Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Introduction to Kitovu Mobile

Today was my first official day going out in the field with my host organization, Kitovu Mobile.  They are a Catholic organization that helps people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS cope - through medicine, counseling, hygiene lessons, organic farming schools, an income generating activities and their main goal is to give their clients a new life.  Since meeting everyone at this organization they have been nothing but warm and welcoming to me.  They all call me by my Ugandan name Nassali, and get a kick out it every time that an American girl was given a clan name. This week before I settle down in my department, they are giving me the opportunity to go out the field with each one so that I can learn more about them.  They are Kitovu Mobile, meaning that they are always driving or even motorcycling out into villages.

Today I went with the Comprehensive Care & Treatment Program department who give medications to clients that are sick or feeling ill.  These particular clients are not on ARVS because their white blood cell count is still relatively high.  The first stop was at a Catholic Primary School in a village outside of Masaka.  The school was so huge and had what looked like close to 400 students.  As soon as they saw a Mzungu come out of the car about half of these 400 ran up to me.  The nurse who helps pass out the drugs had to keep reminding the little kids in Luganda that I was human.  He even told them, “Come feel her arm! She is just like us!”  It was such an overwhelming feeling, but a great one at that.  The next stop was another village even farther.  Here I met a boy who looked to be 11-13 who was picking up medication. The counselor who came along pulled me aside and told me about him.  He told me that the boy was born with AIDS and he was suffering from the sins of his parents, because transferring HIV/AIDS to your baby in the womb is preventable.  Sadly his mother didn’t take the necessary precautions.  He also told me about the stigmatization that people with HIV/AIDS face in Uganda and that if school children see this boy at the truck then they will mock him at his school.  This was by far the hardest part of my day, to see someone who was born with a virus that he had no control over but would be dealing with everyday of his life.

After we visited clients and passed out medication we hung out and bought some fruits from some of the nurse’s friends near by. It was a fun way to debrief after the day.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Uganda's Children

This post will be dedicated to shedding light on the children of Uganda. Since being here, all of the children have been so warm and inviting to me and the other interns. Whenever we walk down the street they yell for our attention and use the English words they know to speak to us.  Usually all they can say is, Bye, Hi, How are you, and See you Mzungu! It may be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!  Yesterday on my walk home a girl in my village who was probably 6 or 7 ran up to me grabbed my hand and ran away.  She wanted to do was touch a Mzungu, almost like she wanted to see if I felt the same as other people.  Kids in Uganda are also allowed to wander freely from their homes.  A lot of them leave with other kids near them and don’t come home until the end of the day.  In Uganda, they have the mentality of everyone working together to raise the children.  Here it is common to see people other than the parents taking care of and punishing kids.  As they say, “it takes a village to raise a child”.

However, the only things I’ve noticed about children here is not only their cuteness, but also how hardworking they are and have to be here.  Children cook, work, and clean for their family from ages as young as 6 years old – in many cases even younger.  Walking around the village I see many of them carrying sacks of coffee beans, matoke, or other fruits on their heads for far distances.  Many of them are also selling food on the streets.  In my home we have two house girls and a houseboy.  One of the house girls is 14 and does so much I couldn’t imagine doing it all at 14 years old, or even doing all that she does as a 21 year old.  She wakes up to prepare the house, then gets to school by 7, then comes home and cooks and cleans.  Her day never ends.  The other house girl who is even younger doesn’t go to school.  Her main responsibility is to take care of the 7-month-old baby.  The houseboy also cooks and cleans and they all answer to the head of household.  I have no clue how they do it.  I know that when I get back home to and get back in my lazy routine, I’ll have the memories of the children here to snap me out of it.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Hi Guys!

Its been a week now since I've been in Uganda and I absolutely love it! Don't get me wrong, I've already gone through my stages of homesickness but when I look at whats around me that feeling completely goes away.
I live with a Host Family. The father, Mr. Tamale is such a smart man! He is a former teacher and a former  Councilor for the mayor.  He has already taught me so much about the history of Buganda and its kingdom.  It is so interesting to hear about it from someone who was actually here during the times of President Amin instead of reading it from a book.
My favorite part so far is walking around the village of Masaka and seeing all the children stop and stare at me since I'm a Mzungu! lol That means strange person or foreigner.  They wave and yell MZUNGUU BIIEEE!! Its so strange to be in a place where there is hardly any diversity and I'm such an outsider.
I would write more but internet is so slow and uploading these pictures took almost 2 hours. Ask me anything and I'll answer.

Siiba Bulungi!!


Monday, May 21, 2012

My Night In Dubai!!


Our trip started in Dubai.  It was about a 15 hour flight with the sun out the whole time.  I sat next to an old Pakistani woman who spoke no English at all.  She got comfy with me right away because she slept on me about half of the way! And even though we spoke different languages we still communicated pretty good!

Flying over Dubai was amazing.  There was nothing but sand (because it is a dessert of course) then all of a sudden in the middle of it all pops up this huge developed oasis!  It was cray!  We landed only to find out that we didn’t have a hotel booked for us like promised to had to find our way to one and pay for it.  After exchanging our money to Dirhams, Ciara kept thinking that everyone wanted to cheat us and kept asking for a “hook up on Dirhams” from the desk clerk at the hotel.  We definitely got the stupid Americans look.  After checking in, the three of us took a night tour around the city and were amazing at all of the huge buildings and the cost of living. It is great to be able to say that I was in Dubai even for only 12 hours.  I think that is all I needed (and wanted) to be there.