Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Buwerempe - Neighborly Acts

Burewempe 2014 - Monitoring & Evaluation Team

It’s been a week since we arrived in Burewempe – and as you can imagine, we’ve experienced a variety of rewards and challenges as we try to immerse ourselves in village life. The UVP experience is like nothing any of us have experienced before, as not only do we have to adjust to life in Uganda – a feat on its own, but we also have to adjust to living with virtual strangers – hence the challenges. Challenges have emerged as we slowly but surely get to know each other’s quirks and habits while trying to wholeheartedly embrace all the things that make us so different – yet interesting.

We have found however, that the rewards far outweigh the challenges, and we are embracing the things that make village life so quaint – such as going to the borehole to fetch water, playing with the endearing children that always seem to surround our house, and even battling it out for the food with the rats that inhabit our pantry! The thing that we have noticed in the village is that every one – young and old – will always greet us no matter what. Their welcoming and friendly greetings standing in direct contrast with what most of us are accustomed to in our home countries, where most people are reluctant to open their homes and their hearts to complete strangers. But this is what makes living in Buwerempe such an incredible experience – the human factor. Our neighbor John for instance, is extremely observant and after introducing himself and reminding us that his home is always open to us, he noticed that we ‘were suffering for furniture’ (his words), and lo-and-behold, we opened our front door a little while later to see a stack of furniture – from chairs, to tables – which he insisted we use for the rest of the summer.

As a Monitoring and Evaluation team, this summer we will be focusing our efforts on ensuring that the foundation which was laid by previous UVP interns continues to be built upon. We will be collecting data on the state of sanitation and malaria net usage in Buwerempe and using these findings to inform the various sensitization efforts we have planned for this summer. These activities will be undertaken with the help of our wonderful VHTs – who have embraced our presence in the village, as was demonstrated by the naming ceremony they held for us, in which each team member was given a Lusoga name! We know this will continue to be a life-changing experience and are excited about the prospect of making a difference in Buwerempe – no matter how small it may be!

On that note, weraba from Mutesi Ela, Nangobi Stephanie, Wanyana Jasmine, Mukyala Lucy, Kabaale James, and Gabula Jairus, the 2014 Burewempe team!

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