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Published: June 21st 2016
This week has been a lot more involved with the community which has been amazing!!!
At the Health Center we welcomed a few more members to our team and said goodbye to a lot of the students from KIU (Kampala International University) so it has been a huge learning curve for us as we have to take on way more patients but with way less people. We are doing great though and putting in the time we need for the most part! Seems like every week here there is a public holiday or some reason (usually rain) that invites several to not attend work. Speaking of the weather, we are seeing a shift to a wetter week and cooler temperatures. The locals are laughing at us Canadians out in our t-shirts finally feeling comfortable with the temperature as our counterparts from Mbarara are wearing turtlenecks and jackets.
The new pediatric ward is in full swing which was so amazing to see! With the additional beds more children can be seen close to home instead of being referred to a different centre farther away. Extremely happy that worked out and it being used by the staff.
The main events of this week were our education days in the schools. We went to a secondary school near our village and did a piece on career counselling, and HIV transmission. The career counselling was great but all of us white people got laughed at a lot. The children have such a hard time understanding us and think that we sound so funny. It took great willpower to talk slower and pronounce words closer to how they do here. It certainly was a great exercise that reminded me of speech craft! Speaking about my career back home was great but it did not transition well to the system they have here. I still got some questions so that was nice! Our HIV transmission game did not go off very well at all so we concluded it early and performed a play about HIV transmission. The kids loved it! They were laughing at us, and cheering with us, and really empathized with our story. It felt like a really successful day to me.
On Friday we helped the other group of students at their Kindergarten do up Father's Day cards with the kids. It was so cute and
went so well! That group is doing such amazing work and I was so happy to be a part of it. After that we headed to the primary school near our village and did another educational piece. Learning from our experiences the day before I took my time to speak slowly, asked a lot if "they got me", or if "we were together" as I went through my talk. Here those phrases are the same as "do you understand" back at home, and they tend to repeat things a lot here. Tenielle and I did a nutrition talk and game where kids had to match up foods to the three food groups they recognize here. Our talk was AMAZING! The kids were so active, listened to us, and our prompting made sure they were following what we were putting down. They laughed with us, and I think they really enjoyed the game and what they learnt. We had a lot of questions at the end to which felt so great. Other members of our group then did a bit on hand hygiene and personal hygiene. They were not as interactive as our bit but the kids still enjoy themselves, especially
the about washing your hands we taught them. At the end of this we separated the boys from the girls and did a talk on menses with the women and soon to be women of the primary school. I do not think they fully go the information we were telling them as we did not teach at their speed and prompt them a lot but their questions were so good at the end that any confusion I think was cleared up. Giving this talk was so amazing for me, I really love being a part of anything supporting the benefits of being a woman. I am so excited for my pads training day coming up. For our bits at the primary school I did some drawings to supplement our talk. One was a boy brushing his teeth that the kids laughed at, the other was a giant copy of lady bits. I loved it! That drawing is already being used for other presentations!
I am leaving Rugazi on Saturday and it makes me really sad. I have loved to get to know the MUST students. They are way more open with us now and enjoy our company now that
they know what we are saying a bit better (I really do talk way to fast here). This week a good bonding experience was teaching each other how to dance. They showed us some of their tribes traditional dances and we tried to teach them how to swing dance and do line dancing. It was pretty hilarious and everyone had a great time. I see them practicing our moves every so often still haha.
This past Saturday I went back to the orphanage which was fantastic. I am really going to miss that place. Agnes invited me to work with them and stay for a week and I am so tempted to say yes. That place just always makes me feel so happy and loved. The kids remembered us and played so many games with us. One boy loved running at me and taking a flying leap at me like a flying squirrel! He knew I would catch him every time and swing him around. He laughed so hard I thought he was choking! Some of the others kept trying to race me and holy crap are they fast! I had to pick them up and run them in
the wrong direction in order to win or even come close to winning! We decided to walk to House of Love this time. Such a beautiful walk.
Sunday we helped the other group hand out the Father's day cards we made with them on Friday. The kids were all dressed up and some came with their dads which was so great to see. I even saw my favorite lady (who's name is Rosette) who I donated clothes to. She was even wearing a shirt I gave her and it made me so happy that she would actually use what I gave her!
My biggest discovery this week are what they call pancakes here. They are mashed little yellows (finger bananas), water, and cassava flour flattened into tiny disks and deep fried. Seriously the best food ever and gluten free! I bought so many yesterday and can't stop eating them! One of the MUST students is teaching me how to make them so I can bring this snack back home! She is also teaching me some other foods and how to cook them soon. I can't wait to learn about it!
I think that is enough
for now! With me going to Mbarara ahead of some of the other group members I do not know when I will be back in contact with everyone as our internet is staying in Rugazi. I will make sure to post again when I can!
Sending love from Africa!
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