By Kelly Child, UVP's Managing Director. Kelly joined Uganda Village Project in June 2015.
The first few weeks in a new position are always a little scattered as you acclimate to your new duties and organizational culture. Add the bustle from receiving and placing 40 national and international interns in rural villages in Uganda and the days fly by like a whirlwind. This post was written this summer, and as we’re preparing for the next round of HIV outreaches, it seemed like a good time to revisit it.
Each intern team in villages joining the Healthy Villages program held an HIV outreach where UVP helps to coordinate supplies and health workers to provide testing, counseling, and treatment options for HIV and malaria along with immunizations for children. The first two events were great—a large community turnout and the interns had a great time mobilizing the community and executed entertaining sensitizations and answering questions like the bosses they are.
Buwoira’s HIV outreach resonated with me the most. While driving through the lush, green village, Titus, our HIV Program Manager, grabs the megaphone and starts encouraging villagers to attend the event out the car window. We arrive at the event site and it is clear the interns have been busy this morning as all the event stations are set up: registration, HIV and malaria testing, counseling area, immunization table, etc.
As the event slowly gets started, Ainslee and Fiona, two members of the Buwoira intern team, leave the event in search of the neighborhood children, the kids who occupy, play, and giggle on the veranda of the interns’ village house. They return with 15 children in tow intending to get them all tested for malaria and immunized. We came to find out that 14 of the 15 children tested positive for malaria. At events like this, our partners supply medication for treatment of malaria along with testing kits for HIV and malaria. Because of our event in the village, all 14 kids were able to receive treatment.
Sometimes I get caught up in trying to Sometimes I get caught up in trying to learn Lusoga (Wasuze otya eyo? Bulungi!), financial spreadsheets, and sweating (a lot). I’m reminded of the importance of our work in moments like this one in Buwoira and am so grateful for this opportunity. Thank you to all of our 2015 interns! We’ll be thinking of you as we hold HIV outreach days in other Healthy Villages this month.