Sunday, May 29, 2011

Musibye motyamo Bannyabo ne Bassebo!

Good afternoon Ladies and gentlemen!

In addition to Luganda language lessons, our first two days in Uganda have been very busy and eye opening.

I think our language lessons have been the most culturally enlightening so far. The phrase in the title above is more than an afternoon greeting, it asks, "How have you spent your day?" A typical greeting consists of a response to that question, reciprocation, and appropriate small talk follow up such as "Weebele emirimu" or "Thank you for the work you have done today." Our questions of how to say hello to people we see in passing were always answered with the basic conversation we had just learned. Until our pronunciation improves, that conversation could easily stop more than minute. The Ugandan social network and personal relationships are very important, and I see that reflected in this small piece of language. I hope to understand more of this as I begin my work with Organisation for Rural Development and move in with my host family on Tuesday.

For now, orientation continues at our hotel on the Nile. It is beautiful, and very green! Mallory and I have enjoyed travel luxury from free eye masks and socks from the floating palace which is Ethiopian Air, to the free wifi at airports and our hotel! It feels like a vacation. The other interns, we number eight total, seem great and have come from all over the USA. We make quite a scene walking around town, but I am proud to say none of us fell off the boda boda bike taxis today, fingers crossed we can make it through the summer!

Edit: view of the Nile from the garden behind our hotel

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's Go Time

It seems unreal that in less than three days I will have arrived in Jinja, Uganda. More than half of that time (roughly 30 hours) will be spent in transit!

We just received our orientation schedules, and I was very excited to see that we will be taking a trip to Bujagali Falls on the Nile River! Ever since I received my internship offer in February I began researching Uganda, and pictures of these falls have mesmerized me and quickly became my desktop image. This side trip will definitely get my Summer To Do list well underway!

Other priorities on that list are:
  • Surviving
  • Visiting the textile market
  • Go to Kampala
  • Experience a church service
  • Safari!!!!
  • White water rafting on the Nile!!
...and so much more!. But, I'm not going to just give it all away, you will just have to come back and read more.

While you wait for more posts, feel free to enjoy this picture of Bujagali Falls and try to picture Mallory and I right there off to the side!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Four Days To Go!

Between getting all the papers I need, stockpiling the necessities such as medicine, and buying appropriate clothes, the fact that I would be leaving for the other side of the world in four days has snuck up on me.

My name is Mallory, and I will be a junior at the Kelley School of Business. I can't believe it was just three months ago that I received my offer from the Kelley Institute for Social Impact (KISI) to intern with the Foundation for Sustainable Development. Along with Laura, I will be in Jinja, Uganda - the second largest town in the country and gorgeously situated at the source of the Nile river on Lake Victoria.

I'll be working at a microfinance institution called Nakanyoni Good Shepherd Cooperative Saving and Credit Society, which lends small amounts of money to people in the community and provides training and support for them to start their own businesses. This amazing organization also provides child support, HIV/AIDS counseling to their members, and savings services to their clients. Nakanyoni's small loans and business training will create business in the local community, and alleviate poverty by generating income for the family and employing community members. As an International Business major, I'm especially excited for this opportunity to gain business experience working in Africa.

Since school has been out, it's been really
interesting to try and make the transition to living in Africa. All of my clothes have to be below the knee, which means lots of trips to Goodwill to find appropriate dresses for work. Before we left IU for the summer, Laura and I also bought fashionable headbands, since weather is hot and humid. A fair trade find too - very appropriate! (Mallory, left. Laura, right.)

As we get closer to leaving for Africa, I wanted to thank KISI for the opportunity to go overseas, and the Trockman Microfinance Initiative for providing me with a travel grant to help with my internship expenses.

The next blog post will be from Uganda!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Just the Beginning!

While I am in the midst of earning a business degree from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, in two weeks I will begin the most adventures, exciting, and independent summer of my life. Leaving home in Central California, I will meet up with my travel buddy, Mallory, in Washington D.C. before we hop over the Atlantic to our final destination of Uganda!

I will be interning with the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD), who has placed me with the Organisation for Rural Development (ORUDE) for the duration of my eleven week internship. Their mission is to promote and strengthen rural women’s savings and lending cooperatives through supporting enterprise and rights based development for improved livelihoods. Throughout my internship I will develop a project to help further their mission and write a grant proposal to help fund and implement my project.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Kelley Institute for Social Impact (KISI) for their support of my internship experience.

Academic and service work opportunities have allowed me to experience new cultures, ideas, and people while traveling in Chile, Germany, Italy, and Mexico, as well as throughout the United States. I am a big fan of finding takeaways from my experiences, and from my travels, one thing I have learned to be absolute: "Chance favors the prepared mind" -Louis Pasteur. So, I will be spending the next two weeks immersed in planning, packing and all the literature I can get my hands on!

I know Uganda will offer lots of adventures yet to be discovered, and I hope to capture them in pictures, stories, and blogging.

Next weeks blog: My Summer To Do/Don't list!