The Bukaigo team is up and running. We have gotten the hang of everyday activities and are learning more about the village each day. We participated in the HIV testing day and drama, gave a successful water and sanitation sensitization, and have a good start on our follow up surveys. Going house to house inspecting latrines, wash rooms, plate stands and tippy taps has provided an intimate peek into life in the village.
Below are short interviews of each of us, because we each have a different challenge and a funny story to share.
Amy and Dean:
Amy: Why did you come to Uganda?
Dean: To experience global public health work.
Amy: What has been the most shocking thing?
Dean: How difficult washing clothes by hand is.
Amy: Is this the first time you’ve had to do laundry by hand?
Amy: Tell me the story of the first time you tried. Actually, I’ll tell it:
He put all his cotton clothes and terry cloth towel into a basin and poured some water on them. The clothes absorbed so much water that he ran out and had to fetch [water] before he could finish his laundry. He is also lying in a filthy bed right now because laundering sheets seems overwhelming.
Amy: Tell me another funny story.
Dean: Sometimes to tease their little siblings, the Ugandan children will shove their younger siblings towards me and the little ones start wailing.
Dean: Because they’re terrified of me.
(Frank: There’s something in your face that scares kids.)
Amy: What’s the most fun you’ve had so far?
Dean: Seeing Frank pout after losing at cards every night.
Amy: Frank, why do you always loose?
Frank: Because you all are against me!!
|Dean working on the plate stand|
Amy and Frank:
Amy: Have you ever been to the village before?
Frank: Yes, but not like this one. This one is way bad off.
Amy: Do you find it shocking?
Frank: Yes! The way people open defecate, don’t wash their hands. They don’t even mind not washing their hands.
Amy: How does it make you feel about your country?
Frank: Ashamed. Too much corruption.
Amy: Do you think you can ever help?
Frank: Yes, we can never lose hope. We can keep on dreaming.
Amy: When you go home, will it change your studies?
Frank: Yeah, I didn’t know that open defecation was still going on in Uganda.
Amy: Are there other practices that surprise you.
Frank: Maybe, the health status is so poor. Safe water access is still so low.
Amy: Are you glad you’re here.
Frank: Yup. I’ve met crazy people like Dean.
Amy: Tell me a funny story.
Frank: Oohh man, about what?
Amy: Anything, your time here?
Amy: What about when I decided to try to carry all the babies of Bukaigo
Frank: Haaha, yeah, it was so funny. The babies are so comfortable with you, but so scared of Dean.
Also, I went rafting with the internationals. After paying 90 USD, I was almost drowning the whole time. I swallowed about 2 liters of water and the young American girls had to pull me into the raft. It was so humiliating.
Amy: Oooh, sorry.
|Frank working on the plate stand|
Amy and Josie:
Amy: This is your second year as an intern.
Amy: Why did you want to come back?
Josie: Because I am interested in public health. I love meeting new people. I love working with internationals.
Amy: What is the most challenging thing about working with internationals?
Josie: It’s hard to know what to do, since you are dealing with someone from a different world.
Josie: Yeah, sometimes you want to help, but from past experience, people don’t want to be treated like babies. Sometimes you want to do it for them, but they don’t want to be babied.
Amy: I think we all appreciate that.
Josie: No, sometimes I think I’m over doing it and all that.
Amy: What have you learned most about public health?
Josie: You can create change if you talk to people. Because sometimes people know something is supposed to be done but they don’t know why, so you show them how to do it.
Amy: You feel like you are making a difference?
Amy: Would you come back in the future for something like UVP?
Josie: Yeah, of course.
Amy: What is a new skill you’ve developed since being here?
Josie: Tying jerry cans using a rope, because last time the bore hole was close by so we didn’t need a bike.
Amy: Have you learned how to bike with the jerry cans?
Josie: AHH still trying. Oh my, that may take the two months. (Josie is very short, and although her feet barely reach the pedals she’s pretty good at biking)
Amy: Tell me a funny story.
Josie: When I’m passing along the road along to the borehole on the main road, the kids say “there’s that Busoga” as if they aren’t Busoga. They call you M’zungu and me Busoga. (M’zungu is the name for white people and Busoga is the name for people from this region)
Amy: What is it like when you walk with us and everyone is staring and yelling “M’zungu! M’zungu!”?
Josie: Like a little celebrity. We can never get lost.
Amy: What do you think the next couple of weeks are going to be like?
Josie: I think it’s going to be fun. More sensitizations. We shall see the change from the end of the internship and the report the VHTs (village health team) give. I also think I shall be able to bike with the water.
|Josie in front of the UVP office in Iganga|
Dean and Amy
Dean: What has been the most alarming change in lifestyle since you have been here in Uganda?
Amy: Probably being fed by a cook three times a day. For some reason, I seem to notice someone cooking me food a lot more than not having running water.
Dean: What’s the funniest moment since you have been here?
Amy: There have been a lot of funny moments at the bore hole. When we try to load the jerry cans onto the bicycles and the bikes fall over, or someone falls off of the bike. There was also the time when Ai and I were pumping water in the pouring rain and all of the kids were hiding and watching us. When we were walking home, people kept inviting us in because we looked so ridiculous walking in the rain.
Dean: What has been your favorite moment?
Amy: When the two women came up to you and me on the main road at 7 at night and said “hold my baby” just so they could see a white person carrying it. I also really like seeing the old woman who always comes and greets us.
Dean: What’s the best food that you have tried?
Amy: The vegetable curry me and you had at Soul Café in Iganga town. We had been here a week and a half and hadn’t gotten used to this food yet. The curry was served with chapati and was so good. Ruth (our cook) makes really good spaghetti and potatoes. The eggs and pineapple are really good too, and the mangos.
Dean: Anything else?
Amy: I really like our team. The other teams seem to have a lot more energy, but it would be overwhelming to be with them all the time. We get along well.
Dean: What are your favorite reactions from Frank and Josie?
Amy: I have a few. From Frank, “OHHHH Man.” They both say “You sure?” or “Are you sure?” when they are surprised. You can’t really get the tone in the interview though.
Dean: Well just picture Frank giggling uneasily when he says ohhh man because usually he is losing at cards or in an awkward situation.
|Amy masters three full jerry-cans on a bike|
Ai and Amy
Amy: Now that you’re here, what has been the most challenging part of the internship?
Ai: Getting used to Africa time.
Amy: What is that?
Ai: It means that we schedule things for 2pm and people show up at 3:30 or 4.
Amy: What do you do while you’re waiting?
Ai: Talk, mobilize, look at the surrounding animals, say “Hi” to all the people who go by.
Amy: What’s a new skill that you’ve developed since being here?
Ai: I’ve learned very little Lusoga.
Amy: So what’s the biggest challenge to learning it?
Ai: We rely on Josie and Frank a lot. And the locals don’t understand much English, so it’s hard to communicate with them.
Amy: In the next couple of weeks do you think you’ll learn more?
Ai: I hope to.
Amy: So what is a skill that you’ve picked up, or improved upon?
Ai: I know how to smoke a latrine. And it’s my favorite chore.
Amy: Tell me a funny story.
Ai: I fell off the bike at the bore hole - twice! The people at the bore hole thought it was pretty funny. And the bike also fell on me… with jerry cans… on my foot! I have the scar to prove it happened.
Amy: I also remember there being a bunch of children around?
Ai: There are always a bunch of children around.
Amy: Any other funny story you want to share?
Frank: Yeah, she failed to pee in the hole in the latrine.
Ai: Yeaaahh, I have very poor latrine technique. But it’s getting better.
Amy: Is this experience going to influence your future career or travel choices?
Ai: I’m pursuing a certificate in international development. I’d like to work for a global nonprofit. This is experience in the field, and this is my first experience with data collection, so I’m excited about that.
|Ai making a poster for WASH sensitization|