I am having a fantastic time in Uganda! I have learned sooooo much and the host family is wonderful! I would love you upload photos onto the Facebook website and tell you some stories, but that will have to wait until I get home. Thanks for checking on me!
I wanted to provide feedback about my stay in Uganda. I can't seem to find a form on the website so please see below.,
Overall it was an amazing experience and I had a wonderful time. I very much enjoyed the life I led there, the work I did, Herman and his family and the country and its people. It truly is a Pearl of a country!
Even before I got to Kampala Herman did a great job at making me feel welcomed and that they were looking forward to having me. From the moment I arrived until the moment I left I had nothing but enriching exchanges and experiences with him and his family.
The language and cultural program was excellent and very helpful, I would highly recommend it.
I loved working at the school/orphanage and at the babies orphanage. Working with the kids at the school/orphanage was a life experience I will never forget. I learned everyday from the children and the teachers. While teaching is not my thing, the children made it so worthwhile I forgot teaching was not my thing. Anne, the head teacher, had a very good notebook with the curriculum which I found extremely helpful, without it one is just making things up for the children which is neither productive for them nor useful for the volunteer. I would encourage every school to have that.
Staying with Herman's family in great part made my experience so good and enriching. Being away from home for an extended period in a foreign country is not always easy, but Herman, Anne and the rest of the family made it wonderful. They were all warm, welcoming, interesting and interested in the cultural exchange and always willing to do whatever necessary to help or make my stay more comfortable and enjoyable.
My only regret is not having been able to stay longer :(
There is one thing I would like to suggest and that is a better system for IFRE to screen volunteers in 1 area and guide in 2 areas:
1 - Commitment and responsibility to volunteering and the projects they are assigned to. Most of the volunteers that were there while I was there were very young people with a lack of commitment and responsibility to volunteering or their projects. They seemed to think they were there on vacation and volunteering was a "nice to do" whenever they felt like it (which was not often). There is no way one can force these kids. Please note I do not think this is the job for an African person, a western with western sensibilities should screen.
2 - hCreate igher awareness of the fact that Uganda is not the US, the UK, Germany or any other developed country. While people think they know what it means to go to a developing country, they don't really and when they get there and realize what it really means they have a hard time adjusting to the lack of many things and can be quite rude about it to the local people.
3 - Help volunteers understand that they are staying at someone's home and they should be respectful. It sounds obvious and that it should go without saying but you would be surprised of western people's expectations and behaviours, particularly the younger ones, which seem to lack obvious judgement.
I hope you find the above helpful. All in all I LOVED my time in Uganda!
With gratitude for making such a life enriching experience possible I wish you happy new year,