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Monday, June 13, 2016

David Batema Gender Issues

Our visit with Judge David Batema was very interesting.  This topic is incredibly important to sustainable development because it applies to all sectors and every individual regardless of status or occupation.
A few things this visit encouraged me to consider are:
1) Equality vs. Equity
I used the metaphor of people with different heights trying to see over a level fence to illustrate this.  If we elevate the short people with the same size blocks as the tall people, the heights will still be uneven, but if we elevate people according to their height (giving some more than others) we can level out and everyone can see over the fence.  This means addressing inequalities on a specific cultural basis.
2) Perspective and privilege
I think the most eye-opening part for me was realizing how much someone's perspective can change how they receive a message.  We all have different levels of privilege and when discussing issues like gender inequality it's very important to consider the cultural context of the speaker and audience members.
3) What's missing from the discussion
Coming from a fairly liberal and politically correct educational background, I immediately noticed a few aspects of equality that were ignored in Judge Batema's presentation. I think it's important to reflect on why LGBTQ rights were not discussed. Is Uganda's culture at a point where they can discuss these rights yet? Do women's rights have to be established and advocated for before Uganda can consider LGBTQ rights?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Rural Visit

One of the first experiences in Uganda was our trip to the rural village, which I really think opened all of our eyes. We got to witness how more than 60% of the population lives in the country first hand. My favorite part of the day, and maybe even the whole trip, was seeing all the children wave and smile at us. Since I live in a town that does a lot of farming, it was also very interesting to see how it is done in Africa.

Agriculture is very important to sustainable development, and can arguably be related to every SDG goal. We learned that cocoa is a very important part in Ugandan economy, but that they export their raw goods to outside countries just to buy back the finished product at a much higher price. Another issue Ugandan agriculture faces is that most of the farms are small, and every crop is grown and harvested by hand. This leads to sustenance farming, or farming that only can feed the family that owns it. Fixing these problems would help sustainable development throughout the country.

A couple questions to ponder upon...
Would it be beneficial for Uganda to cut out the middle man and start producing final products within it's own country?
Although America has perfected large scale farming, large scale farming is not always the best solution to every country. Would Uganda benefit from large scale farming?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The time we spent at the Kikandwa health clinic just outside of Kampala was truly an eye-opening experience for me. Kikandwa, in the short time it has been open, has already made a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of Ugandans living in this area. As a health center III, Kikandwa fulfills a variety of functions in the village. The duties and treatments the medical staff can provide include but are not limited to; maternity tests, prenatal care and test, blood tests for diseases like typhoid, HIV, Varicella, Syphilis, treatments for ulcers, urinalysis, etc. The clinic contains reception, library and scan room, doctor’s exam room, a laboratory, treatment room, the main ward, and pharmacy. The entire operation is almost exclusively run by nurses, but doctors will come to the clinic to check in from time to time.

The mission at Kikandwa relates to sustainable development primarily through the goals of good health and well-being, decent work and economic growth, and sustainable cities and communities. As a healthcare center, it is Kikandwa’s mission to provide medical care Ugandans finding themselves in rural villages. Building the clinic in a rural area provides new opportunities for employment for the people currently living there. Lastly, it contributes to sustaining the community, as the clinics continued efforts toward fighting disease and providing care improves the quality of life for all Ugandans that are able to access it.

Questions for the group:
1)      How do you think Kikandwa can move away from being a primarily donor funded clinic?

2)      Do you believe adding a specialized ward to Kikandwa to treat a specific group like children or pregnant mothers would be beneficial to the sustainability of the clinic?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Murchison Falls

The trip to Murchison Falls was one of the parts of the trip that I was looking forward to the most and it didn’t disappoint. We got the chance to go on two safaris and a boat ride up the Nile to see the falls during our time there. I really enjoyed seeing all the different animals the park had to offer. Some of the animals we saw were Lions, Gazelle, Crocodiles, Elephants, Hippopotamus, Water Buffalo, Giraffes, Monkeys and many more. Our driver was very knowledgeable about the animals at Murchison and would often stop the car and enlighten us about what we were seeing. I didn’t particularly like how whenever a lion was spotted every car would drive off road and surround the lions. Our tour guide during the boat trip had eagle eyes and was pointing out hidden crocodiles left and right. We couldn't get very close to the falls because of how strong the current was, but the views were well worth the trip. I also liked the fact that we got to sleep in tents, although it became a little scary when a hippo was feeding right outside my tent. The last thing we did before we left Murchison was drive up to the falls themselves. I really enjoyed the falls and learned that the park has been under protection for over 50 years, and has even changed names during this time. This was a great ending to the trip up to Murchison falls (Although the tsetse flies were bad), overall I was able to get some quality pictures and make some fantastic memories.

Murchison falls and tourism in general is important to sustainable development in Uganda because it contributes too many of the UN’s sustainable development goals, especially the ones related to life on water and on land. This is because many of Uganda’s tourist attraction deal with wildlife. The tourism sector also employs many Ugandans so it has a large effect on the goals of no poverty, no hunger and good jobs and economic growth.  

Questions for the group:
1. Do you think that the park is too big to be sustainable? Why or why not?
2. What was the coolest thing you witnessed during you time at the park?
3. What did you like or dislike about our trip to Murchison?
Health Care in Uganda

It has been pretty clear to see from all of our experiences in this trip that health care  in Uganda is very different from the United States. The Kikwanda Health Center is a trying to expand from a level 3 to a level 4 center. Currently they focus on vaccinating children for the 6 main killer diseases, treating malaria and typhoid, and simple testing including ultrasounds on Saturdays. Once the funds are raised the clinic plans to expand to include a maternity ward to provide more mother and child services. Pharmacies here do not have nearly as many hard drugs and we do in the United States, the pharmacists can prescribe medications, and do not have a medical data base to keep track of all patients and prescriptions. Finally the hospitals are very crowded, have minimal machinery, patient privacy is not a priority, and insurance is not common so it is common to have to pay large sums out of pocket to receive treatment. Although the United States may be more "advanced" in medicine then Uganda, the US system is very slow and tedious.

Is there something that the US can learn from the Ugandan health care system and vice versa?

Do you have any suggestions how Uganda can fix the problems within its public health care system such as making it less corrupt and developing more modern practices?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Media in Uganda

The media in Uganda seems to be very interesting. Much like the U.S. the main sources of media seem to be social media, TV, the radio, and the newspaper.  On the trip we were able to learn about media as a whole. Also we were able to learn about media through the viewpoints of somebody who works with radio, someone that is an investigation journalist, someone who is a feature journalist, and finally someone who worked in the TV industry. Each individual we talked to had a different opinion on media, and how it should work in Uganda. Something that I found very surprising was the role of government in media. For example the government owns the largest newspaper in Uganda, “New Vision”.  The government also has the power to shut down social media. This occurred twice this past year during the election.

Media is extremely crucial to the sustainable development of a country.  As described by one reporter media is crucial because it shows the people of the country its issues that it must improve upon.  I feel if the media continues to expose problems in Uganda it will only create more progression in the sustainable development goals. The UNDP also uses the media as a tool. The UNDP will use media as a form of communication to remind the people what the goals really are. Overall media in Uganda has the role of accurately reporting what is going on in the country and world.   


Do you feel that the government should have any role in the media? And if so how much?

What more can be done by media to further progress sustainable development in Uganda?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Microfinance- Reach Out

On Tuesday, our group visited an organization called Reach Out to learn about microfinance and to sit in on community microfinance groups. Reach Out was originally started to combat HIV/AIDS and provide support to patients, but in 2009 they started a microfinance operation to help the extremely poor save money. Microfinance is almost like a small bank, but for people who cannot provide collateral for a loan. These small groups, called VSLAs, are comprised of 15-30 people. The general purpose of these VSLAs is to help poor people, especially women, save money and be able to access small loans efficiently. It's important that the members within the group know each other, because the incentive to pay back the loan is social pressure. In essence, you don't want to be embarrassed in front of a group of your peers by not paying back the loan. I said before that the small group is like a bank; everybody contributes savings at weekly meetings, and loans (usually four week loans) are then given out within the group. The interest repaid on the loans is then distributed equally among group members at the end of a 12 month period.

We were fortunate enough to be able to sit in on two weekly meetings for local VSLAs. They showed us how a meeting operates, and all of the bookkeeping work they do. Reach Out has created over 300 of VSLAs similar to the ones we sat in on, and the groups have been extremely successful, with a default rate of only 3.4%!

Food for thought:

Why do you think social pressure is a good enough reinforcement for these systems to work?

What are some issues the developing economy of Uganda could run into if dependence on microfinance were to develop?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Earlier today at the campus of Makerere University Business School (MUBS) we received a presentation from a representative of the UNDP, Simon Peter Nsereko. This is the first time the program has included the UNDP as part of the course, so it was a little rough. The representative we received wasn't the representative that was supposed to present, so that in itself provided an issue. Regardless, there was some useful information provided which added a different (but necessary) aspect of development to our conversations. For instance, the UNDP was our first encounter on the trip of an organization -- and an development organization associated with the largest intergovernmental organization in the world (the UN) -- which was foreign to Uganda. Considering that the SDGs were drafted by an Open Working Group under the umbrella of UN General Assembly and the UNDP it is important to see how the UNDP coordinates its efforts to achieve these goals.

The presenter discussed the reality of how the UNDP functions and works with host governments in order to fulfill the SDGs. Prior to mentioning the work with the SDGs, the presenter mentioned how 33% of the MDG targets were achieved in Uganda, meaning much of the goals were still unrealized once the SDGs were published in 2015. The UNDP mainly helps form and develop frameworks and plans for governments to adapt to their country so as to successfully implement programs and initiatives to push forward development. The UNDP also relys and works heavily upon the statistics and data provided by the home country, which in itself provides its own set of challenges.

There are obvious challenges and issues for successful implementation and realization of the SDGs since the UNDP has to work through host government. Some developing nations governments tend to be either corrupt, unstable, or both. That very fact provides a challenge and issue for the UNDP; not to mention the added complication of appeasing donor nations if progress is slow on the targeted SDGs. However when talking to Simon about these challenges he gave an interesting insight. The UNDP has to act diplomatically when working with the governments, and the UNDP absolutely HAS to work through the host governments. If the UNDP doesn't work through the host governments, or creates a confrontational relationship with them than the host government can simply limit their operations or kick them out of country.

Questions for MUBS and Drake Students:
1) Are the UNDP's challenges simply inherent based on the nature and operations of the organization? Why or why not?
2) Though there are obvious problems and challenges within the UNDP, is it still necessary for the successful achievement of the SDGs?

Monday, May 30, 2016

The AIDS Support Organization (TASO)

            Today when we visited The Aids Support Organization (TASO), I gained a lot of insight and a sense of hope. There is a stigma in Uganda and in some areas globally against HIV/AIDS victims, which is sad to see knowing the victims aren’t the problem and rather the solution. TASO had counseling and treatments in their medical wing to both support and help the patients. In addition, they test babies of HIV positive patients to insure that their offspring will grow up healthy. The testing of these babies are a part of their EMTC program, or Elimination from Mother to Child of HIV/AIDS program. Seeing the thankfulness of the TASO band that sang to us made me really happy and appreciative of the organization. I would love to contribute to this organization in the future especially because it is donor funded, and would love to see it expand from its already 11 centers.

Food for Thought:
1)    How can we/Ugandans continue to decrease stigmas against HIV/AIDS patients?

2)    What are your opinions, comments, suggestions, etc. on TASO?

Sunday, May 29, 2016


Yesterday morning we went to Hotel Portea where the very successful entrepreneur Mr. Patrick Bitature spoke to us about his successes and the role that entrepreneurship played in sustainable development. He first began by posing the question, "Why is Uganda poor?" He said it is not about country age, available natural resources, intellectual differences, or race. Rather the difference lies in the attitude of the people. He listed a few core principals that people needed to follow: ethics, integrity, responsibility, respect of rules, respect of other people, work-loving, strive to save, will of super action, and punctuality. He believes that it is necessary to have a love of working in order to be successful. Work must not be a punishment, but rather something one looks forward to and thought of as something they love.
Mr. Bitature is the creator of the vividly successful company Simba. His success did not come right away. He had a few failures before he made it, he believed that he needed to build up his maturity and and networks to build the right opportunity to start. After the start of this company, he began getting into the business of land investments, managing hotels, and recently, energy. He decided to get into energy because investing in the infrastructure is the most important things to get development started. In Uganda, hydroelectric and solar power are very popular. Bitature was looking for a more quick fix, so he started burning oil. Because of the use of oil, he got into waste management, to sufficiently dispose of the waste created by drilling oil. And because of the fact that Ugandan population has 85% of its people involved with agriculture, so he has a few farms in Northern Uganda.
 He believes that building good business is about building strong relationships, looking out for each other, and giving back to the community. He was inspired to do business in order to clear his fathers name and believes strongly in the fair treatment of others. In developing Uganda, he believes that infrastructure must be the start because if there are no suitable roads, airports or internet, it is nearly impossible to grow and promote a business. He also believes in the investment of women.
Mr. Patrick Bitature has grown SIMBA to a widely successful business, and also has big plans for it in the future.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sure Prospects Reflection

Sure Prospects was not what I expected at all, it was a very inspiring school under an avocado tree. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of the abled and disabled children were intermixed in classes; there was no separation between students due to disabilities. Francis is such an inspiring person that the rest of the world would be lucky to have someone with such innovative ideas to reduce the stigma. In the US, students who have disabilities are included in the school buildings but they are kept completely separate from the abled bodies in the school. What Francis did was combine everyone so there was no separation based on abilities, everyone helped everyone and everyone actively learned intellectually while learning to help and accept everyone. If the rest of the world could follow this model, it would dramatically decrease the stigma behind having a disability and at the same time help produce a more inclusive society.

Reflection: Luzira Prison

As an American whose only notion of prison is based on the American prison system I know I was a little nervous to be going to a prison. To say I was surprised by Luzira prison would be an understatement. From the moment we were allowed into the courtyard of the prison the environment shook all preconceived notions of the prison that I had. The environment felt so much friendly then that of the of American prisons. It amazed me that the prisoners were not patrolled by guards even while we were in the room with 75-100 prisoners.

Questions for students:
1. What was the thing that most shocked you about the prison?
2. Do you think the US could benefit from changing the prison into a more positive environment such as the one at Luzira?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Reflection: Foundation for Human Rights Watch

It was particularly striking to me that Dr. Livingstone brought up the problems facing human rights in poor communities. When those in the middle/upper class think of human rights, we think of clean water, corruption in politics, and eliminating poverty. However, for the poor, their focus is on taking care of their families and communities on a daily basis. Those of higher socioeconomic classes have money to hide behind when they attempt to combat rights violations; they have clean water, can bribe police, and, by definition, are not in poverty. Those of lower classes do not have this advantage. The upper classes like to "help the poor" by deciding what's best for them, by not giving them a voice. Much like how Frances noticed people with disabilities are treated like children, the poor are likewise treated as such. In a country where many families live below the international poverty level, this is a major oversight. Can you think of any more examples of human rights exclusion in Uganda or the States? What can we do to make human rights more accessible/viable for those in poverty? How can we give them a voice?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My stand

Great thanks to the team spearheading this seminar. Motivation, commitment and attitude drives sustainability and development

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ndere Cultural Center

Today we visited the Ndere center where we first heard a presentation from their director Stephen Rwangyezi. He shared with us that the word ndere means flute and this name was chosen for their organization because flutes are instruments that can connect to emotion and the flute is an instrument that is seen in all cultures. He went on to say that if all cultures can appreciate the flute then why can’t all people enjoy the other aspects of life together and live in harmony. He went on to have his performers show the sound each instrument makes and he explained the role of multiple rhythms in Ugandan music. 

The Ndere center started in 1984 with three goals - to revitalize and rehabilitate Ugandan cultural arts, to provide the funding needed for the members of the troupe to get educated, and to promote literacy to encourage healthy practices and combat the transmission of HIV. The first goal deals with changing the view of African music as being backwards and a symbol of unholiness. The next two goals relate to the sustainable development goals of education, gender equality, and reduced inequalities. By funding schooling for the members of the troupe, this increases the education levels of the members and therefore reduces inequality. Men and women are members of the troupe and each gender plays an important role in the cultural dances and neither gender is favored. 

There are many tribes in Uganda and historically there have been many factions between different the tribes. The Ndere center tries to promote Ugandan unity as it showcases the beautiful dances of many different tribes. Currently the Ndere troupe has 92 dancers from areas all over Uganda. The members can stay with Ndere as long as they want and there is a pretty diverse age range within the troupe. 

The Ndere dance troupe has been successful in revitalizing Ugandan culture and promoting cultural pride in Ugandans. He discussed how this group is changing the view of Ugandan music, dancing, and other cultural expression from the past view that these things were being backwards and primitive. The troupe is able to show the beauty of Ugandan culture and promotes pride in the country through cultural expression. 

At the Ndere center we got to learn how to play the Ugandan instruments or to learn to dance in the Ugandan way. It was a very informative experience for all of the students. After we tried to dance and play the instruments, we got to watch a four hour dance performance by the Ndere troupe which included dances from all over Uganda and neighboring countries. The dances left many Drake students speechless as we saw women dancing while balancing stacks of as many as seven vases on their heads, and men dancing while kicking drums that they balanced on their heads. 

Overall the Ndere center was an extremely informative and fun place to visit and I highly recommend it to anyone who plans to visit Uganda. 

Questions for Drake students and MUBS students:
Stephen Rwangyezi said that the problem with Africa in term of development and sustainability is not a lack of resources but it is a lack of confidence and pride. Do you believe this is true? What other challenges are present in Uganda specifically? 

Another thing Stephen Rwangyezi said was that culture grows and responds as circumstances change. Do you agree? What do you think is the link between culture and development?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pre-Trip Thoughts

Greetings everyone!

   My name is Josh Kim and I am from a suburb near Chicago called Buffalo Grove. At Drake I am studying to become a Pharmacist, as well as trying to get an M.B.A degree in the future. In my free time I like to play basketball or play Xbox games such as 2K16 and BBR. I can’t wait to spend time in Uganda to see a completely new culture for the first time. Also, I’m really excited to meet the MUBS students and have a chance to get to know them. With an interest in Pharmacy, it will be a unique experience to compare and contrast pharmacists in Uganda and America.

-Best Regards,
Josh Kim
My name is Laura Claydon and I'm a sophomore double majoring in psychology and sociology. I'm from the Vail Valley in Colorado. I've never been out of the country which is one of the many reasons I'm excited to be going to Uganda. This trip has seemed so far away and now we are in Amsterdam waiting to get on our last flight that will take us to Uganda! To say I'm not nervous would be a lie but I can't wait to learn about Uganda, its people and its culture. I'm especially looking forward to our visit to Luzira prison because I am interested to see what differences there are between prison in Uganda and prison in the United States. I can't wait to meet everyone!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hello Everyone!

My name is Ross McKenzie, I am a Health Science student at Drake University and have just finished my third year! I currently live in the United States, in a town called Chaska in Minnesota. However, I am originally from a city called Dunfermline in Scotland! I am very excited to land in Entebbe and begin my experience in Uganda. During my time in Uganda, my project will involve researching health insurance within the country, contrasting insurance provided in major cities to that in a more rural setting, and assessing the general climate in regards to health insurance in the country. With only one day left until we depart from the United States, I am very excited not only to grow closer to my fellow Drake students and faculty, but also form lifelong friendships with students from Uganda that are currently attending MUBS. I am ecstatic that I get to spend time with each and every one of you and cannot wait until this adventure begins.

See you all soon!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Pre trip

Hello everyone! My name is Katelyn O'Hare-Hayes I'm a Strategic Political Communication major with Religion and Marketing minors. I am very excited to be traveling to Uganda in two days for so many reasons, first off I've never been out of the country so I'm very excited to experience the Ugandan culture! I am very interested in women's rights around the world so I will be very interested to see women's rights and the relationship between women and politics in Uganda! I am very excited to be there in 2 days and can't wait to see what Uganda has to offer!


Hello everyone! My name is Kaleb Schulz and I just finished my first year at Drake as an Actuarial Science, Data Analytics, and Trumpet Performance triple major. I am from Racine, WI, which is just a little ways from Milwaukee. I am really excited to experience a different culture and to make new friends over in Uganda! I hope I remember to bring everything I need!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hello everyone!

My name is Katherine Smith, and I am a sophomore BCMB major from Marinette, Wisconsin. I am so excited to go on this trip for so many different reasons. First I love traveling and learning about different cultures, I think that we will learn even more then people on other trips because we will be able to get to know the MUB students! I am also very excited to learn about the health care system first hand. I can't wait to see the health clinic because I want to learn, and have helped fund raise for its expansion. Hopefully some of us will get to go see some other medical facilities while we are there. Finally I can't wait to get to try all of these new different foods. I am excited to start getting to know everyone going and can't wait to head out on Wednesday. See ya soon guys!

Pre Trip thoughts

Hi everyone!

My name is Rachel Paulmann and I just finished my first year of pre pharmacy at drake. I am from Mequon, WI, which is about 6 hours away from where I go to school in Iowa. I am very excited that we will be heading out to Uganda in less than five days! I am very excited to meet and get to know all of the Ugandan students and learn all about their culture. I am also excited for the amazing opportunity that I have to teach people about nutrition and learn about their diets. I cant wait to get to know everyone!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Pre-Trip Post

Hi Everyone!

My name is Andrew Evans, and I am originally from a suburb outside of St. Paul, Minnesota. Currently at Drake University I am studying Pre-Pharmacy. I am very excited for both the experiences and opportunities that this trip is about to offer. I cannot wait for the opportunity to experience a new culture, meet new people, and even learn more about what I am studying at Drake. I am also excited to see everything else the country has to offer! For my project I will be researching and studying how the drugs are distributed and regulated in the pharmacies. I am very excited to learn how a pharmacy in Uganda compares to a pharmacy in the U.S. I cannot wait to get to really meet, and get to know everyone better! I cannot believe we leave in 4 days!

- Andrew Evans

The Surreality of Heading to Africa

Howdy everyone!

My name is Russell White and from Keller, Texas which is a suburb of Fort Worth. I am a politics and international relations double-major, with a minor in philosophy at Drake University. I never imagined that I would be going to Africa, let alone be studying Africa as one of my core passions now. Coming to Drake University I had the distinct pleasure to take several history courses with Dr. Glenn McKnight, and thanks to his classes and our personal conversations with each other he has been the single largest influence for my new interest and passion in development and Africa. I'm going to be in Uganda in just a few days and I'm not sure what to expect; however, that's all part of the excitement for me. I'm going in with no expectations, so that way I can experience Uganda for how it truly is without any distractions or delusions of misconceptions and preconceived ideas. I'm excited and nervous all at the same time!

I'm tremendously excited to meet the MUBS students from Makerere University. The chance to get to know them personally and individually is most likely going to be the highlight of my trip. In my experience and opinion, befriending and getting to the know the people of a country is the most characteristic and exciting aspect about travelling to new places. While there in Uganda, I plan to conduct a research project on development methodology, and in it I will compare, analyze and critique various methods and even ideologies within the development discipline. There are a several MUBS students who appear to share similiar interests, and I'm looking forward to hearing their thoughts on the whole thing.

This still seems so surreal. It's one thing to discuss and talk about Africa in the classroom and entirely different thing to actually experience the environment, food, culture and people of Africa. No matter what happens on the trip or with my research project, this will undoubtedly be a defining experience for me.



My name is Natalie Chin and I'm from Chicago, IL. I'm on the pre-med track at Drake and would like to become an OBGYN in the future; one of the reasons I wanted to go on this trip was for the opportunity to distribute reusable pads to girls with few resources. Kelanie and I will be doing that together and I am so excited to work with her on that project, as well as getting to know the MUBS students! I have never traveled outside of the U.S. before (unless you count Canada, which you probably shouldn't) so this will be a completely new experience for me!

In American schools, African literature, culture, and geography go relatively untaught, so I'm really looking forward to getting a better understanding from the MUBS students. I can't wait to form friendships with everyone! I'm also excited to work on our Days for Girls project and get feedback from Ugandan students on what to say when we're presenting. That partnership I'm particularly looking forward to! Can't believe we'll be there in less than a week!

Friday, May 13, 2016

t- 5 days!

My name is Madi Sehmer, and I am a BCMB major here at Drake University. I am from the Madison, Wisconsin area and my passions include food and the outdoors. After just coming back from Des Moines, I will be heading back Wednesday to the airport, and I couldn't be any more excited! A little nervous too, since this is my first time out of the country. I'm very honored to be a part of this program, where I can view the culture of others in such a personal and intimate way. This will truly be the trip of a lifetime!

Pre-Trip Post


My name is Matthew Kratz and I'm from Apple Valley, Minnesota. I am a chemistry major here at Drake University and just finished my first year. I first got interested in going to Uganda after hearing about how fun and rewarding of an experience it was from some of my older friends who had gone in the past. I am really looking forward to spending three weeks experiencing a new country and a new culture, along with meeting all the MUBS students. I also am looking forward to going on a safari and making some great memories. I have only traveled outside the United States one other time and am thrilled to have the opportunity to do it again in less then a week. The project I will be conducting is an analysis of the oral health care field in Uganda. I'm anticipating this project to be very rewarding once it is completed.

I look forward to meeting you all:)

We're going to be on another continent next week...

Hi everyone!

My name is Hannah Lancaster and I’m super excited to be in Uganda in just a few days. This will be an entirely new experience for me, having never traveled outside the U.S. before.  One of the many reasons I decided to go on this trip was because it fits very well with my career goals (also it just sounded like a really amazing couple of weeks).  I’m planning to go into the healthcare field and ideally would like to work with an international non-profit in the future.  Needless to say, I’m very excited for what this experience has to offer. 

While there, I am planning to present information to mothers on ways to keep their newborns healthy.  My presentation will be focused around post-delivery health care practices in hopes of ultimately reducing infant mortality especially in rural Uganda. The practices I’m focusing on are umbilical cord care and skin-to-skin care (STS).  These are two major practices that many mothers do not have a lot of information on.  I may also touch briefly on the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding, as well as the possible risks of transmitting HIV/AIDS while breastfeeding.

I’m so excited to meet the MUBS students.  It will be so interesting getting to know people who have had such different experiences from my own.  Half-way across the world seems pretty far but I’m sure we actually have a lot in common with one another. 

Can’t wait to meet everyone, see you all next week!  

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Pre-Trip Thoughts

Hello everyone!

My name is Kelanie Crosswait and this trip will be my second time in Uganda. In 2014 I was fortunate enough to go on my high school's trip to Uganda and help construct a primary school in Namusisi in the Iganga district. One of the coolest parts of the trip was working side by side with Ugandan brick layers and other community members and getting to learn about what their lives were like. I also loved getting to interact with the schoolchildren who were always very excited to see us.

I am extremely excited to come back to Uganda and to have the opportunity to get to know and work with MUBS students. I can't wait to meet the Ugandan students we will be working with and start developing friendships that are sure to last a lifetime. The project I will be working on will be distributing Days For Girls period kits and educating Ugandan girls about their periods and how to hygienically deal with them. It will be very beneficial to have a Ugandan student or two helping with this project because they will be able to translate the information and make sure that what we say to the girls is not culturally insensitive.

I am looking forward to meeting everyone in Uganda next week!