Friday, May 10, 2013

2013 Uganda Travel Seminar Readies for May 24th Departure

The Drake University faculty and student participants in the 7th annual Sustainability in sub-Saharan Africa study abroad program depart from various points in the Midwest on Friday, May 24th.  One student will start her adventure much earlier than the rest of the group with a 6 AM departure flight. If all goes according to plan by 4:35 PM Eastern time, twenty-two excited Drake students, Dr. Glenn McKnight & myself will meet up at the Newark, NJ (Liberty) airport to board the 5:45 PM transatlantic flight that will take us to Entebbe, Uganda via Brussels, Belgium.  Our third professor, Dr. Jimmy Senteza, will meet us in the Entebbe airport as his itinerary goes through Amsterdam instead. Approximately 23 hours later, we will have traveled more than 8,000 miles/nearly 13,000 km (straight-line distance) and will arrive in Uganda ready for a great, educational, and stimulating three-week program with our partners at Makerere University Business School (MUBS) exploring various components of development and sustainability.
It's a long way from Iowa to Uganda...

Over the past several weeks the Drake students and faculty have been learning about the Ugandan educational, government, healthcare, economic, agricultural, tourism, and civil society systems in preparation for our in country activities. The students have also prepared proposals for several service-learning opportunities including teaching at a school with both able-body and disabled students; conducting basic healthcare workshops in a rural village; exploring possibilities of establishing an internship program within a successful group of Ugandan companies; determining consumer attitudes on more sustainable alternatives to clean water access, environmentally friendly packages for bottled water, and approaches to wildlife conservation; and working alongside human rights workers and medical providers. When one looks at what the students plan on doing it blows your mind – they amaze me. And, as one of their professors I get the opportunity to see firsthand the transformation that occurs…I can hardly wait.

This program has grown considerably over the years but one constant event in each year’s schedule has been the rural visit to the Village of Kikandwa in the Kasawo county of the Mukano district.  The people of the village welcome us as friends and share with us the many activities of their daily lives. Through several conversations and many, many partners over the past 12 months we have embarked on a joint venture with the village…we are partnering with them to build a health clinic that will improve access to many basic health care services. This is not an easy nor cheap adventure – we’ve been learning a lot. Students from the 2012 study abroad program have spent the past nine months fundraising for this project. We still have a long way to go but we are pleased to announce the 2013 class will attend the clinic’s groundbreaking!  To learn more about this project and how you can contribute to it, please visit www.drake.edu/partneruganda.

So – with this introduction, we hope you will follow our journey (this blog). Students will be blogging about their experiences and we welcome your comments, questions, and engagement. To get our conversation started, please post your answer to the following question in the comments section below:

What one or two things from your daily life would be the hardest to give up for a 3 week trip to another country?

My answer?  I will definitely miss being with my family (although I will Skype them from Uganda) but the 1 thing I currently have everyday that I won’t have in Uganda…diet Pepsi.  Luckily, on occasion I will be able to get a Coke Light (diet Coke)…but it’s just not the same. Then again, maybe this will be a good thing. :)

Until the next posting….

**Dr. Adkins**

24 comments:

  1. This may be weird, but the hardest thing for me to give up will be playing the drums. I play everyday. Playing the drums is the best form of stress relief for me. Not that I plan on being stressed in country, but I think its gotten to the point now that playing just a little during the day helps to clear my mind, keep me focused, and get out some of my frustrations. Hopefully I can play with some of the MUBS students, and at least I get to bring my guitar!

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  2. I think the hardest thing for me will be not being able to talk to my family every day. I'm really close with my family, so I usually call my parents every day or every other day, and my brother and I are pretty avid snap chatters. I know I'll want to share all of the amazing things we do with them as soon as they happen, but I'll just have to have one big presentation when we get home!

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  3. The hardest thing for me to live without besides my family would be my golf clubs. During the summer I play golf at least 3 times a week, so not being able to play for 3 weeks is a big deal. Golf gives me the a way to escape from work and school, and it gives me something to do with my Dad and brother. I'll just have to play with them a lot before I go to make it up to them!

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  4. It's really hard for me to pick what would be the most difficult thing to be without for three weeks. The trip is less than a month. However, for this period of time the hardest thing to be without (besides my family) would be my bed. Cheesy, yes, but a good night of sleep is always refreshing, and in my mind, a great bed is key to sleep. But, I am sure that we will all be tired after each day in Uganda.

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  5. The hardest thing to give up for me (especially in the summer) is riding my bike. Every summer, as soon as school gets out, the first thing I do is start training for RAGBRAI in hopes to put about 400-500 miles on my bike before the last week in July rolls around. When we return from Uganda, there will be less than 40 days left before RAGBRAI (yikes!). I will miss not being able to hop on my bike (her name is Fiona), or the tandem bike I share with my cousin, and ride for a few hours.

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  6. One of the hardest things to give up for me will be constant communication with my friends and family. At home we all have our phones and computers within reach but while we are on our trip that access is limited. This will take some getting used to, but the fact that we will still be able to communicate is wonderful.

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  7. For me, I think the hardest thing to give up while in Uganda, will be the time spent with family and friends. After being in school for nine months it has been so nice being home this week! I know that we will only be in Uganda, I am so excited but I know it is going to be so different. I think another thing that will be a little hard to give up, is my american perception on life. Other than that I cannot wait to immerse myself in the Ugandan culture!

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  8. I think that one thing that might be hard to come by (and that I will miss having) in Uganda is some time everyday when I can just be alone. Although I love spending time with people, and will especially enjoy hanging out with the people who are going on this trip - I love taking an hour or so to just be by myself and do whatever I want (or nothing at all). That being said, I am so so excited for all that is to come!

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  10. I'd have to agree with Kelsey on this particular question; a three-week seminar doesn't seem like too lengthy a period of time (at least now!). However, I do foresee myself missing American style cuisine - especially my parents' home-cooked meals. Adjusting to the Ugandan flavors, tastes, and culinary style may prove to be a challenge. That being said... I have survived Hubbell for two years, so I think my stomach will be up to the task.

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  11. One of the adjustments for me is giving up the accessibility of communication with people I am extremely close to- my mom and dad, family, best friends, and teammates. It will be so good though to completely immerse in a different setting and interact with different people!I Another thing too, is that my basketball team is starting summer workouts while we are away, so that will be a bummer not working alongside of them preparing for next basketball season.

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  12. The hardest thing for me will be not being able to communication with my loved ones. I have traveled abroad before and have dealt with it, but it seems like it might be more difficult this time around. I am used to just finding a pay phone (abroad of course) whenever I feel like talking to family and don't usually use e-mail to keep in touch. So it will be weird to use that as a primary mode of communication. Also, I've never traveled in a large group before. I'm sure it will be amazing to have so many people with different perspectives, but it is a little overwhelming to imagine. That said, I am excited and can't wait to start the journey!

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  13. I believe that the hardest part of traveling to Uganda for three weeks will be the time adjustment from the central time zone in the US to the central time zone in Uganda, which is 8 hours ahead. Another part of my daily life that I will miss is my family and the great food that we make in the summer. However, I know that it will be an awesome experience tyring the Ugandan cuisine, and that is something I am definitely looking forward to. Maybe I will even bring back some recipes for my family!

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  14. To follow what appears to be a trend, the hardest thing for me to give up while we are in Uganda is probably going to be the constant communication with loved ones. It sounds silly, but having accessibility to my iPhone at all times is very much a comfort. The ability to send a text, make a call, or even look up information quickly on my phone is an advantage I do not realize I have most of the time. I feel that in this day in age our generation considers the technology of smart phones as almost another limb on our bodies (as ridiculous as that sounds). Although I am bringing my phone along for music and use in airports, having the service turned off while in country will actually be a nice break. Although it will be an adjustment, I think it will be good for all of us to really be without this privilege and will allow us to really submerge ourselves in the culture of Uganda. With that being said, I cannot wait for tomorrow! I was even thrilled to take my Malaria medication this morning!

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  15. I am greatly looking forward to being without all things electronic, I wonder how long that feeling will last. I know I will miss my daily movie, I have three hundred seventy-five in my collection. This has been something I do every night for many years, missing only the occasional day, it will be weird not watching a movie for three weeks.

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  16. Along with Chase, the hardest thing for me to give up will not being able to play golf. I work at a golf course during the summer, so many times after work my friends and I will golf together. It is always a great time to catch up with them about different things that have happened over the past year, especially the first few weeks I am back. I'm also going to miss hanging out with my friends on a daily basis. I love being able to call someone up to see if they have plans for the night and if not making some. It always ends in a bunch of us watching a movie, playing basketball, or causing a ruckus around town.

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  17. I believe that the hardest thing for me to give for these three weeks will be the food I eat at home. After suffering for the past semester by eating everyday at Hubbell, I was finally able to enjoy some good home-cooked meals this past week. Eating in Uganda is going to be interesting for me, to say the least. Hopefully I will be willing to try new foods, but as always I have packed some preservatives in my suitcase.

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  18. The hardest thing for me to give up will be the ability to be connected to the internet in a matter of seconds. I am so used to having my cell phone accessible but I think it will be such a nice change to be without it. I can't wait to get to Uganda and start the daily craziness but I also think I will miss the structure of my daily life here. And of course I'll miss my parent's fabulous cooking!

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  19. As an American citizen, I'm fairly well accustomed to the usual criticism, that I "don't know how well I have it hear in the States," from individuals who have not lived in the U.S. their entire lives. And in all honesty, I don't. That is partly why I chose to travel to Uganda this summer, in order to grow as a person and to gain an appreciate for just how fortunate I am to have grown up in a prosperous and wealthy nation. Perhaps the thing I will miss most will be the laughs I share with my best friend Nick, the deep and heartfelt conversations with my mom, seeing my pets, and lastly, but in no way the least, spending time with my caring and compassionate girl friend.

    As much as I know I will regret saying this (probably immediately after setting foot off the plane), I am looking forward to the chance to unplug from the normal hustle and bustle that seems to characterize each of our lives here in the States and take a moment to enjoy life for what it is, rather than having my eyes glued to a tiny man made piece of technology such as a cell phone screen similar to an ostrich with its head buried under the sand, too busy to notice the reality around him.

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  20. As I prepare to leave the country for the first time, I’m beginning to realize how much I depend on my iPhone, my computer, and simply my proximity to my family and friends for a sense of comfort. For as long as I can remember, any time I’ve struggled or achieved something, one of my close family members or friends is nearby or easy to contact. While abroad, I am definitely going to miss the ease of constant communication and the power of text messages. Although I am excited to experience life without these, too! Sometimes it’s nice to go, as others have mentioned, “unplugged” for awhile.

    Other than communication, the thing that will likely be the hardest for me to give up for three weeks is my job. I know it’s silly but I truly love working! Some might call me a “workaholic,” taking a day off is rare for me, but they probably don’t see how beneficial my jobs are. At Drake I work as a Complex Manager for Recreation Services and at times it might seem like a silly, simple job, but trust me, it isn’t. I am really going to miss the relationships I have formed with my coworkers as well as the patrons there over the next three weeks; I already miss them now. My job over the summer is similar, I lifeguard and teach swimming lessons at my community center. This, too, will be hard to leave. As a future teacher, I get all of my energy and spunk so to say from teaching. I love watching students learn and grow and leaving that, if only for three weeks, seems ridiculously hard for me.

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  21. I agree with Riley in that what I will most miss in leaving the U.S. is American food, particularly Kopp's custard, chocolate, and burgers. It will be strange not being able to go to a fridge anytime I want to pour a glass of milk or grab a string cheese (typical Wisconsinite that I am). I'll also find it difficult not being able to run or play sports for a few weeks, but I'm very thankful that we'll be spending a large amount of time outdoors. Most of all, I'll miss seeing my family and friends on a daily basis, especially since this will be my first long trip on my own.

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  22. Like some others, I think the food will be what I miss the most. I have gotten used to some nicer food than Hubble since leaving Drake, and it's going to be hard not eating any of it it Uganda. I've never been good at trying new food, so the food there won't be the easiest to eat at first, but I hope that I'll eventually like and enjoy it.

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  23. I;m really going to miss my little sister, because she's my best friend. We do everything together, and I have never been away from home for as long as I will be on this trip. I'm really excited to be going to Africa, and I know that I'll treasure all of the memories and all of the friends that I will make on this trip.

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  24. my name is waynei really want to share my testimony on how i became an Illuminati member, through my friend. i was moving with my friend for more than 10 years and he have been getting rich everyday and even giving me money but he never told me the secret of his success until a day i was frustrated to let him know that he should help me also that was when he open up to me and tell me that he was a member of the Illuminati that he have been in the court for more than 10 years that his riches and protection came from this court.so i told him to let me be into the court but it not an easy task to be a member but i was finally initiated into the devil church of the Illuminati and i was confirm in there church. after a month of being a member of Illuminati i got promotion that same month in my working place and within a year i was promoted thrice in my working place to the extend of being a managing Director i never know how to thank this church of Illuminati and today am rich as my friend also, and also the one that surprise me most was that i got an accident with my new car and the car was right off but i still survive the accident and nothing happen to me i really thank you people Illuminati. so i just want to share to the world that this is real and it have help me and work for me so if you want to become a member i can lead you into the court of richness and you will never be poor again, know that it only a member in the Illuminati that can initiate you into the church of illumination they do not contact directly because they are fake Illuminati all over the world, this is my email smithilluminatiagent@gmail.com they i will tell you how to join,

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