The Duke and Penn State chapters have returned to the states after an amazing and rewarding experience in Uganda. After six weeks working with Community Concerns Uganda, each intern has grown personally and truly made an impact. From traveling to schools to dancing with the group savings program women, there are numerous moments to treasure. We can honestly say a piece of our hearts were left back in the pearl of Africa.
During our time there we were able to visit close to twenty primary and secondary schools. We feel that each classroom we set foot in benefited from our presentations. The students were equipped with a better understanding of their bodies, disease, and sexual/reproductive health. We hope that we influenced them to make better choices, increase their knowledge, and in turn have a better future. For the women we worked with in the villages, the new skills we taught them will help to expand their businesses and savings. The new record keeping techniques and business strategies will ensure their success in the future. In the village of Nakalanga, the pit latrines will allow the community to be more sanitary and decrease the spread of disease. If used properly the pit latrines will be of service for years to come. Lastly we hope that each person that we came in contact with during our time in Uganda was somehow impacted by something we said or did.
We can definitely say our work in Uganda not only impacted the people there, but allowed us to be impacted as well. We were given the opportunity to experience a new culture, perspective, and way of life. We now have a better understanding of the conditions in impoverished areas and the best ways to address those issues. We have been blessed with a second family and numerous friends. Community Concerns and its staff taught us that a dream can become a reality. With passion and drive, we can help change the world.
It has been a little over a week since we have returned to our respective homes and routines. Adjusting back to our normal lives sure hasn’t been easy. We have all realized a new gratitude for the luxuries that we have. Running water, refrigeration, food at our fingertips, and constant transportation are all things that we don’t take for granted. The impoverished conditions that we came across each day of our stay in Uganda are etched in our minds. However the faces we saw weren’t marked by sorrow, dread, and misery but instead happiness, serenity, and joy. These are the faces that will flash through our minds when we think of our travels. The smile of the woman dancing. The smile of the student singing. The smile of the young boy kicking around a bird’s nest as a soccer ball. The smiles of the waving orphans that we passed each morning on our way to work. These are the faces that we will remember and treasure forever.
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