Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Kasambika 2: Jambo!

Learning how to live in Kasambika 2 has certainly been an adventure! Our 3 bedroom house has become a home for us. Pictures of friends and family decorate our colorful walls, fresh fruits and vegetables line the edges of our cooking area and the newly constructed tippy tap, trash pit and plate stand proudly represent our desire for greater health and sanitation measures as UVP staff/interns. Each day we are greeted by a group of kids who love playing with our cameras and often sit out on our porch awaiting us to come out and spend time with them. Even when we attempt early morning runs, we are always greeted by their enthusiastic “Jambos!” and their affectionate shouting of the term ‘muzungu, muzungu’ as a way to get our attention.

Besides kids, we are also visited  by a slew of animals. Village life can certainly have its challenges, when there are bats and rats in the latrines, frogs jumping around the house, and small snakes can be found meandering around. Thankfully, James, Andrew and Chelsea are fearless when it comes to exterminating the rat in the latrine, plucking frogs found near our beds, and killing the poisonous snake we originally thought was a shoe lace. We are also accustomed to wearing headlamps when the sun sets around 7pm, eating dinner by lantern light, and attempting to avoid latrine use until the morning! Despite no running water or electricity as we’re used to, we’re learning to be flexible in how we live (i.e., bucket bathing during the day rather than shower at night).

When we arrived in the village on Friday we were greeted by several Kasambika 2 VHTs. VHT stands for Village Health Team, a group of six community members selected by the village and trained by UVP according to a government curriculum. They serve as the first point of contact for health needs in the village, distribute some medications, and promote healthy living on the household level.
The UVP Kasambika 2 team with the Kasambika 2 VHT after a planning meeting

The VHT’s commitment to a healthy community is already evident in what we’ve accomplished together during our first week in the village.  After an initial planning session our teams coordinated a community meeting where we introduced ourselves and discussed our plans for the summer. Later in the week we conducted a SWOT analysis – an assessment of the Strengths of, Weaknesses of, Opportunities for, and Threats to the health of the community. All members of the VHT are committed to their mission and we are excited about working with them this summer to achieve the shared goal of a healthy Kasambika 2.

FUTURE STARS by James and Jiana


“Wasuze otya nyabo/Sebo”.........Bulungi nyabo/sebo”........”Kaale”...... omg this is about the only Lusoga we know perfectly. That's when you just smile and nod. This is our typical greeting that we expect throughout the internship. Our greetings and daily visitors have not only been amazing but allowed our team to feel welcome and part of the community. They have showered us with signs of appreciation such as kids climbing to reach the furthest of branches to retrieve the best quality mangos from nearby trees and the chairperson of the church purchasing an egg for us during an auction at the Kasambika 2 catholic church where we hold community meetings.

Speaking of community meetings, in preparation .....”Andrew, get out of the bathroom!!!, we don't want to be late,” yells Chelsea. Once the last person of the team is finally ready after running around in a towel, we finally hit the road. After the community villagers trickled in, we began our introductory meeting, kicked off in style with a series of leaders introductions before we discussed our UVP purpose here in Kasambika 2. It was amazing how much enthusiasm was bestowed upon the community members’ hearts to learn more about how to address the public health issues that are affecting their community. Their passion is fueling our team’s energy, vigor and commitment towards empowering the community villagers in improving their quality of life.

No comments: