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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!