The Story So Far…

Hi. Hello. Welcome. I’m a bit nervous as I don’t know how to start these things, but hey, I’ve jumped into plenty of other things before. Why not this too?

This story began a few months back when my time came to apply for a co-op job through the beloved Drexel University. Having gone from one major to another and losing several chances to study abroad, I figured this was the time to go international. Skipping ahead three applications and two interviews, I chose to work with World Vision Uganda and their WASH division (water, sanitation, and hygiene).

A twelve and a half hour flight to Doha, Qatar and a second five and a half hour flight to Entebbe, Uganda I arrived in the country that is to be my home for the next five or so months. Very exciting when the adrenaline is coursing through your veins like boda-bodas in Kampala’s rush hour traffic, but extremely unsettling when you realize “I agreed to do this and am just now realizing I know not one soul in the country.” Real nice. But that’s the stuff that makes us who we are. Our ability to adapt, to learn, and to struggle and emerge with battle wounds reminding us of how strong and resilient we are — it’ll carry you through any thing and every thing.

This is Mati and me. Wrong driver, but very nice!

For those of you who know me - I know, I know. You’re still waiting to hear what my exact assignment is and where exactly I’ll be staying. For now I’ll be hopping between cities and will hopefully be situated in a permanent location by the end of the month. Not much help, I know, but patience is key here. Trust me. During my stay I’ll be researching the effect of improved hygiene practices at household levels and its impact on the health of children between 0–5 years of age. As of today, 13 April 2016, I’ll be headed to Namanyonyi to conduct this research but will be traveling to several towns to conduct research (I’ll update the towns I work in as much as possible).

I spent most of this as an introduction to the series of articles I’ll be posting about my time in Uganda, so I’ll leave you with some fun stuff —

Things that would scare my mom:

  • Before even landing in Uganda, a gentleman sitting at the end of my row hit on me and tried to get my phone number. (I’m sure his intentions were harmless but safety first.)
  • The wrong driver picked me up from the airport (but it was a World Vision employee nonetheless).
  • The ENTIRE country lost power twice in one night. I thought it was awesome.
  • My first night out a kind gentleman bought me dinner. (It really hit me then that I’m an adult operating in the adult world. I could get used to it if that means free food occasionally. A lot like college now that I think about it.)
  • As of this post I still do not know who I will be spending the next few months with but that is exciting more than anything else. I know the World Vision staff here will figure it out soon enough, so I’m just going to sit back and see what happens. It’s worked so far.

Summary: I love this place and couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life right now.

Until next time,

GiGi

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