About Uganda

The Global Volunteer Network currently has opportunities aimed at providing primary and secondary education to needy children, and community outreach and counseling with our partner organization in Uganda.

Our partner has projects based in Mukono Town and within nearby villages. These projects provide an opportunity to experience Ugandan life first-hand while working to improve your host community.

For more information, please visit the Uganda program page on the Global Volunteer Network website.

Recent Uganda Journals:

Day 1-ish

 Posted by Daniel Loura at 4:07 pm  Uganda  Comments Off on Day 1-ish
Jul 012016
 

Driving to Mukono was wonderful.  Many things to be seen.  Leslie’s house is lovely and gives the feeling of being at home.  

Nov 012014
 

Lest you imagine me flowing around Uganda in long skirts and lovely sandals delicately picking up small children as I give them worming medication…..I’d like to clarify and offer you a more realistic picture of a few highly graceful acts lately. Tumbling off the back of a boda-boda:  Coming home late at night recently, I was wearing my back pack (as always) that I had stuffed with goods I picked up at the shops after a long day in the village.  I was shaky (hadn’t eaten), exhausted and ready for a shower and bed.  The boda driver delivered me nicely in front of my gate but as I dismounted I wasn’t paying attention and totally lost my balance.  I landed on my back in the dark in the middle of the dirt road.  Because of my exhaustion and the weight of the back pack, I laid their flailing my arms and legs like a flipped-over turtle for a few minutes until I summoned the strength to right myself.  The poor motorcycle driver was horrified and just stared at me until I started to laugh so hard, it helped propel me on to my side and onto my knees and then he helped me up.  I was too tired (and surprised) to be embarrassed and just wanted to get inside and get a cold shower and dinner.  My bum hurts where I landed but no real damage was done.  I’m sure the driver has a good story to tell about the muzungu (white person) who flopped off the back of his bike. Falling into a taxi: I now work in Kampala (capital of Uganda) two or three days per week on another project.  To get there entails a 2-3 hour taxi ride from Lugazi (my home).  You remember from a previous [click here to read more]

 

10/8/14 The toughest physical day so far Today, after sitting around for two hours waiting for the rain to cease, my translator and I went into the village.  This was a typical “getting to know you walk around” that we’re doing in each of the seven villages before we actually sit down and ask the difficult medical and risk assessment questions.  I take Polaroid pictures which I give to the villagers; we play with the small children, hand out sweets, ooh and aah over new-born goats and in general let them know we mean no harm.  We then ask permission to sit with them next week to ask some very personal questions about their lives in the village.  No one has ever denied our request – quite the contrary, we are often met with the women going down on bended knees (a traditional greeting of respect for these tribes), gripping our hands with both of theirs and thanking us for any help we might bring them in the future. Although I’ve physically trained for this trip, today was tough.  Every dirt road we walked on to get deep into the villages had turned into slushy red mud because of the morning’s rain.  I wear heavy work boots with thick, deep treads on days we go into the village so that I don’t slip and fall (and to keep any critters from finding their way up my pants legs.)   The deep treads worked to my disadvantage today because the mud immediately caked and stuck into the treads so with every step I was carrying extra weight in mud.  I slipped constantly trying to keep a foothold. The humidity was high and the village is the most “tropical” place I work.  We are often deep in a lush forested area with overhead [click here to read more]

Into the Village….#7 from Uganda

 Posted by Charlotte Versagi at 9:28 pm  Uganda  Comments Off on Into the Village….#7 from Uganda
Oct 022014
 
Into the Village....#7 from Uganda

GVN POSTING #7 OCTOBER 5, 2014 “INTO THE VILLAGE” “Do you use toilet paper?”  “Where is the source of your water?”  “How far away from your home is the latrine?”  Questions that would seem absurd in the U.S. are part of a medical/needs assessment questionnaire we are conducting in Kitoola, a village deep in Central Uganda.  Along with me is my interpreter and administrator of a nearby school — an absolute prince of a young man – Innocent.  He is charming, ever-smiling, diplomatic with the “touchy” questions (“Do you or anyone in your family have HIV?” for example) and since he grew up in this village, and escaped the life-style by going to university, he is a hero and an inspiration to everyone he greets. Last week we began the medical assessment process by simply walking through a section of the village we will be contacting.  The “interview process” is an alien form of communication for Ugandans, so we wanted to bring little gifts and introduce ourselves before we sat down with a 10 page questionnaire and hammered them for responses.  We took Instamatic (think Polaroid) pictures of the children, women and grandmothers – which thrilled them and softened the presence of the “muzungu” (white person). This week when we returned, they were prepared to sit with us for 30-45 minutes and answer our questions.   Our questions cover a wide a range of health, medical care and sanitation.  “Do you use tooth brushes?”  “Do you have sufficient food?”  “Is your food sufficiently diversified?”  “Do you use soap when you bathe?”  “Do you wash your hands after you use the toilet?” “Did anyone in your family die in the last year of an illness or medical emergency?” “Where do you go for medical help?” We hope to spend about two months [click here to read more]

 
Let's try to give you some pix from Uganda #6.5

Banana served a la cow urine – Post #6 from Uganda

 Posted by Charlotte Versagi at 8:24 pm  Uganda  Comments Off on Banana served a la cow urine – Post #6 from Uganda
Sep 262014
 

We are beginning a medical needs assessment in the village of Kitoola and all surrounding/connect villages.  It is done by walking to each compound along red earth trails, along beautiful, lush gardens and often under the shade of huge banana trees. One of our stops today:  When the Jaaja (grandmother) realized she was getting guests she ordered her daughter to run and get two small wooden stools on which the guests could sit.  Jaaja sat on the ground on a woven mat in the middle of this small clearing in the lush African trees.  She was positioned between the cooking hut and the cow enclosure – which included long poles made from the surrounding trees, lashed together at every corner and an old tractor tire used to hold the animal’s food.  The entire area from cow to Grandmother to seated guests to the end of the cooking hut was perhaps 15 feet.  The guests could both reach out and touch the huge black and white dairy cow to one side of the clearing whilst reaching over to respectfully shake Grandmother’s hand as well. As the interpreter started to explain the purpose of our visit, the daughter ran into the house/hut and returned with a plastic plate containing a pile of bananas which she offered to the guests.  Of course we each took one. By now other family members had crowded around the “muzungu” (white person) and the interpreter and were shyly peeking from behind nearby trees or plunked with naked bottoms on the ground to see and hear the spectacle. The cooking hut contained various forms of cooking – the heavy metal charcoal cooker  looks like a double boiler with holes poked in the sides where the charcoal heats while another pot is placed on top in which the food [click here to read more]

 

GVN Post #5 – Take a walk with me Today, I’d like to share the one mile walk from my compound in the village of Kikowola (Cheek COW oo lah) to the town of Lugazi where there are shops, a large sugar cane factory as well as Kawolo government hospital where I work two days per week The second you step outside the walls of my locked and guarded compound (my host is considered wealthy by Ugandan standards because he has a steady income, a “real” house, one flushing toilet, running cold water, intermittent electricity, and he drives a van) you are walking on a rutted, worn, jagged red dirt road about seven feet wide.  Off both sides of the road are drainage ditches that double as garbage disposals.  Besides the unseemly items that I won’t share with you, there are dead rats, sugar cane bark, plastic bags and plastic bottles, general food refuse and globs of mud.  Street cleaners, (aged women wearing long blue coats with “CLEANER” imprinted in white on their backs), shovel, sweep and remove the garbage a couple of times per week. A fine poof of red dust rises from your feet as you take every step (except right after a most welcome rain at which point you are tromping through thick mud) and when the occasional truck goes by you become completely covered in the fine red dust and – unless you hold your breath, which I have learned to do – you are treated to the inhalation of unbelievable plumes of black exhaust. Chickens (which provide eggs, not meat) are everywhere and families of chicks daily scramble behind mom as she struggles over piles of garbage, pecks for liquid in foul water and tries to avoid the ever-present boda-bodas which grant them no mercy.  [click here to read more]

 

Because each village, town, shop center, school and church are located at great distances from one another, the only way to get from one point to another is to either walk (which most residents must do) or to take a boda-boda (motorcycle designed with an extended seat for one or more passengers carrying packages or “taxis” which you will soon understand are related in no way to the U.S. vehicle of the same name. First the boda-boda experience.  The drivers are all young men, none wear helmets or goggles, all have deeply reddened eyes from the hot sun and red dust that assail them all day.  They cluster on busy road corners, in front of stores or near large intersections.  A simple nod to one of them will draw the eager driver over at which time the customer piles packages in front of the driver, mounts the bike behind the bleary-eyed young man and then holds on for dear life.  It is culturally proper, if the passenger is a skirt-wearing female, to ride side saddle.  It is a skill quickly learned to balance a backpack on one’s back, shopping bags in the lap, an umbrella (for the unpredictable but drenching rains during the rainy season) under the arm with the other arm wrapped firmly but not too familiarly around the abdomen of the person who now holds your life in his hands. The ride is too fast, bumpy and shockingly scary if you allow yourself to think about what might actually happen to you. But the drivers swerve around muddy holes, easily glide over mounds of dirt, avoid piles of rubbish, successfully miss the chickens who in fact do try to cross the road, maneuver around corners taking into account the age and possible fragility of the passenger and manage [click here to read more]

 

Sunday, September 7.  Hi everyone!  There has been almost no “adjustment” for me; I think months of immersion has helped immensely.  I wanted to let you know the two projects I’ll be focusing on while here for 6 months.  The first with YOFAFO (a youth support organization initiated by Valence, my host family head) will be to create (from nothing!) an on-site clinic in the remote village of Kitoola.  There is a grade school of sorts there now but the school and people in the surrounding villages have no health care. Valence would like me to write educational modules, set up the clinic, do a needs assessment, find a nurse to work there full time and then a doctor to visit weekly.  Okay…..and oh, to get TO this village I have to take about an hour boda-boda motorcycle ride on back/mud roads.  I should have brought jeans!  I will work in Kitoola 3 days per week.  The next project with Dr. James Wanyama at Kawola Hospital is to set up a nutritional and supplemental feeding center for the orphans suffering from HIV/AIDS.  There IS a clinic “model” that exists about an hour away that I will visit and ask about a million questions and use for the model to set up Dr. Wanyama’s center here in town.  I can walk to “my” hospital in about 30 minutes when I go to work there 2x per week. The work is extremely ambitious but everyone seems so pleased that I’m here for 6 months and has high hopes I can get the foundation laid for these two projects and then they can continue once I leave. Some short notes on “life” here….my host family was pretty horrified to find out I am vegetarian; they have adjusted by making me beans for every dinner. [click here to read more]

 

If you have ever been in a situation when you are LIVING a dream come true, you will know how I feel.  I have not yet been “in the village” (that happens today!) but I can give you images of my stay so far…..red earth, rainy season turns it into red running mud, chickens all over, roosters greeting you at dawn, goats in many yards, gorgeous smiling bare-footed Uganda children running to meet the “Muzungu” (white person), some are shy and ask to touch my skin, others just grab my hand and walk with me.  Food is EXCELLENT, lots of beans, rice, bananas, potatoes….I will NOT starve.  People in my project — The Real Uganda and YOFAFO a youth-project that has made AMAZING strides toward helping people in the village — treat me like family.  In the compound where I live there is a cook, someone to do my wash, someone to clean my shoes (MUD and dust every day) and the people are SO kind.  I am now known as “Jaja” (soft J as in Jaywalking) an honorary name that means “Grandmother” because of my age and the work I’ll be doing I am called “Naasi” (nurse).  Life is simply wonderful and EVERYTHING is new and unusual and interesting.  I’ll try to post weekly for those who are interested……Keep me in your prayers…do NOT worry, just be happy for me and I am EASILY online so email me about your lives, I want to know!

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