Tuesday, August 20, 2013

[Bukaigo] Farewell surprises

After 8 weeks in Bukaigo, it is hard to believe that we are leaving.  These past few weeks have certainly flown by.  It seems like just a short time ago we were still unpacking our suitcases and learning how to tie jerry cans to the bikes (although, granted, 8 weeks later, we are still trying to learn the latter).

We had successful sensitizations involving malaria, where we sold out of our mosquito nets, and HIV/AIDS and STIs, where we went to the secondary school in the village just south of our village and spoke in front of more than 200 students.  They were extremely rambunctious, but it was understandable: it was the end of the day, and they had been studying for quite some time for exams.  Nevertheless, they asked great questions, and they seemed very interested in learning how to prevent illnesses.

We made a very funny video about our summer here in Bukaigo.  It was a huge hit at final debrief.  We had a reputation for being a quiet group, so other interns (as well as UVP staff) were delightfully surprised to see our quirky side.  It was really fun to have interns come up to us and say “I really liked this part!” or “that part was hilarious!”

We said our goodbyes to our village with a song, and then we said goodbye to our VHTs and other leaders with a very nice dinner.  We had over 30 people attend.  Then, on our final night, our village surprised US with a goodbye dinner!  People from all over the village came.  We ate a ton of our favorite foods – katogo, rice, g-nut sauce, pineapple, cabbage – and danced the night away.  Then, our VHTs presented us with beautiful bouquets of flowers.  It truly was an amazing send-off.  It showed that our village truly did respect our work, and that they are already excited about next summer’s interns.

It is certainly going to be difficult to say goodbye to everyone.  After all, living in a tiny three-room house with five complete strangers, you get to know each other pretty well. Although we are all off to different locations in the morning, we know that we will not be saying goodbye for good (hello, Facebook!).  Our paths will certainly cross again, and we’re all looking forward to the day that it does.

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