Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Update from the Field: Kasambiika 1

Jambo! Today marks the end of our first week in the village.

I’m sorry, terribly rude, we didn’t introduce ourselves. We are the Kasimbiika 1 UVP team! Our team consists of four American interns, Tina (our fearless co-leader), Nichole, Stephanie, and Nathan. We also have two Ugandan interns, Raphael (our other, actually fearless—to a fault, co-leader), and Josephine.

Raphael with Monday’s dinner.
(Photo Nichole Reinen)
Tina with two full jerry cans—who needs running water?

Josephine and Nicole stay hydrated. 

Stephanie in the middle, Tina and Josephine on the left and right respectively. They each hold oranges, which are green in Uganda

Nathan, the wasp-vanquisher. Just kidding, Nathan ran away soon after this photo was taken. Raphael got rid of the wasps. (Photo Nichole Reinen) 

But that’s enough about who we are; let’s talk about what we did this past week. We focused on getting settled in our new house, getting acquainted with our new community, and getting acclimated to each other as teammates.

On Wednesday we rolled up our sleeves and got to work constructing a trash pit, a tippy-tap for hand washing, and a dish-stand. Let’s have a look! We first dug a trash-pit. That was messy so we did not take pictures of the process, but here is the fruit of our labor.

Tippy-taps are ingenious contraptions made from local materials that allow for easy hand-washing without running water.

Josephine plans the base structure.

Raphael starts construction

The Tippy-Tap team tests the tensile strength of the timber. 

 Next we made a dish-stand. This is a hygienic and time-saving way to dry our wet dishes.

Nichole brings sticks from our gracious donor; we call her momma (she’s also our cook; we’ll talk about her in the next post).
Stephanie arranges sticks together so she can tie them together with banana leaves for the platform of our dish-stand. 

Construction begins! 

And voila, the finished project, in use.
 These amenities will help us stay healthy and happy and also serve as examples of sanitary and hygienic improvements villagers can make in their own homes.

We spent the rest of our week becoming familiar with our Village Health Team members and the rest of the Kasimbiika 1 community. In a future post we’ll make sure you get to know our Village Health Team members too! Our Village Health Team was tasked with announcing our arrival and first planned meeting: an introduction and question and answer session for everyone in the community. Their efforts were not in vain, we had a turnout of 142 villagers among the 285 households in Kasimbiika 1. 

A lot of people showed up! 

Our VHT chairperson, Swaga, answering some of the questions posed by community members about UVP’s purpose and function. 

Our team (sans photographers Nathan and Nichole), the VHT, and the Local Chairperson (far right) posing for a picture. 
We would be remiss to forget to mention how we spent our free time: intense word games, learning how to play chess, and conversation late into the night.

Tina relaxes with a book.

We were very lucky to find ripe bananagrams growing outside our compound.

Next week we dive into our projects. We start off with our first Tippy Tap sensitization in Kasimbika Primary School. Then we meet with a focus group for needs assessment. Finally, we will start our baseline surveys on sanitation, water access, hygiene, and malaria. Make sure to check in so we can update you with more stories and background about our projects and Kasambiika 1. 

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