Thursday, August 4, 2011


Friday will mark the end of our first term here at Bushenyi PTC! The 11th of this month will make 6 months that we’ve been in Uganda, and a new group of Peace Corps Trainees arrives in country tomorrow! Seems like as good a time as any for some reflection!

On the whole, I think our first term here has been a success! It has certainly not been without challenges and frustrations, but there’s been a lot of joy too! I feel like we’re often on a roller coaster of feeling one day as if what we’re doing here is really significant and important, and the next feeling a little like we’re just hitting our heads against the wall! So, it’s good for us (especially on days like the latter) to consider all the great things that have happened this term, and maybe reframe the struggles into potential challenges that have a chance to be overcome! are my thoughts!

  • Moving into our home, making it our own, and finding our way around our new community (no street signs here!)
  • Developing relationships with staff, students community members, and local kiddos (it makes my heart happy to hear “ay-mee-lee (emily)!!!” instead of “mzungu (white person)!!!” when we walk around the village!)
  • Finding ourselves a spot on the time table and beginning to teach
  • Laying the foundation for secondary projects (Math Power Hour, open computer lab time, drama clubs, water catchment systems, malaria projects!)
  • Learning to enjoy running!
  • Finding our rhythm with going to the market, being present at the college, and spending time with each other
  • Navigating cross cultural communication (still a work in progress...)
  • Supporting the BTPC kids at scouting and track and field competitions
  • Living on a Peace Corps budget
  • Investing in friendships with nearby PCVs
  • Becoming “pros” at Ugandan public transportation!
  • Expanding our job descriptions to include health projects, specifically malaria sensitization and prevention efforts
  • Cooking - using the sigeeri (charcoal stove) and really taking advantage of all these great vegetables and fruits
  • Seeing some more of this wonderful country - Mbarara, Rakai, Kasese, Fort Portal, and Queen Elizabeth Natl. Park!
  • Going with the flow despite electricity outages, crazy rain storms, and “ugandan time”
  • Hurtles to getting anything and everything started! (connecting problems with solutions)
  • Insufficient language progress for engaging with staff when they choose to speak vernacular in the staff room, and with rural community members
  • Being valued and taken seriously in a patriarchal society
  • Missing home: family, friends, jobs (purpose!), and life in Minnesota!
  • Keeping patient and trying to understand when decisions or actions in the college or community seem incredibly ridiculous or unjust to us!
  • Having to work so hard to feel like we are contributing anything useful here
Lots of times PCVs will tell us “the days drag on and on, but the weeks and months fly by.” I feel like that’s been the case for us too. It’s a little hard to believe we’ve already been in Uganda for half of a year, and at site for over 3 months! But, as I look at my list of successes and challenges, I think I can feel good about what we’ve started here! We always knew these first few months adjusting at site would be pretty challenging, but I think we’ve laid a good foundation to build off of when the students come back and we return from all of our August traveling.

Thanks for reading!

Love you and miss you all,

PS - I uploaded some new pics to facebook today. If you're interested, click here!

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