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Enriching Experiences

June 23, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Duke, Juniata, Penn State, Summer Projects, Uganda | By

On Monday and Tuesday of last week, all of interns at Community Concerns Uganda participated in very productive team meetings. We discussed all of the projects we have been working on – the Group Savings Program, health education at the schools, working on the community garden, and the pit latrine project in Nakalanga Village. Within this discussion, we talked about each individual project’s goals, the progress we’ve made throughout our time here so far, and new recommendations that we hope to implement within the near future and by the time Penn State’s and Duke’s interns are here next summer. We were successful in developing ways in which we can address some of the challenges we’ve faced, such as finding new ways to maximize productivity, new ways in which we can organize data, and training that would help us be more effective in working with children who are undergoing hardships at home.

All of the interns attended Walibo Seed Primary school on Wednesday morning as well as Hands of Grace Primary School in the early afternoon. At both schools, we gave our usual lessons on proper sanitation and hygiene, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual health, and it was a success. The children were all very engaged in our lessons and were quick to raise their hands to answer questions we posed for them about what they’ve learned. A teacher at Hands of Grace came up to one of our interns at the end of the lesson asking her if she was a professional speaker, for he learned so much during her lesson and was very appreciative of Community Concerns Uganda taking the time to help educate not only the students, but the teachers as well. It made us appreciate the work we do here all the more, and we were so glad that not only were the children learning, but so were the teachers.

On Thursday, we had our Group Savings Program. We were able to implement some of the recommendations that we discussed earlier in the week on how to improve the program to make things run smoother and to utilize all of our interns to their full capacity. Although it took us a while to get used to the new method of record-keeping, we are optimistic that it will help CCUg be able to be more successful and potentially be able to reach out to more communities with an increase in efficiency. On Friday morning we traveled to Lwanyama Primary School and Greenfield High School. This was a special visit for us, for the father of the CCUg coordinator, Nakirya Brenda, is the headteacher there. As we drove up to the school in the pouring rain, hundreds of children were outside in the grass smiling and clapping as our van pulled up. We gave our presentations to the four classrooms there, and afterwards were treated to a few pleasant surprises!

The two school choirs entertained us with joyful songs of welcome complete with several traditional dance performances. We were all amazed at how talented the children were, and some of us were even given the opportunity to stand up and join them in their dancing! Afterwards, we were presented with many gifts of maize, papaya, avocado, sugarcane, and eggs that the students brought for us as a way of thanking us. This generous gesture made us feel very appreciated, for we knew that such kind gifts were given in such thankfulness. Our last surprise of the day was a great feast in the headmaster’s home – matoke, rice, beans, chicken, pork, beef, fish, pineapple, mango, and much more! We ate platefuls of the delicious meal, and were very full by the time we loaded back into the van to head home for the day. It is days like these that make us truly thankful for the opportunity we’ve been given to interact with the community here and know that what we’re doing is positively impacting those we’re working with.

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