Everyone is this is room is an experienced traveler. Collectively, we’ve ventured to the farthest corners of the globe. Most have spent time in the developing world. Yet, the excitement level is off the charts as we prepare for our adventures. I’m humbled by the extraordinary company I find myself so privileged to among. The learning challenge surpasses my expectations; there’s so much to learn! This the type of volunteer challenge I’ve been seeking. One that satisfies a profound social mission while providing a meaningful life expereince and a rare...Continue Reading >>
Stories from Uganda
Yesterday I was not in a fight, but rather saw my first fight in Uganda. This fight was over a woman – me. However, it was not between jealous lovers. Rather, the fight was between two taxi drivers vying for my fare.
In Kampala, if one doesn’t have a car or is too scared to drive (me), there are two other forms of transportation to get around. One option is to take a boda-boda which is a motorcycle. The other option is to take a matatu which is a shared van that...Continue Reading >>
Each morning before heading into the field, I read the New Vision, a daily newspaper in Kampala. A few weeks ago there was a special article about a town in Uganda in which the men do nothing but drink, gamble and nurse their hangovers while the women work and tend to the house, children and their needy husbands. The article speculated that the men needed therapy to deal with their lack of motivation resulting from the extreme poverty they are living in.
Upon mentioning the article to my...Continue Reading >>
So much has happened since I last wrote that I feel it is necessary to cover three topics in this entry. For my friends who have inquired about Kampala, I wanted to speak more about the city. In addition, I have officially started work and have been in the field on several occasions, piquing my interest and desire to share information on both the loan officers at MCDT and the amazing women I have met. Please bear with me…
Kampala has completely surprised me. I realize now that unlike my last trip...Continue Reading >>
Upon arrival in Entebbe (the airport for Kampala is actually in Entebbe, the old capital city which is 45 minutes from Kampala), I knew I was definitely back in Africa. It wasn’t because as a white woman I was in the minority, but rather it was the smell. On the drive to Kampala and my hotel, I was trying to figure out how to describe the smell and all I could come up with was the following: the smell is akin to driving in the country past a bonfire in which the burning scent fills your car and your nose. Yes, Africa...Continue Reading >>
The first week I came to MCDT, Justine, my supervisor, and Olivia, her supervisor, were looking at pictures of borrowers they were preparing to post to the Kiva website. They called me over to look at one person in particular, standing in the middle of a group of five and said, “You must meet Ruth!” They told me she was the embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit and a real survivor. They told me how she’s living with AIDS and lost her husband to the...Continue Reading >>
Here it is: my first blog entry! As I write this, I am putting the finishing touches on my packing and realizing I truly have no idea what to expect! I am in the phase of packing in which I second guess my second guesses and start throwing the unnecessary items back in – I think this can be referred to as panicking! What it comes down to is that no matter how much I have been reading about Uganda and Kampala, I have no real idea what to expect.
However, to say that I am unprepared is a bit preposterous. I recently got...Continue Reading >>
These past couple of weeks at MCDT, my primary task has been interviewing women who will be getting their first Kiva loan (though not their first loan) in order to write up the brief introduction posted on the Kiva website. Keep an eye out for them! They’re terrific people and a terrific organization and I’m excited to be helping them get these loans.
I’ve been hearing so many stories doing these interviews, as you can imagine, it’s hard to select any particular one to share. But there was one yesterday that got to me and I thought I’d pass it along.
Fred, the...Continue Reading >>
Warning: The following story is not supposed to suggest that I think every African is noisy and offensive! It may seem that I am complaining about something very trivial and some sections of society will read this and say “If you don’t like it them leave”. To them I say… I am not asking anyone here to change – I love it here – merely writing about the fact that I haven’t managed to sleep through a night since coming here. I love the life and energy here and wouldn’t want it any other way (god,...Continue Reading >>
Last week I had a heated discussion with a minibus taxi conductor. The locals that witnessed this event rarely see anyone losing their temper, let alone raising their voice in public. Genevieve and I have been using the same bus route for a number of weeks now and, while at first we paid slightly more than the locals, it’s now obvious that we know the price and all the conductors charge us appropriately.
... Continue Reading >>