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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Final Impressions

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the late post, as arriving home has been very busy, as I'm sure it has been for most of you. Leaving Uganda was something I feel we could all describe as bittersweet. As most of us had began to feel a little homesick and anxious to return home the last few days, we all knew we were ending one the the best experiences we have ever had and leaving some of the most interesting and kind people we have ever met. I can honestly say that going on this trip has changed some of my world views and has bettered me as a person.
This being most of our first trip to Africa it was hard knowing exactly what to expect, no matter how much one prepared. I think that no one expected to have the experience we had; whether we were learning about human rights, parliament policies, or agriculture methods, there was always something that surprised us. Still, I think what shocked us the most was the friendships and lasting relationships we have made with the MUBS students and other Ugandans we have met over our trip.
Leaving for the airport was such a surreal experience; as no one could actually believe this trip was over we all knew that we would miss all of our new friends. As everyone was leaving you could not help but to hear everyone making promises to keep in touch with each other. Though not many tears were shed, it was easy to see that everyone was going to miss their new friends as the MUBS bus pulled away.
For me, it was from these students who I learned the most from. The conversations and explanations of everyday life is really what helped me understand the culture the best. I feel that it was this aspect of the trip that makes it what it is: an immersion of cultures to create an exceptional learning experience.
Finally in relation to sustainable development, it was very interesting to see the wide variety of opinions that had been made over the course of the trip in a discussion the last night. One of the questions posed was along the lines of: "If you could choose one thing to change to better the opportunity for Uganda in sustainable development, what would it be?" Many answers from both Drake and MUBS students included corruption and primary education. Still there were many opinions and variations to the answers provided and it was interesting to see how each and every one of us had developed such strong opinions in this area. It was inspirational to see how involved everyone was in the conversation and how much this issue had become part of us.

What are some of your guys final impressions of the country and friends we have left?

Now that it has almost been a week since we've been home, have you kept in touch with your new friends?

After hearing many different opinions in our final discussion, what do you think is the one thing that can be changed that will improve Uganda's sustainable development?

Thanks everyone for an amazing trip and for the friendships we have made!!! I am so happy to have shared one of the best experiences of my life with every one of you!


  1. I agree with Kristen in saying that this trip was a life changing experience. Meeting people who have grown up in a different culture than my own really shows me how large and diverse this world really is. I enjoyed the company and conversations I had with all of the MUBS students. I hope to continue learning from them about what they are doing and what goes on in Uganda. Getting home and seeing two friend requests on facebook made me feel like they want to keep in contact with me as much as I would like to hear from them.
    My impressions of Africa have changed a lot over the three weeks that I was there. Through learning about the traditions and tribal associations to their development as a nation and what they need to progress further. Knowing what I know now I feel like having a solid government is what they really need to develop further as a nation. No government is without it's corruption but when a government is not working toward the betterment of the people it is not doing its job. Viewing the lack of emphasis on education and better infrastructure, such as roads, it is clear to me that the people of Uganda are not benefiting as much as they can from the foreign aid that is brought to Uganda. That is just my opinion of the situation and I have to admit that I am not as educated as I would hope to be on everything that goes on in Uganda, as much as I have learned on our trip.
    I am so glad I was able to visit Uganda and meet so many wonderful people. I hope to one day go back and visit all of the MUBS students, and tour some more of the country side, maybe even get to see a lion. For now I am just glad to have been able to have such an experience and I hope you all feel the same.

  2. I think this is a perfect time to say how thankful I am to have been part of this experience. I have taken away some valuable information and some great memories from our trip and I think most of you can say the same. My final impressions of the country are vastly different from the first impressions I felt when arriving. I feel like Uganda has plenty of opportunities, but the problems with education/government/health care/etc are undoubtedly holding its residents back. Until some of these problems are resolved, Ugandans will continue to "run in place" in my opinion. I am very impressed with the MUBS students, and I really think that someday they could impact Uganda's future in a very positive manner.

    If I could change one thing that could improve Uganda's sustainability, it would definitely be the government. Everyone else's points during the discussion I understood, but all of these things need money, which is allocated by the government. Until the corruption diminishes, education will suffer, as the money that is currently allocated for it (among other things) never finds its ending place. Once this is fixed, we will see vast improvements within Uganda!

  3. Kristen, you summed up the trip beautifully. This trip was definitely life changing and really has made me a lot more appreciative of the little things. Something that I recognized day one of the trip and continue to recognize is the hard work and diligence of the Uganda people. With the limited resources and harsh conditions these people still strive for their best. I think this will definitely have an impact on Uganda in a few years and all the hard work and dedication will pay off to their economy. Even though the mindset may have to change in a half the population, the other half has their mind set to make Uganda a better more self sustaining environment. I believe the MUBS students have the chance to make this impact because they are all educated and are driven. After meeting and talking with us most of them want to strive for even more! Hopefully this will show improvements gradually within their families, then communities and then hopefully the entire society. Just as long as a group takes the initiative to make a difference, change will happen, and I believe in the Ugandan people! After our discussion the last night I would have to say that the corruption needs to end first and foremost because the gov't dictates EVERYTHING, education, health care, human rights, etc...I would not mind visiting Uganda in the next 5-10 years and see how much has changes... something tells me once I step off that plane, I won't be able to believe my eyes...

  4. I agree completely. Leaving Uganda was a moment full of torn emotions and I do have to admit that I was one of the few who did let a few tears fall. I honestly went not expecting anything, because I knew that I wouldn't be able to guess what would happen. Even now, looking back at the trip as a whole, I realize that there would have been no way for me to know what was going to happen. All of the planning sessions and research would not have prepared me adequately for what we experienced. I have been asked several times about the trip and whether I learned anything and honestly I can't imagine anyone being able to go on this trip and NOT learn something. Simply one conversation would completely change one's outlook and we were lucky enough to have three weeks full of these conversations.

  5. 人並不是生來要吃敗仗的。人可被毀滅,但不可被擊倒。.................................................................

  6. 世間事沒有一樣沒有困難,只要有信心去做,至少可以做出一些成績。..................................................

  7. 人類的聰明,並非以經驗為依歸,而是以接受經驗的行程為依歸。..................................................

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