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June 16th 2019
Published: June 16th 2019
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A study in studiousnessA study in studiousnessA study in studiousness

Our little Anne-Sophie working hard and being a star student (we are certain she's a genius).

It seems that I'm beginning to run on Ugandan time, so my apologies if you were beginning to feel impatient waiting for another delayed post. This blog post will be brief--which may end up becoming the Ugandan sense of "brief" which probably means that it will take longer than you would have anticipated even before I mentioned the word "brief". Sorry, but not sorry. 😉

If you want to get a better sense of this Ugandan time I have been mentioning, here's a quick and dirty summary on our experiences with the lingo regarding time:

Be there in five minutes means "I haven't left yet".
It takes about ten minutes translates to a range of anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours.

Soooo the pace of life is definitely slower here, which I have come to appreciate a lot more during this past week. People talk slower, walk slower, and take longer for things in general. Though this initially made me quite antsy (as you could probably glean from my prior posts) I can honestly say that stepping out of the day-to-day rush of life in North America has been a breath
Mango MadnessMango MadnessMango Madness

The Raptors won (a landmark moment, I'm told)...but I think I am more impressed by the size of this mango. :O
of fresh air. Having extra time gives me more time to process things, including culture shock, which I am currently experiencing more of as the "honeymoon phase" wears off and I start to seriously miss certain aspects of home. (Last night it hit me that I've been in this country for a full month! Ahhh!)

This past week was filled with all-day leadership development training--though the days were long, tiring, and dry at times, they were full of applicable and useful information to guide our time in the community. I can't say that the week made me miss University coursework. If anything, I am even more relieved to be putting the books behind me next year and stepping out into my practicum. However, it was valuable to practice establishing a clear mission and vision, understand leadership vs. management, familiarize ourselves with the different levels of health care in Uganda, and reframe complaints into requests, among many other things. The sessions were interspersed with various highly entertaining skits and energizers, and yummy "health breaks" involving chapatis and Ugandan donuts which are less sweet and more bread-y than Canadian donuts. Lunches were the standard starchy and scrumptious Ugandan fare consisting of
"B" is for Best"B" is for Best"B" is for Best

Not only is Team B the best-dressed, as evidenced by this picture, but we are also the best. Period. :)
sweet potatoes, posho (maize flour), kalo (millet bread), cassava, sweet potato, rice, matoke, groundnut sauce, beans, meat stew, and mini green eggplants (the name of which continually escapes me).

In the evenings after training we were usually too drained to cook something fancy, so in addition to scrounging together our own haphazard suppers/snacks we also enjoyed going out for some of the best Indian food of our lives at "Curry n' Hurry" and splurging on cardamom/pistachio/saffron/almond ice cream. We have also been eating a somewhat unhealthy amount of rolexes (roli? Just rolex? There has been some linguistic debate over what the plural form of "rolex" is...), thanks to our lovely friend and facilitator, Kenneth, who led us to the BEST rolex stand yet. In my humble nutrition opinion, like ice cream, rolex can certainly stand alone as its own food group.

Our Rugazi group is split into teams A and B--according to yours truly, the "A" stands for average and "B" for best. (Can you guess which team I'm a part of?) When we go back into the community we will work on separate projects, but we will still get to stick together, which is something I am
Roadtrip to RugaziRoadtrip to RugaziRoadtrip to Rugazi

Much-needed naps, stunning scenery, hot weather but cool company--Rugazi, hope you're ready for us on round two!
especially grateful for. Particularly since there was a bit of a kerfuffle with ebola crossing the border from the DRC to Uganda a few days back, resulting in all of our fellow American mzungus being pulled out of the country and causing various degrees of stress and uncertainty among us clueless and confused Canadians. Since the outbreak has not been deemed an international crisis we are definitely staying in Uganda, and we have been briefed on taking the appropriate safety precautions while working in the healthcare centres and community. So try not to worry about us, but if you're inclined to pray for us, we'd certainly appreciate that!

The 20-or-so of us left Mbarara at around 3:30pm yesterday afternoon with our Afripads and some blood pressure cuffs in tow, which we purchased in the hopes of them being able to tangibly benefit the Rugazi villagers. Though the water situation is sketchy (aka no running water for 20+ stinky young people for an indeterminate amount of time) and I'm sure there will be many other challenges ahead of us, we're in high spirits and looking forward to get started on the "real" work here! We've been able to organize ourselves well enough to establish a community fund, meal plan, and hire a chef within the last 24 hours, so I'm confident that we can work together well in the weeks to come.

A few of us checked out the local Catholic church this morning, and though the village is small, we were amazed by how well-attended the service was--hundreds of people, many not even having room to sit down in the sanctuary! Church definitely serves as the "heartbeat" of the community, gathering the entire village together. We were blessed by the wholehearted worship that was made even more vibrant by traditional dancing. Like in the church in Mbarara, we received a warm welcome and had the opportunity to introduce ourselves and our team to the congregation. We appreciated how after the service there was an educational session by a government representative on hand washing and preventing the spread of ebola. It looks like health talks are well-received by the community here, which is encouraging to us since we are hoping to do quite a bit of health education during our time here! Can't wait to get started and get to know our ever-growing team here in Rugazi.

Stay tuned--one month down, two-ish more to go!

Ninkukunda munonga (I love you very much),



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