one of those dates that is a marker for different events in my life. And I don’t need timehop or facebook to help me remember.

When she was born I got to hold her in my arms before she was a full day old. She was the first baby I had ever really been around and I was scared she would break if I held her wrong! I had just graduated high school and she was the first of the next generation of our family.

As her birthday is in mid summer it has often correlated with me returning from international trips, or being still away from home on longer adventures.

She still “remembers” that I missed her fifth birthday when I was in Zambia and reminds me of it ever once in a while, like completely randomly when we’re playing outside on the swing set. It’s going to take me a while to get out of the doghouse for missing today.

But I think that’s one of the best things about the people we have in our lives that love us. Because they value our presence they notice our absence, and we know that we are loved. Instead of saying “I miss you” it’s more appropriate when you truly feel the absence of someone you love to say “you are missing from me.” It’s like saying I’m not whole without you.

There’s something precious about that feeling of absence that teaches us to love the people around us; to appreciate their presence and not take them for granted. To feel the strain of missing them makes it so much sweeter to see them again.

Just this past week a family at my church suddenly lost a husband and a father, a good man who will be sorely missed. As my heart breaks for their loss I am reminded of the unpredictable nature of this life and the reality that we are not promised tomorrow. A lesson that I was already in the process of learning has become painfully real.

I need to stop taking the people I love for granted.

thumb_IMG_1866_1024I also need to stop taking this experience in Uganda for granted and get my head back in the game.

I’ve spent most of this past month going through the same daily routines, accomplishing my internship work, and filling the time by reading books and playing guitar. It’s been a rather quiet, at times very lonely month. The initial excitement of being in a new place has faded and my travels to the different villages have been completed. Now I’m pretty much at the clinic every day.

Most all interactions here occur in Lugandan, and since my grasp of the language is pathetically lacking, at most meals and in the clinic I function in the role of observer, frustratingly unable to fully engage. It is the lot of all who experience new cultures and new languages, to exist as an “other”.

Honestly it’s very easy to get bogged down in that feeling, especially when you’re the only outsider in the community. This isolation had really gotten into me for about a week and I remember sitting at breakfast one morning feeling particularly miserable, missing home and feeling the days remaining in my trip stretched out before me and there was absolutely nothing I could do to make them pass any faster. I was stuck in the reality of living out each minute of every day.

Then a different thought hit me, and I started to laugh at myself for having such a bad attitude and being so foolish. When exactly did this amazing adventure become a mundane trial?

Perspective is an incredibly powerful thing.
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It is so easy to let your attitude turn sour when life gets hard. The challenge is to realize it, change it, and keep moving forward. See, just like your third grade teacher told you, you can choose to have a better attitude, and it just might change your whole world.

It’s amazing how much my experience has changed since my breakfast revelation.

I’m striving to have more conversations with the people around me, looking for moments to connect and learn more about the staff here. Sharing tea time with people and taking breaks from my work to wander around the clinic and say hello to people.
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There’s another intern here who is from a university in the nearest city, he arrived a few weeks ago. I moved my work spot from the main clinic to the other building where there are a couple desks so we can share the space instead of each of us being alone. I’m learning a lot from him about the culture and we keep each other entertained.

I’ve been taking walks around the area just to explore, or go visit Eddie’s shop by the main road. I find that I see so much more beauty in the world around me when I’m actually looking for it.

I’m reminded of that old quote from Jim Elliot, “where ever you are, be all there.” It’s way harder to live out than it sounds. But it might just be the most worthwhile advice I’ve ever heard.

I’ve got a whole month left in Uganda, just over 30 days to see and experience as much as I can before I get to go back home and see the family and friends who have been missing from me. I know the time will be both fast and slow, but I am resolved to be all in. And I’m trusting that the best is yet to come.

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One Month Reflections

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This past weekend marked one month in Uganda!
The time has been both long and short. In some ways I feel each day passing like it’s several, it other ways I feel like I just got here. There have been a lot of ups and downs, adjusting, making some cultural blunders and making friends.
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The highlights of the trip so far are many. My first week here I had a great time getting to know the visiting medical team. My second week I really enjoyed going on an outreach clinic to a small village and getting to see more of what life is like in the village setting. My third week I had a blast traveling to different villages in the parish and meeting the VHTs, from the boda rides to the surrounding countryside, it was simply incredible. This last week I have learned a lot working at the clinic on monthly reports and compiling the data I have gathered so far for my project.

Last week had its own unique challenges. I found out that a friend of mine from home who I have known my whole life had passed away.

A caution – I’m going to share something here that I normally wouldn’t share publically. I’m not looking for a reaction, so please refrain from overly sympathetic comments. I’m sharing this because it’s part of my story, and it’s a thing that happens when you travel for extended trips. It’s a reality of life, and a hard thing to navigate when you’re alone in a new place. I’m writing to get a chance to get this off my chest, but hopefully, also to share what I’ve learned in a way that can help someone else who may someday find themselves in my shoes.

Grief is a tricky thing. When I first heard, of course I was sad, but it didn’t really hit me. I’m a friendly person, but I’m naturally introverted and keep my deepest thoughts and feelings to myself, or shared with very close friends. At home, when someone dies there are the normal outlets to process grief, swapping stories with friends and family, sharing the weight of sadness in small ways with others, attending services, and saying goodbye.

When you’re alone in a different culture you don’t have those things. Anyone who’s traveled for more than a few weeks would agree, that when you’re away from home your normal emotional processes get a little jumbled. I have friends who have told me stories of crying over things like failed recipe attempts to make a food from home, or finding a special candy bar at a store, or writing a blog post online just to have the internet crash when they tried to post it. You never know how you will react to small things when “normal” has been removed. When something bigger happens it’s always a roll of the dice for how you will respond.

It was late in the evening when I heard the news. My mind wandered to endless hours working with my friend, who I had been taught from childhood to call Sister Clarke, and her husband at our church’s food pantry when I was in high school. We spent so much of that time talking, she shared so many stories with me and so much life wisdom. I thought of her encouragement and advice she shared with me before and after every international trip, and the support and love she so generously gave. I thought of all the times she prayed for me. I thought of her stubbornness and how she stuck up for what she believed in and didn’t mind if anyone disagreed. I remembered times she gave people a run for their money when they did something she didn’t agree with. And I remembered our last conversation. I fell asleep reminiscing. It hit me the next day.

I filled the morning with work and avoided talking with people. How do you even start that conversation? I wasn’t convinced I would be able to get through the rest of the day without crying, and not wanting to lose it in front of everyone at the clinic I retreated to my house to work there for the afternoon.

When I had had my fill of being alone I wandered over to the picnic tables for supper. I was ready to talk with people, but as fate would have it, the usual dinner crowd was nowhere to be found. I ate alone and felt the weight of it. I headed back home and started to cry as I walked. There’s a unique sinking feeling when you are carrying something, are finally ready to share it, then have no one to share it with. The loneliness that comes with that is intense.

As I walked home crying I ran into my closest friend here. She thought I had fallen or was hurt or something. I explained through tears what was going on, she told me to “take courage.” I calmed down and we talked briefly, then I headed home to privately grieve.

To put it frankly I was mortified that I had lost my composure in front of my friend. I try to avoid excessive displays of emotion as a general rule. But what I learned is that grief demands to be felt. It might just hit you when you least expect it and you might be embarrassed, but that’s okay. Sharing your pain with someone is important. Getting hung up on pride and image will shoot you in the foot every time when you are living internationally. And when your emotions are jumbled and you don’t have your normal outlets, you need to give yourself grace and time.

I’m writing this from a peaceful shaded veranda at a hostel in the nearest city. I had already planned to take this weekend to get away and relax, but I didn’t know how much I would really need it until a few days ago. As I sit and enjoy the beauty of the day, the view of the surrounding hills and the light warm breeze, I know that this weekend  my church family will gather to celebrate and remember the life of an incredible woman. As much as I wish I could be there, I can not.

When you are living in a different culture there is a certain amount of stress that is constantly just below the surface. A lot of times it just becomes normal and goes unnoticed. Then you wonder why you got so (insert emotion here) because of something very small, like getting ripped off by a boda guy, or when you watch a sappy movie. It’s important to realize that you need time to rest.

Taking a few days to get away and relax isn’t always an indulgence, sometimes it’s a necessity. It doesn’t make you weak or a bad traveler to admit that you need a break. In fact, taking that break will allow you to be better equipped to continue your work. It’s better for you and for the people around you if you take the time you need.

So here’s your permission, take a break for a day or two, then continue your work.

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Visiting The Seven (What I’m doing in Uganda)

Although I have many reasons for being in Uganda this summer, the main reason is to complete an internship for my public health Master’s program. There were lots of wonderful opportunities for internships in New York, but for me, the chance to travel and explore a new place could not be ignored.

But what am I actually doing here? Great question.thumb_IMG_9469_1024

My role at the Engeye Clinic: I’m helping with data collection for weekly and monthly diagnostic and treatment reports that must be submitted to the Ministry of Health. I spend my mornings reviewing patient information from previous days and tracking vital statistics. I’m focusing a lot on malaria (which is a huge problem here), immunizations, family planning, and overall demographic spreads for key diagnoses. Although the work gets repetitive, it’s interesting to learn so much about the health problems in this community.

thumb_IMG_9360_1024After completing those morning duties, I get to focus on the fun part, my internship project. Engeye offers trainings to local community health workers on various health topics, and I am working with the training program.

Here’s what you need to know to understand what I’m doing: In Uganda several years ago the government selected four people from each village who were leaders in their communities to be trained as VHTs (Village Health Teams). Each village should have a team comprised of individual VHTs who were given some sort of training by the government and are responsible for helping to spread knowledge on health practices and prevention of disease to people in their villages.

But, that was a long time ago and the VHTs still need more training and support. Engeye (the clinic I’m at) has connected with the local VHTs to offer them additional trainings and create a bridge into the local villages. Engeye wants to see preventable diseases being prevented, so they are partnering with the VHTs to increase knowledge and health at the community level

Here’s the cliff notes of what I’m doing: I’m working with Engeye to help make the VHT trainings even stronger. How? There’s this thing called an “Exploratory Evaluation”or “Evaluability Assessment” that looks at a program and makes sure it thumb_thumb_IMG_9775_1024_1024has all the pieces it should have to function correctly. So right now I’m learning as much as I can about the trainings and the VHTs to have an idea of the program’s goals and objectives. There’s a bunch of things that go into the project, but the next step will be to work with the people who plan the trainings to define a clear program goal and various measurable steps that they will achieve to reach that goal.

Here’s the cool part: John, the Ugandan man who runs the clinic, suggested that I go visit each of the seven villages that make up the area surrounding the clinic. That way I could interview the VHTs in their own villages and learn from them, but also see more of Uganda and learn about village life. John has awesome ideas.
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Visiting the seven: Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that these visits are like going on an epic adventure… but that’s how it feels to me. It’s so exciting! One of my friends at the clinic helps me contact the VHTs in a village and set up a meeting. I get the name of the person who’s house I’m headed to and the village they live in. Then me and my friend Barbara (she translates for me) hop onto the back of a boda (motorcycle) and hope the driver actually does know how to get to the place we ask him to take us to. Then we ride!
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Sometimes the ride is just 5 minutes, sometimes its 25 minutes over winding, eroded, bumpy red paths through the bush. And I never know how long it will be, what it will be like, or where we’re going. I think that’s what makes it so exciting.

We arrive and meet the VHTs. We have good discussions aboutthumb_IMG_9995_1024 life as a VHT and the impact of the Engeye trainings as I lead the group with questions. I have so enjoyed these conversations. There is often lots of laughter, but also serious, even poignant moments when people share about the needs in their village or their passion for helping people. I am so lucky to get to meet these amazing volunteers and learn from them. They are ordinary people making an incredible difference.thumb_thumb_IMG_9904_1024_1024

Between this week and last I have visited five of the seven villages and I am already scheming up reasons why I should need to go back and visit again! It was on one of these visits that I found my favorite spot in Uganda.

We had ridden the boda for at least 20 minutes over some of the most uneven paths I have seen so far. When we finally emerged through the thick bush, to our right was athumb_IMG_0072_1024 sweeping view of miles and miles of green hills, to our left was the biggest tree I have seen in Uganda. It was incredibly thick with huge sprawling roots and massive branches reaching up and out in all directions. If you know how I feel about trees, than you know how excited I was. We passed the amazing tree and turned up a path to a house with a matching sweeping view behind it. Between the tree and the views I was in love.
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I am frustrated that I can’t figure out a way to be up at that house for a sunrise or a sunset to record a time lapse with my gopro. It is absolutely the prettiest place I have seen this month and I would LOVE to witness the cascading colors of sunset and the vast starry sky from it’s remote perch.

This adventure in Uganda has been incredible so far!

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Daily Life

IMG_9577A typical weekday here starts off around 7am for me. The noises of morning life, animals, and the sunlight filtering into the room draw me out of sleep. I get ready for the day and walk on a red dirt path over to the clinic. If I look to my right, there is a beautiful view of the valley and adjacent hill, sometimes shrouded in morning mist and sometimes glittering with dew in the sunlight.IMG_9587

I head over to the outdoor kitchen and dining area and settle in at the picnic tables. I greet Mama Jackie, the cook, and anyone else who is around. I make a plate of whatever is for breakfast, usually fruit and bread or eggs. They don’t really drink coffee here, so I’ve adjusted to having tea in the morning. I like to sit with my back to the bunk house looking out at the view and enjoy the serenity of the area as I eat.IMG_9590

Around 8:00ish I go to the clinic, which is the next building over. Sometimes I hang out a bit longer with Mama Jackie and help with something she is making. At the clinic, I gather the log books for the different data that is collected and a computer. There’s a little desk with a window that has become my spot. For the next few hours I review patient data from the previous day on the electronic medical records system. I am tracking malaria cases and treatments, demographics for appointments, immunizations, family planning, and types of treatments administered. I log this data into different notebooks that will be used to complete weekly and monthly reports that the clinic is responsible for turning into the Ministry of Health. It’s not difficult, but it is time consuming and repetitive.

The morning is usually broken up by dropping in to visit different people around the clinic and talking with people. The COs (clinical officers, similar to physician assistants) here see patients in the clinic. There are three of them Bridget, Henry and Esther, and they are awesome! I ask them questions all the time and am really enjoying getting to know them. My friends Sylvia and Olivia work in the lab, and Resty works in the pharmacy. John who runs the clinic, checks in patients and is constantly helping out in other areas and engaging with the community. Eddie, the friendly grounds keeper, is always around doing something.

IMG_9610Lunchtime varies depending on how busy the day is. It’s usually ready around 1:15ish, but most of the staff eats around 2. I try to time my lunch to match with everyone else. There is a limited rotation of foods that are served for lunch and dinner. Depending on the day, the meal might consist of various combinations of noodles, rice, beans, cabbage, cooked non-sweet bananas and a very interesting semi-sweet purple g-nut (or ground-nut) sauce.

Lunch is usually a lively time of relaxing and joking around. By 2pm the day has really gotten hot, but usually there is a breeze that offers some reprieve. Sitting at the picnic tablesIMG_9612 in the shade of the pseudo back porch area of the bunk house is usually one of the nicest places to be. The picnic tables serve as a sort of community gathering place, and people frequent them at all times of the day.

After lunch I hop back to my house and swap out my supplies for clinic work with my own laptop and whatever documentation I am going through for my internship work (I’ll describe my project in a later post). Then I settle in for a few hours of work at the picnic tables. I’m usually joined by a few kids who are curious about my computer or who want to color or play soccer. After getting some work done I usually take some time to play or join in the coloring.
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The rest of the afternoon I hang out around the clinic and chat with people or head back to my house to do things. The next few hours are free until dinner around 8:30. I often relax at my house, hang out with people around the clinic, or bring my journal or a book over to the picnic tables. Dinner is usually some combination of lunch left overs and traditional staples (I’ll do an in-depth food post later!). After dinner ends I head home and get ready for bed. The days are full and I’m usually pretty tired by dinner time. If you were wondering what a day looks like for me, that’s pretty much the normal!

Settling In

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Sharing last week with the visiting team was a blast! I enjoyed hanging out with them
around the clinic and getting to know them, sharing laughs playing Cards Against Humanity, and swapping travel stories. Last week Dr. Kathy, my internship mentor, helped me get to know the area by visiting the local health clinics, the nearest town, Kinoni, and the nearest city, Masaka. She graciously answered my endless questions about the basics of life here. Some aspects of life here are really not self-explanatory. Simple things are important to learn: where do I put my garbage, how to get a taxi and what I should expect to pay for certain distances, where to buy laundry detergent, how do I show respect to elders, ect. Navigating life here is so much easier when you have a guide! I’m thankful to have had company for the first week of this summer to help me adjust.IMG_9067

On Saturday morning the team and Dr. Kathy headed back to the states. I did some work at the clinic (I’ll explain more of what I’m actually doing in a later post). At lunch some of the staff here asked me if I was going to “The Introduction” later that day. Now, I had heard rumors of this “introduction” all week, everyone was excited for a big community party. In this culture an engagement is celebrated by an “introduction”, a party hosted by the bride’s family to welcome a groom and his family into the community.

I had plans to meet a peace corps volunteer who is staying in the area that night so I was hesitant to say yes to the introduction, but the staff insisted I IMG_9456go. They also insisted I was a “gomezi” or traditional dress. There were lots of giggles as I figured out how to put one on, and they helped me get the outfit on correctly. It was fun to be part of the excitement as all the girls got ready.

I thought we were just walking down the road to the party, but it turns out we were actually taking “transport” in the form of “bodas” (motorcycles or dirt bikes). Typically, men drive and their passengers ride on the back, if you’re a lady you are expected to ride sidesaddle, balanced with both legs on one side of the bike. To put it mildly I was scared. I was wearing this fancy borrowed dress (that I was not completely convinced would stay on appropriately), getting on to the back of a dirt bike sidesaddle, about to ride some unknown distance down a pitted dirt road with a stranger driving. And it was awesome!

Riding sidesaddle really isn’t hard at all, and once you get going you don’t have to worry about keeping your balance. The driver did well avoiding people and potholes, and the ride was really only a couple minutes. It was a new and exhilarating experience, and thankfully the gomezi traveled just fine!IMG_9402

The Introduction was a huge party, with I’d guess a few hundred people gathered. There was dancing and food and the wedding parties and both sides of the family, and gifts exchanged. The bride and the wedding party were dressed in beautiful gomezis, and there were traditional Ugandan dancers who were incredible.

IMG_9447The party was long! We got there a little late, around 2:30, and by the time the sun went down around 7:00 I was exhausted. They hadn’t even gotten to the cake yet! I decided I should head home as I had forgotten to bring bug spray and a flashlight. (I won’t be forgetting those things ever again, even if I don’t think I’ll be out long!). I rode a boda back home and settled in for the night.

Sunday morning I went with my friend Sylvia (who works at the clinic) to church in Kinoni. Kinoni is the nearest town, just a few minutes ride down the main road. We took a car/taxi that was the size of a five-seater Camry, with a total of 11 people crammed into it! Well, 10 really, because 5 year old Maria is pretty small, and she was sitting on my lap.

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The Church in Kinoni

We went to the Catholic mass in Kinoni, as we were walking up to the building I was struck by it’s unique design. I have only been to a Catholic service a few times, but it was a cool experience. The service was in Lugandan, so I didn’t understand anything, but I loved to hear the beautiful singing!

Sunday afternoon was spent getting more unpacked and talking with friends. Sundays the clinic is closed and things are pretty quiet. It’s a good day for catching up on things and relaxing. I played a little guitar and read a book!