GROW changed me more than I thought it would. I feel as though I have not only become a part of the Ugandan culture, but I have also learned how to take a bucket shower, use a pit latrine, and what it means to fetch water. From the locals I have met I’ve learned how to work hard and not let your situations or circumstances define you. I’ve learned that you don’t have to always be on time, because the relationships you make are far more important than the time on the clock. I’ve learned what pure joy looks like every time I had the opportunity to play with children here. I’ve learned what it feels like to not have running water, and what a burden it becomes. I learned what it feels like to be a Mzungu (white person) walking down the streets as adults constantly stare at you, and children scream “Hi Mzungu!!!” with the biggest smiles on their faces.
I will never forget the kids I played soccer with every day after work, or the villagers I met as we administered surveys for our research. I will never forget the moment we opened the well for the first time, or the never-ceasing eagerness of my team to make a difference in someone’s life. I will never forget the new and exotic food I ate here, or the roads that I walked down every morning to go to work. I will never forget the people at Kitovu for taking care of us and for loving us every single day. I learned so much about our partner. Not only did I get to know the beautiful faces that work hard everyday to help the community, but I also got to understand the vast array of projects Kitovu has. I never knew that their organization was so large, or that they touched so many lives. My hope is to show our chapter at home how amazing our partner is.
One of the most important things I learned on this trip is summed up in a phrase that is very relevant to Uganda, our partnership, and GlobeMed: “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, then you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito.” Before I went on this trip, I thought I was too small to make a difference. It was shocking to me to witness how just 50 students from halfway across the world could change more than 500 peoples lives in a matter of a month. One less child will die of parasites in their water because the work of GlobeMed and our students who are dedicated to fundraising all year. This trip has also affirmed my passion for serving people in the medical field in the future. I learned that GlobeMed and our chapter has a significant and profound impact, that sometimes we might not realize it. GROW made me feel honored and privileged to be apart of an organization that strives to rid the world of the health disparities that plague our planet.
By: Emily Muri – GROW intern 2016