We have been informed that the clearing of the site will begin this week. We know that when the project begins, it’ll pick up quickly.
We have been able to work with both the younger and older students of Hope Academy these past couple of weeks. We have joined the other Nourish Chapters in visiting local schools and giving speeches to encourage pursuing an education. It has been a great experience because not only have we been able to reach out to the students, but we have also helped with moving towards a more organized means of communication.
Additionally, Kanoko and I have been able to participate in the other ongoing project. We were able to attend the delivery of the goats and visit the families who would also be receiving goats. Visiting these families was definitely eye-opening, as they don’t have much wealth, food, or a sturdy home.
The other day we were able to see where they are putting the new school building, and we hope that clearing and construction will begin soon.
While we are waiting for construction on the new school building to begin, we went to a market over the weekend where the URF was selling some of its products, especially its soap and jelly. The President of Uganda made an appearance but turned around before reaching their booth. We were able to get some souvenirs from local craftsmen at the market though so that was good.
I got a first hand experience into Uganda medical practice when I became ill yesterday morning. The staff has been very helpful and comforting though which I have much appreciated.
Apart from that, we spend most of our time going between meals; reading, watching movies, avoiding getting sunburned, playing with the younger students and talking to the older students.
We have made many trips to Masaka to a place called Plot 99, which is a little piece of Muzungu (foreigner) heaven. The cab rides are not one to which we are normally akin to, even being packed 9 people to a 5 person sedan as well as being bartered off between taxi cabs. It is quite the experience.
Thats all there is for now, hopefully the project will start soon and my illness will cure.
Its been almost one week since we have arrived in Uganda. Besides that global time difference, we have discovered a cultural time difference as well. Americans tend to hold tight to schedules and hours while we have noticed that in Uganda, the concept of time is much more lenient. When asking the time of the meeting or the day of starting work, we have become accustomed to the response of the time or day, plus or minus an hour or a day.
We haven’t began working on the project yet, but when the project does start, it appears to be headed by local, contracted workers. To pass some of the time we have played with the kids during their breaks from class, watched a student debate, went to a church service, bottled some of the soap they sell for school funds, and made a trip to Masaka.
We have become friends with the other Nourish group here working on a project and often do things together to help pass the time while we wait for another thing to do or for the project to start.
Uganda has some very beautiful wildlife. The surrounds are that of which you would see in photos. Very lush, very green and very natural. If only we could see more wild animals. There are many animals at the compound; turkeys, a cow, goats, chickens, ducks and pigs. We are often awoken by one of the many roosters in the morning as well as the calls of some of the local birds.
We will keep you all posted!
The day has finally arrived. We are going to Uganda. We will all be arriving in Entebbe come 1p.m. Saturday if everything goes according to plan. Certainly we are all excited, but for me, this trip is a dream over 5 years in the making. Starting with my high school’s sister school in Uganda, to various other organizations I support, the ability to finally work directly with the people I have been helping from afar is a feeling that cannot be described. I could never thank Nourish enough for providing this opportunity to students. Our project in Masaka is to build a school for primary school children. Our team consists of all girls: myself and Brenda from Boston University, and Kanoko from Hope College.
In preparation for the trip we have all obtained the required documents, immunizations, and training to have a successful trip. Two of us, myself and Kanoko, have the additional benefit of having friends who live in Uganda. They have been invaluable resources for not just our comfort in going, but also in helping us prepare for the language and cultural aspects of the country. We are hoping to be able to see our friends during the trip if time and travel permits.
I would describe my excitement for this trip to the excitement experienced before bungee jumping. There is a happy, desirable aspect and another more apprehensive, slightly scared, side. You don’t know quite what to expect until you are in the situation. No amount of second hand knowledge can make that go away. I find the fear is all apart of the fun. You know it will be a once in a lifetime experience, taking that initial leap, but the ride is what you are truly waiting for.
I plan to continue posting on Thursday or Friday of each week throughout the trip, so check back then if you plan to follow along.
P.S. This is my first blog ever so I apologize if it was a little messy. I am hoping to get better as the trip progresses.
See you all from Uganda!
It is coming to the end of Week 1, and we are excited to be here and integrate into Dominican life!
We arrived on Tuesday at the Santiago airport, and were picked up by Allie, our 3MM coordinator and correspondent. She took us to the hotel that we are staying at, and we’ve been learning about the Dominican Republic and what we’ll be doing here ever since.
We are staying in the town of Cabarete, a beautiful beach town renown for its kite surfing. There is a large tourist population here, but there are also many Dominicans and local hotspots that allow us to experience authentic Dominican life. The currency is in pesos, and we are completely amazed (and thrilled) that everything – food, entertainment, transportation – is incredibly cheap. A meal of chicken, rice, beans, and salad costs less than $4! We mainly eat at our hotel, but we have gone out several times and love tasting the cuisine here. (Mmmm…fried plantains!)
On Wednesday Allie showed us 3 Mariposas Montessori, the school we are working with. We met with Sarah, the founder of 3MM, and both have been incredible in describing to us how the school was created and what vision they have for these children. They are an incredible asset to the area, and are so inspirational! Not everyone can move to the Dominican Republic, build a school, and one by one give a child something priceless – a good education.
Allie also gave us a tour of La Cienaga, the impoverished community surrounding the school where most of the children come from. Many of the houses are single bedroom homes made of wood and tin, and very few have working electricity. And yet, there is a kind and cheerful spirit in the area, where kids play on the dirt and neighbors gather for a chat.
We met the children of the school after both of these tours, and they are a lively, fun bunch. And so cute! At first they were shy to us and nervous about meeting more foreigners, but they are beginning to adjust and now greet us with a squeal and a plead to “piggy back ride”. We also eat our lunches with families that live in La Cienaga, so the kids get to see us both at the school and in their home setting. We are greatly appreciative of the good food and the company that these families and kids give us, and they have welcomed us with open arms.
Along with us there are four French interns our age working at 3MM doing media and communication promotions, and we have befriended them and basically become a group of 10. They are all really nice and it is great because not only is our Spanish improving, but so is our French! We constantly joke that when we come back to the USA, we’ll be able to speak everything BUT English.
Our week has been great, and the only challenges that we’ve had are minor. The language barrier was difficult at first, but slowly we are improving and communicating better. We are also getting ATTACKED by mosquitoes – everyone is so itchy, but it’s a small price to pay for how beautiful everything is here.
Following our week at the school, we had our first excursion yesterday where we learned to surf! Everyone did a great job, and got up several times on the board. We all agreed that surfing is really fun yet really tiring – for every 30 seconds you spend riding the wave, there are 20 minutes of getting out and trying to catch the wave. We all want to go back and try again, to hone our skills!
Overall, we are really thankful for all of our experiences so far, and we are getting excited to start working on our main project of the trip tomorrow – building the school store! Until next week!
The DR Nourish Project Team
P.S. Weeeeeeeeeeesh!! (A little phrase picked up from our French friends).
The BU students on the Nourish Team are excited about leaving next Tuesday. We are all starting to get our suitcases together as well as purchasing some last minute supplies for the trip. After all of our preparation, we are looking forward to the departure day and cannot wait to finally get to see where we will be living for the next six weeks.