Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Gearing Up for an Adventure

I'm leaving for Uganda in less than a week! It still seems otherworldly that I will be there for two whole months! I'm going to be interning at Kyetume (pronounced "chi-too-may") Community Based Health Care Programme in Mukono. All of us interns are going to Kampala (the capital) first for a few days to get sim cards and other items that we might not get at our rural internship sites.

I'm trying to be as prepared as I can beforehand. Can one really be prepared for this sort of adventure? I need to get traveler's checks and buy a couple over the counter medicines and skirts. Apparently in rural areas, where I will be, it's not polite for women to wear pants. Most rural Ugandan women where long ankle-length skirts. Those have been pretty hard to find, which is weird because I see people wearing them here in the states. Maybe those kind of skirts used to be in style, but went out of fashion? I don't know. I have a couple, but they have lots of sequins. Something tells me that sequins aren't very practical in the field. I hope I don't pack too much stuff.

I'm trying to learn as much as I can about what I can do that will benefit Kyetume. Ashley, my co-intern at Kyetume, and I will be I designing a website for them using godaddy. We're also going to use dreamweaver and wordpress to update files and images on the site, and we hope to to teach Kyetume staff how to maintain and update the website themselves so that it will be sustainable. I'm probably going to be working with micro finance programs and women's support groups. I will also be coordinating a pen-pal program between children at a local school and fourth graders at Frank Porter Graham elementary school in Chapel Hill. Maybe I'll help out in other areas too. I'm going to have to figure out more about what exactly I'll be doing once I get there.

I want to learn as much Luganda, the local language, as possible. I already know a couple phrases.

Kyi (pronounced "chi") kati = "What's up?"
Respond to this by saying Te wali ("not much/nothing").

Oli otya = "Hello/How are you?"
Respond to this by saying Bulungi ("I'm fine").
Muli Mutya is the plural form.

Past interns have told me that I'm going to have to learn on the spot and that the internship is going to be challenging at times. The challenge is still kind of exciting! I'll get to meet and learn from people in Uganda, and I'll also be learning more about how community based health care systems operate. Granted, just because I'm going to be exposed to one community based healthcare system in Uganda doesn't mean that I'll know everything about every one that exists all around the world.

That's it for now. More updates next week.

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