Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Final Thoughts on the Summer - Kazigo A

By Derek Bunch

The final week in Kazigo A brought about a mixture of tears and smiles. The last week was dedicated to celebrating with all of the village members who had generously helped our team this summer.  This appreciation was extended to our Village Health Team (VHT), The Kazigo A drama team, and our wonderful cook, Harriet. For each event we cooked the entire meal and surprised our guests with such things as guacamole and mango salsa, which was a first for many. Our dinners with the drama team and Harriet ended with the sound of drums, and some local traditional dance. The drama team was very helpful in teaching Lindsey, Sara and I to “move our hips.” This basically consisted of them grabbing us by the waist and twisting our hips for us while the onlookers cheered on our efforts. The most meaningful aspect of all of these dinners came from the immense amounts of love and appreciation that the villagers showed us. This final week was an encouraging indicator of the positive influence our team had made in the village and on the village residents.  Tears were not only shed by us but by the villagers as well. Our Village Health Team dinner was particularly emotional. Muzungu our very long-winded VHT member told a story comparing our relationship to a wedding ring given to a lover and how that ring will always belong to the owner and if that person asks for it back then you must give it back even though you still love the person. He explained that even though they love us and want us to stay, that they must let us leave, or in turn “give our ring back”. 

Our team had a very successful summer in Kazigo A. By the end of the summer we had held sensitization events on malaria, family planning, safe water, sanitation and hygiene, and eye care. In addition to these activities we hosted an HIV/STD drama and testing day and coordinated a borehole cleanup day among the community. Our team sold 210 insecticide treated bed nets, sold 40 tablets of Waterguard, and distributed four boxes of condoms. Our sanitation push was a success in constructing 47 tippy taps, 9 plate stands, and 10 latrine covers. We also helped to improve 5 tippy taps, 3 trash pits, and 3 plate stands. However, our most important accomplishment this summer were the strong relationships we built with the community and the positive name we made for the Uganda Village Project.

I speak on behalf of the entire Kazigo A team when I express my appreciation for the people, the residents, our friends in Kazigo A. The lessons we bring home with us will be with us for the rest of our lives. The friendships and relationships we built and the experiences are unforgettable and will provide a framework for any of our future endeavors. I want to say thanks to the entire Uganda Village Project in-country staff for all of their help this summer. We hope that our work this summer will enable them to continue the positive progress in Kazigo A. Lastly, I want to say thanks to the entire Kazigo A intern team. I had the pleasure to have worked with some of the most amazing individuals I have met in my life. This experience was unique, in that not only did we work together everyday for ten weeks but we also lived together in a house the size of many people's living room. Our team came together to accomplish a huge number of tasks this summer and we had fun in the process. With Sara’s acrobatics for the kids, Lindsey constantly trying to explain that her name was not Sharon, Naomi’s amazing cooking, and Felix’s computer, we never had a dull moment in our village. So thank you again team for an amazing summer, and thank you Uganda Village Project for enabling us to have this experience. Keep up the good work.

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