This 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 It has been replaced by cups of decaffeinated African tea.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 is 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.
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.
It’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.
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!