Nkula musiza everyone!* This is Helaina and Julia checking in from Kampala. The past few weeks have been a crash course in understanding Ugandan culture and learning the ropes of Educate!. Julia and Stacey began their time here four weeks ago with a trip to the Kyangwali refugee camp where they met many Educate! sponsored students. From there they returned to Kampala and, with their fellow Educate! volunteers, moved into the new office. Helaina and Nate arrived one week later and joined the rest of the Educate! team in the brand new office/house.
After settling into the office, the interns were paired off and assigned to research potential partner schools in different districts of Kampala. Julia and Nate were in charge of the Kawempe district, while Helaina and Stacey took on Wakiso. Specifically, each of the pairs met with administrators from various schools to present the Educate! programs and to get a feel for the culture of each school. A typical meeting consists of a presentation by the interns of the Educate! leadership programs, answering questions and responding to concerns, and inquiring into the philosophy and curriculum of each school. Each pair has successfully identified four schools in each district that Educate! will work with. Helaina and Julia have now moved on to the Makindye district where they will again begin the research process. Nate will continue to build the relationship between Educate! and the Kawempe schools while Stacey does the same in Wakiso. Everyone is pleased with the progress so far and anticipates that the school selection in each cluster will be finalized
within the next few weeks.
On another note, who knew that the mouth of the Nile is in Uganda? After this discovery, the Educate! team joined up with volunteers from a nearby NGO two weekends agoto take on the mighty Nile. Driving to the rafting base, the interns happened to catch a glimpse of a crocodile lurking in the water near the rapids. Helaina and Julia soon learned that these were no ordinary rapids - four of the twelve were CLASS FIVE (The highest categorization short of a waterfall). Although the endeavor was daunting, their fears were calmed by Juma, their quirky rafting guide. He began by the trip by announcing that he was scared, he hated flipping, and that this was his second week of guiding. Thankfully, they later realized that at least three quarters of everything he said was a lie, including the fact that his second job was pimping, his “little” knowledge of English, and his number of wives. To truly appreciate Juma in all his glory, you have to spend a whole
day in a floating 10 x 4 vehicle with him. The rafting itself was relatively terrifying, to say the least. Each of the two times their boat flipped, everyone drank at least two liters of Nile water while floundering about as
the safety kayaks rushed to the rescue. But despite the flips and the black mamba snaking through the water, it really was one of the most incredible experiences and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. If you are ever overcome with a desire to conquer this legendary river, look up Nile River Explorers, which really is “probably the best rafting in the world.”
Thanks for tuning in! Nate and Stacey will post shortly about their experience so far. Weeraba!**
*”What’s up” in Luganda
**”Goodbye” in Luganda