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.
It’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.
Three 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.
Yesterday 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.