oli otya (how are you)?

woah, so here we are…IN UGANDA. today is now day 7 and so much has happened already! we’ve been having spotty internet so we haven’t been able to share any of our experiences with you yet so let’s start from the beginning….

after the many hours of movies, awkwardly sleeping next to strangers, and surprisingly delicious airplane food, we arrived in entebbe airport! unfortunately it was already 11pm and too dark to see our surroundings as we drove from the airport to where we were staying (sunset motel), but it left us with anticipation for  the morning. after getting checked in and a few “we are here!” exclamations, we were all ready to pass out. a little too quickly it turns out, because we forgot to check if our alarm was set to ugandan time…it wasn’t. thankfully peter had a mental alarm that woke him up so after the quick panic that we only had a few minutes to get ready, we were able to quickly get our stuff together and meet paul, kitovu mobile’s driver who was picking us, on time. from the moment we met paul, we knew it was the start of a beautiful friendship. on our three hour drive from entebbe to masaka, where kitovu mobile is located, he gave us a wonderful tour of the ugandan countryside and let us stop when we crossed the equator to take the typical touristy pictures.

and then finally we arrived at HOTEL ZEBRA, which apparently feels a strong connection to its name as everything is decked out in zebras and zebra print. all a little nervous of what to expect, we were all pleasantly surprised at the delightful but slightly industrial rooms and felt immediately at “home.” after unpacking a bit, we had a delicious meal that we quickly realized was going to be the meal over the next few weeks: rice, matooke mush, and mystery meat. matooke, a close relative of the banana, is the staple food in southern uganda. shortly after our lunch, we met up with charles, our partner contact from kitovu. he gave us a very interesting, but oh so detailed overview of kitovu that we all struggled to keep our eyes open for (it was a long exhausting day!).  charles went over our “program” for the next few days, and then left to do more work at the office! we went back to our rooms, and peter explained (and then re-explained, and then re-explained again) his favorite card game, PITCH, which we all instantly realized we would be spending all of our nights playing.

day 3: our first day at kitovu! or should i say “chitovu” – oh yeah that’s right, globemed at northeastern, we’ve been saying the name of our partner wrong this whole time!

we arrived at kitovu just in time for staff morning prayer. everyone was unbelievably friendly and welcoming and made us so excited for the next few weeks that were ahead of us. then we met with the director, robina, and gave her the homemade scrapbook of globemed members. after comparing it to the “hero books” the children at kitovu make, she said it was “creative and unique.” then it was time for “break tea” and off to the launch of one of kitovu’s new initiatives, a farm school to teach teenage high school dropouts about sustainable, organic farming. all of kitovu’s programs, such as this one, are amazingly innovative and comprehensive. we were all extremely honored to be there and enjoyed hearing all the speeches from the various kitovu mobile and community leaders…all 4 hours of them…in uganda’s national language, luganda. on our way home, charles took us to visit biikira community health center- the first of what will be many health center visits in the surrounding districts. an exausting, fulfilling, wonderful first day and the start of our first weekend! welcome to masaka!

 

the rest will be coming shortly!

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4 comments

  1. Steve S · · Reply

    Great update Eileen, thanks. It sounds so incredible (and exhausting) and you’ve only been there 1 week! I don’t know PITCH, but make sure Madeline teaches everyone HEARTS and SPADES! you’re a wonderful writer by the way

    1. thank you thank you, but it was also madeline’s writing and editing. and don’t worry, she already has!! hope you had a wonderful birthday and a smooth recovery to your surgery 🙂

  2. This is awesome! We’ve been saying Kitovu wrong at the National Office too… woops! Thanks for posting this, sounds like you’re having a great time! I’m just going to keep living vicariously through you all while I sit in the office today… can’t wait to hear more!

  3. Carol B P · · Reply

    Your blog brings back memories of my arrival and first week in Papua New Guinea almost 33 years ago. Cherish each and every experience in Uganda. You will not only remember them forever, but the collection of those experiences will transform your lives in ways you may not even be able to imagine right now.

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