On August 2nd, Ashley Moore, Megan Fleeman and I left Nashville, Tennessee, USA for a 15-week immersion in Kampala, Uganda, East Africa. This experience is part of our vocational and occupational training as students at the Institute for Global Outreach Developments Int'l, the educational arm of G.O.D. Int’l. Each of us has been on at least two prior immersions to East Africa for at least five weeks. This is the next step for each of us personally, as we get closer to transplanting part of our community in Tennessee to Uganda.
During our stay, we will each be participating in a variety of activities specific to our intended area of focus. Ashley will be volunteering with a local non-governmental organization, Action for Fundamental Change and Development (AFFCAD), which works with victims of HIV/AIDS and poverty in one of the largest slums in Kampala . Eighty percent of the community in this slum area lives on less than one dollar each day. Ashley will be teaching arts and crafts, reading and writing, and small business skills to women and children at the Excel Education Center located in the slum, attending preparatory meetings for the 6th national pediatric HIV/AIDS conference in Kampala, and visiting and assessing needs of the families there. She is also planning to take a language course in Luganda, the mother tongue of central Ugandans, and volunteer at the YMCA.
Megan is in the process of getting approved by the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council to volunteer in pre-natal, labor, and post-partum care at Uganda’s largest hospital. All complicated cases are referred to this hospital from health centers across the country, and 27,000 mothers give birth here each year. Megan is a certified childbirth educator, labor doula, and is working toward becoming a certified professional midwife. In order to gain greater competency in maternal care, she will be working with patients alongside nurses and midwives at the hospital. She will also be volunteering in the social aspect of women’s health, and is planning to enroll in a Luganda course with Ashley.
This is the first time any of us have stayed in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. Previous trips have been spent in a smaller town twenty miles outside of Kampala. Every other weekend, we will leave the city of Kampala to stay with our cooperatives we have met on previous trips, during which we will spend time encouraging them and sharing during their Sunday night bible studies.
As future development workers in Uganda, this experience is invaluable to our personal development. We are learning to understand ourselves and what utility we have to bring to the beautiful people of this country.