Hello friends and faithful blog followers,
We've finally made time for a longer stint at the internet cafe--it feels like every time we come here, we have so much business to take care of that the time passes too quickly. That should be some indication of how things are going. We are busy, running around town, house hunting, meeting with people, and acclimating to a very new and beautiful place. Our real mission this week is to be learners--we have come in with an intense desire to understand how things work here, from transportation to governance to local community action organizations.
Just this morning, we met with the Deputy Mayor and his wife who is a school teacher. They both had excellent ideas for how we can get involved in the community, and make a meaningful impact that lasts far longer than our short four months here. They were very passionate about serving the community, and like many others here, have a clear understanding of what is being done already and what is lacking.
I think it is this culture of thoughtful analysis and action that I have most appreciated since arriving here. Every person we have talked to has had enlightening insight on what Uganda needs, and on why things are as they are in this community. They have so much to teach us. In learning we come to a better understanding of our role within the community--We can facilitate action only so long as we listen to their needs and synthesize the lessons they are teaching us. Every time I have thought I knew what was needed or what we can do, I have found that, while they would have accepted my ideas, theirs were better and will be more effective. HELP is lucky to be in contact with some very bright and passionate people who understand what we are capable of as well as what their community needs--I am convinced that through these partnerships, we will be able to have a very positive impact.
Logistics are coming along nicely. We have found a suitable house not too far from town, and we are going to negotiate the price and contract this afternoon. Wish us luck! It is a very comfortable place with indoor plumbing and electricity, and plenty of space for a group of our size. We also have a courtyard with a little bit of grass, and there is a boda boda waiting point just a few meters from the driveway. the only drawback is that it is close to a main road, so we can hear the traffic. We've also found someone willing to cook for us, and a guard--we are trying as much as possible to use connections from past years. They've had good experiences working with us in the past and are very excited that we are in Mukono again.
On a personal note, this place is truly amazing. The people are kind, generous, friendly, open, and genuine, which is a real breath of fresh air. I feel welcome and safe, in part because I know that people in this community value our presence and are looking out for us. We can't wait for the volunteers to arrive. We've already started setting up some good projects for the first few days, so that everybody can get a taste of what is available, along with meetings with some partners.
I think it is going to be a great summer!