Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Today, I spent the afternoon reading for my literature review overlooking the Nile River and Lake Victoria. It was a stunning view and at times, I was distracted from my reading! Thankfully, I made it right before the rains came pouring down! I really have no words to describe how magnificent it was to see the rain, the water, and the green hills. So instead, I have uploaded a picture that, unfortunately, does not do the view justice. As I sat reading, I could not be more overwhelmed with the fact that I am incredibly blessed. Few people from my country have the opportunity to get a masters degree, even fewer have the opportunity to live in an amazing country that is blessed with a powerful river. I am not sure why I was chosen to be in Uganda this year, or why I have been given the privilege of obtaining another degree, but I am incredibly thankful.

In other news, I spent the week meeting with more stakeholders, avoiding muddy roads, and celebrating the third birthday of a little boy with his family and friends. I am starting to get a feel of this town, the rhythm of life and the work that I have before me.

I spent one day this week, working with Robert (Care and Share), and being introduced to many of the women involved in the baking project. The original goal of the day was to talk about their record keeping and to gain more trust. Lets just say, plans never go to plan here and I ended up on a wonderful, adventurous ride through the village- stopping at the homes of key women in the group. These are strong women who hold their households together, raise their children/grandchildren and manage to still be involved in a baking project. I am excited to work with them as I see so much potential!

Well, I should post this before the internet goes out. Cheers!

Posted By Emily (volunteer in Uganda with Fount of Mercy for the next 6 months)


Today I was invited to attend the 25th anniversary of an organization in Uganda. I went and enjoyed the celebration full of speeches from the most honored, choir songs, and of course- a feast of Ugandan food. Ironically enough, it was my first time eating Ugandan in Uganda. Waves of memories from Kenya mixed with my school group’s outings to the local Ugandan restaurant in Boston came flooding back. This was a huge celebration, in a wonderful location. The view from this compound was stunning, with a wonderful view of lake Victoria and its islands. I wish I had taken a picture!

After sitting through the program, eating lunch, talking with a few individuals, we decided instead of taking a boda back to the main road, that we would walk. We joined up with a few women from the celebration who lived close by. One woman, full of joy, linked arms with me as we walked down the road. Her presence was full of life, her smile was large, and her eyes danced! I was completely in awe of her ability to pull me out of a potentially embarrassing situation with her mother and whisk me down the street. Not five minutes later, she stopped and showed me her home and we parted. About halfway through our walk, the rain decided to pour! Huge, thick drops fell from the sky. Thankfully, a group of women in a long row of homes called us over to their front porch so that we could stay dry. Without their help, we would have been soaking wet within a few minutes. One invited us into her house, where we chatted about various topics: the weather, family, where we live, etc. The home was nice, with a few chairs, and a partition between the back half (bedroom) and the front room. Her friend rushed in a few minutes later when she heard that mzungus (white people) had stopped. This girl, probably about my age, had a laugh that was contagious! We stayed until the rain let up and continued on our way.

Rainy season is upon us, which has allowed me to think a lot about rain. When it rains, everything stops. No work is done because it comes down so quickly. I see this beautiful, clean water fall from the sky into the fields and roads. Hardly anyone catches the rain that I have seen. Access to clean water is a problem here, and yet a lot of it falls on a daily basis. How can people capture the rain to make use of it? I know there are models out there, but is there a way to train individuals to do it themselves? Perhaps another project, another organization, and a different dream…

posted by Emily (Fount of Mercy volunteer living and working in Uganda for 6 months)

Friday, September 3, 2010


This week has been filled with firsts and also subtle reminders of why I love East Africa. Uganda is similar to Kenya, which I believe is one reason why it has been somewhat easy to transition. Yet, I am still waiting for the moment where I just completely break down into culture shock. So far, so good though!

On to the firsts. I rode my first boda-boda this week. For those of you who don't know, boda-bodas are motorcycles you hire. They are everywhere in Uganda! You flag a man down, hop on the back of his boda and he will take you wherever you want to go (for a small fee of course). Thankfully Lori, my supervisor, started me on a small route from our home into town. After my first ride, I got off and was shaking. Mind you, this was my first time on a motorcycle ever! With my practicality constantly in my head, I have always thought of them as one of the most dangerous modes of transportation and therefore have avoided them like the plague. I will apologize now for those who read this and absolutely love motorcycles. Now that taking a boda is a practical mode of transportation, I think I will grow to enjoy it. The next thing I conquered with bodas this week was to ride side-saddle. What is a woman to do when she is wearing a skirt and has to ride a boda?

I also met two of the three organizations I will predominately work with. Both are a little out of town in nearby villages. Both I am excited to work with for varying reasons. More to come on these I am sure. For now, lets just say that I am incredibly honored to be part of their work. One thing I quickly realized during these visits is that I need to learn some of the language. While English is commonly spoken, not everyone has a strong command of my language. Hopefully language lessons will start in the next few weeks. I'm still debating if I will just take lessons to learn the basics or move beyond that. Any suggestions?

Besides meeting the organizations, taking bodas and getting a feel of the town, I have also immersed myself in Ugandan curriculum for grades one through four. I've read a fair amount, asked questions, and am ready to dive in with the teachers and students. To give some background, Uganda has a new curriculum which is focused more on problem-solving and creative thinking that the rote method of teaching. I am working with a few schools to help them transition to this new style of teaching.

Well, off to make dinner with Lori and most likely watch a bit of the t.v. show Chuck.