Thursday, July 15, 2010

it's been real Uganda

SO in a strange turn of events in the ever changing world that is Africa, I find myself abruptly leaving Uganda tomorrow, 8 weeks after I first got here.

I'm still slightly shocked with the turn of events that has happened since last Monday morning. After the Sunday night bombings in Kampala, it became the consensus between interns, parents, and UNC that we should not remain in Uganda after our internship ends, which corresponded in many scuffles with airline agencies, and everyone's changed their flights so that the last of us leave the 26th. Because of my tickets, I unfortunately could only get on a flight that leaves tomorrow, putting me state-side Saturday morning.

It's one thing to prepare yourself to leave for weeks, it's another to find out your leaving and have about 12 hours to say all your good-byes. I honestly didn't realized how attached I'd grown to Katosi, to my students, my favorite food vendors, the starry nights, shouts of "byyy-eeee mzungu", and all other aspects of the village life until I was suddenly forced with the realization that I would be leaving. This morning, Colleen and I woke up before dawn and walked to the top of the large hill to watch my last African sunrise (and we weren't disappointed...80 pictures of glowing pink blobs proves it). Without trying to sound too cliche, or corny, I'm not sure if I can describe how much my time here has affected me. Coming to Uganda to work with the KWDT, I was full of certain ideas and expectations, most of which were shattered and disproved (mostly for the better, but not always). I don't think anyone can tell you what it's like to be thanked multiple times by teachers, who work for barely any pay, 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, when your contribution feels like nothing in comparison to what they do each day. I wish I could stay for much longer, but at least I'm leaving with the certainty I'll be back. Sorry for the cheesy retrospective thoughts, but I can't think of another way to talk about how important my time here with the KWDT and all the people I've met has been to me.

Tomorrow I get on a plane, head back to air conditioning, and in a few weeks start planning for next year's AGRADU interns. While I wish I could just come again instead of picking new interns, I can't wait to let another 9 UNC students get to experience Uganda for themselves, and hope it affects them every bit as it did me. As the Ugandans say, "safe journey".


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