Thursday, January 04, 2007

Uganda: Back on the Continent

Greetings from Uganda!

We arrived yesterday at 8:30 a.m. local time - with only two lost bags in our group -- quite an accomplishment! The trip is going extremely well so far - the American side of the group is 12 girls and one guy, while the Ugandan side is just the opposite. We have much to learn from one another! We are staying at M.U.B.S. this time (Makerere University Business School) and accommodations are similar to the last trip. I have to pinch myself occasionally for two reasons - to believe I'm really here, and to remind myself that I'm helping to actually lead the trip this time. It's a whole different level of responsibility this time around.

Uganda is as beautiful as I remembered - we were greeted with sunny skies (yes!) and gorgeous views of Lake Victoria on the ride to Kampala from Entebbe. I am thrilled to be here, as you all can guess, back to eating matooke (green bananas), rice, and potatoes. A group of us went for a run this morning for about 4 miles (yes I almost died) up and down the hills...a great way to see the city waking up to life. I'm hoping to keep up the habit throughout the trip. The Ugandan students are enjoying teaching me Luganda (the most common tribal language in Uganda) and they all get excited when I mimic the phrase back to them.

More than anything I am so happy to be back in the company of old friends - and making lots of new ones. It feels as though I never left.

Our trip schedule is about to really take off - we had a busy day of meetings with the Minister of Youth, the Chief of Party for the USAID Northern Uganda Peace Initiative contract, and the exective director of Uganda Microfinance Limited (Uganda's largest microfinance firm). Tomorrow is a panel discussion with the man in charge of the peace talks in Juba and then a round table on Global Citizenship. Back to Namuwongo (I can't wait) on Saturday. We leave for Gulu on Monday and will be there for a week. Rebekah (of Jackfruity fame), our marketing coordinator, is updating our trip blog

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