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RN volunteer trip to Uganda

Take me home red dirt road

UGANDA | Thursday, 6 October 2016 | Views [241] | Comments [1]

 After our time spent in the clinic, Morgan, Leah and I went for a walk to explore the village and see the farm that sustains our center. All the plants are green and thriving, a bright contrast against the red clay dirt paths and roads. There are man made gorges in the land where they create red bricks from the clay; the moist bricks are put into kilns made out of more red bricks. Near these red brick kilns, the size of huts, are huts made from more red brick, mixed with small circular huts made from mud and weeds. These small one-room huts can house over a dozen people. Gaggles of children will run out of the dirt yards and into the paths to greet us and laugh at us as we try to pronounce their language. As we walk the children will continue to walk with us holding our hands, little boys darting between us and racing down the road after their toys; which are boda boda tires that they roll. There is a never-ending parade of children who are unable to attend school because their families cannot afford it. Cows and goats are scattered everywhere tied to one spot with rough ropes. Chickens are free to roam as they please. Our village education continued in the kitchen.


Morgan, Leah and I joined Anna in the kitchen to learn how they cook in Uganda and how Anna has been making our food. (Anna was shocked to see us cooking, she told us that Ugandan’s think that American’s all have maids and we do not have to provide for ourselves other than by working in comfy jobs.) Cooking here involves only one cutting knife, old dented bowls, pots and pans and small coal stoves placed on the ground. While cooking Anna educated us about what is considered inappropriate in this culture. This involves squatting down; instead Ugandan women have to bend at the waist with straight legs. Sitting cross-legged on the ground means you are Muslim. When sitting on the ground, women have to have both legs to one side and have to be careful not to touch the ground with their hands. Having skirts above the knees is considered highly inappropriate. Passing items or eating with your left hand is seen as a sign of disrespect. When an adult talks to a child they can either sit on the ground, on a stool or remain standing, they cannot squat down to eye level. When children come across an elder they have to kneel on the ground. We have actually had a couple of children in the village do this to us as we walked by. Many of these traditions can vary from clan to clan; it is always best to ask what is offensive and what is not.


The last part of the day was spent tilling land to plant sweet potatoes with the kids. We walked about a mile on dirt paths; again my heart ached as I watched some of the kids hobble along on bare feet. When we got to the farm, 7 year-olds managed machetes and cleared small trees and brush from the land while the other young children used hoes to till the land. It was incredible to see such young children doing the work that takes the strength of a grown man back home. They sat and tried teaching us more of their language. Laughing at our pronunciations and frustration, you would swear we were stand up comedians! I love how the children at the center are always smiling and laughing, even with sores on their feet they find joy and happiness.  


Be a forever learner!


Gypsy RN



It's amazing some of the different things that are considered disrespectful in other cultures!

  Natalie Oct 7, 2016 10:53 PM

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