Monday, June 7, 2010

Blog 3 (title creativity is at a minimum)

It's the end of week two in Uganda and we have finished our first week of work!

Scarlet and I had an interesting first week here at the Katosi main office in Kampala. On Monday morning( at 7:30 am) we jumped right into working at our newly set up desk in the office (we are sharing one of the bigger desks in the office). I started reading through a couple of websites for potential grants for our organization and started gathering information to write a grant on expanding the community water harvesting tanks program. The first website I looked at might have had some potential, but it was very political heavy and focused mainly on setting up a program to fight corruption in government administered projects and programs (I know very little about this), so I moved on to work on other grant possibilities.

I submitted applications for the Global Giving philanthropy website in order to expand our donor base in the US and UK as well as a request for funding to the Rockefeller foundation for an Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program. The internet was down on Tuesday so I could not research for funding online and instead spent the day reading some of the past Katosi proposals, annual reports and information on water sanitation programs in Uganda.

At any given time there are different people in the office. It is always Rehema and Vaal (and me and Scarlet) and then sometimes George, or Leonard, or a variety of other people who just seem to filter in and out of the office at random. Hopefully I will figure out who they are as time goes on!

Wednesday and Friday I started working on a Coca-Cola Foundation grant, though I have not quite completed it because it needs to be reviewed by Rehema, our project/funding manager, to make sure that the budget and organization demographics are collected. Hopefully I can finish up that application early this week and get started on another one soon! Friday I also wrote up a proposal for a "Community -Led Sanitation Program" which mainly focuses on allowing the community members in any given region to design their own culturally relevant and economically feasible sanitation program. I really believe in this idea of letting communities take charge of their own development and change. Not only does it give the locals and sense of responsibility for the proposed project, but it also simply makes the most sense. I think everyone would agree that the members of a community know their community better than any outside could. By providing basic training, initial funding and the necessary educational tools, my program would support local communities in initiating a sustainable clean water and sanitation program. Margaret comes back to the office on Monday and I'm really excited to meet with her and talk more about potential projects for Katosi and how I can best help the NGO expand the work they are already doing.

Thursday was a national holiday, so we had off of work and went into Kampala for the day just to walk around and get out of the office. Scarlet and I caught a ride into town and started our day at the craft market. There was a big missions group there and one Ugandan woman and I shared a good laugh at their uniforms. For some reason they had decided that the best way to fit in in Uganda was to all wear matching BRIGHT orange polo shirts with their organizations name branded on the front, long JEAN skirts and tennis shoes. All of them, the whole group. Hahaha. Best thing. Then we walked over to 1000 cups to sit for a while before setting out on a long walk across the city to Garden city where we bought a few grocery items. I bought a soda there, but didn't have a bottle opener. I tried to open it with my hands for a long time (unsuccessfully) and eventually ended up carrying it in my bag all around Kampala until I finally broke down and bought a Manchester United bottle-opener from one of the vendors on Kampala Road.

After, we went back to 1000 cups and sat in some comfy chairs and read some magazines about Uganda. I decided that I really wanted some beaded sandals from the craft market so we went back and shopped around until I found a pair that I really liked. They are brown and black leather twisted at the top to look like a snake and I absolutely LOVE them (thanks for being so patient with me scarlet while I tried on every pair in the entire market!) I also made a mental note of all the items I want to buy for Agradu to sell, for the culture kit I am going to make to use for Carolina Navigators back in the states and for friends and family back home. I had to use a lot of self-control not to buy it all right then!

I'm getting adjusted to the laid-back pace of things here and enjoying slowing down for a bit. I read a lot here and have already devoured "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas and "Out of the Silent Planet" by C.S. Lewis. Next up is Perelandria, also by C.S. Lewis. Even if I keep up this pace of reading, I will be surprised if I finish all the books I brought. Overpacked much? Whoopsies. Oh well, whatever I don't use I will leave here for others.
If any other interns are reading this, let me know if you want to borrow any books, I've got plenty!

Tomorrow is Sunday and Scarlet and I are going to do laundry and then take a long walk up to this Anglican church on the hill across the valley from us. I'm excited to get out and explore some more. Scarlet says I am making her be more active than she has ever been, haha. Best.

Also, the World cup starts this week! We are going to Jinja on Friday to meet up with other interns to hang out, explore and watch some games. I'm going to try to make it to Bugalugi falls and hike for the day.

Hope all is well with everyone!
(Sorry my blogs are so long, I would upload pictures for entertainment purposes, but the internet really can not deal with that kind of file size capacity)

Until next time,


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