Monday, July 3, 2017

First Impressions by Jasmine Zhang

From left to right: Jasmine, Maria, Doreen, Josev,
Kai, and Catherine
At Nekoli Guest House, where all the interns stayed for orientation, I repeatedly reminded myself that we were lucky to have a shower curtain—no matter how many huge holes it had. I told myself the toilet was nice—no matter that it didn't flush sometimes. Phone service was even a blessing, because, in four days, these simple things would be unavailable.

My first glance at the Kamira house and compound was promising: colorfully-tiled walls, a spacious yard, and a welcoming party of children. But when we entered, it honestly felt dark and hollow. I had never seen so many insects in one place, except for the bug museum I went to on my 3rd grade field trip. And the latrine? If I fell in, I wouldn't even have phone reception to call for help. I think most of us seriously considered (or are still considering) purchasing chamber pots.

However, a week later, after decorating and making the house our own, interacting with the curious children, and seeing, actually, how fortunate we are compared to some homes, I've readjusted my expectations and have come to terms with most things. Over the weekend in the bustling city of Jinja, the atmosphere was dissimilar, foreign, too fast. With electricity, I found myself whisked up in technology and my phone more than with real human beings. I genuinely missed the kids staring at us and giggling on our porch. I had urges to greet the Jinja store owners with "mosiibye motya" instead of "how is your day". After six mosquito bites on one arm, I even missed my scratchy mosquito net. Thus, I came back Sunday and, truthfully, didn't feel any regret or disappointment. Only content, and that it would be the start of a new week soon; we had people to meet, conversations to make, work to do. 

Jasmine Zhang is a sophomore at New York University studying global public health. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to pursue medicine. She recently spent her freshman year in Florence, Italy. For more information on the Kamira team members and other UVP interns, check out their bios.
Team Kamira with UVP intern coordinators Keneth
and Tom in the village.

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