Mzungu how are you? My first 2 weeks in Uganda

Mulembe! In Lugisu, the local language spoken east of Mbale, it means hello. I’ve been in Uganda now for almost 2 weeks. With limited internet and full on training with two trustees who came with me, I wasn’t able to post much. A lot has happened that I don’t even know where to start… so mzungu how are you?

Overwhelmed but ready to roll my sleeves up! There’s a lot of work to be done in the communities we work in and in the new ones we’re planning to expand into. I’m coordinating 3 projects which are also the key pillars of the NGO, Communities for Development: saving groups, IGAs (income generating activities) and feasibility research for a social project. We kicked off formations of 2 new groups already (out of 4) in villages around Buyaga. I’d like to be able to conduct two saving group trainings before Xmas which is only 3 weeks away. We’re also planning to run in parallel the income generating activities training, and currently we’re in discussions with a friend of contact in Mbale– a consultant currently working on a research with University of East Anglia. Finally, there’s a lot to be done in terms of local staff training, opening bank account for people, more workshops and the list goes on.

In awe of beauty of rural Uganda. Uganda is green and fertile, mountainous and full of majestic rivers. The color of the soil is beautiful, from bright red to almost black and the bio-diversity is incredible. People smile with their eyes and their happiness, despite many hardships, is truly remarkable. Behind people’s optimism lies horrors of the dark past though, in particular, the deeds of most infamous dictator in Uganda, Idi Amin.

Happy – it’s contagious here! Ugandans are genuinely happy. The country is safe (or at least most of it), people play music everywhere you go (upbeat African drums!), everyone is chilled out and welcome you to talk to them even if you don’t speak the local language. They’re also very community-orientated they look after each other and each other’s children and the family is not just the immediate one, it’s also extended family with whom they quite often live under one roof.

Thoughtful. Poverty is visible. Communities need basic infrastructure, basic sanitation and improved health care. Around 80% of Uganda is rural and around half of that are smallholder farmers living below the national rural poverty line. The challenges are countless: climate change, variability of rain, lack of access to roads for transportation, lack of health care, kids labor and more…

Sometimes out of my comfort zone… – have you ever tried shower without running water and shower head? Have you ever tried washing dishes without a sink in the kitchen and running water? Seen a snake right outside your house? Been eaten alive by mosquitos? 🙂

*mzungu – white person

Please help people in Bulambuli by donating here:

https://www.justgiving.com/Marta-Zgodzinska/

This money will be going into the communities and there’s so much to be done…Thank you!

 

 

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