Our final week in Uganda has arrived! This program is set up in a way that we are always doing so much, so it feels like we have been here forever, yet it feels so strange that we’re already preparing to leave. This week was all about assignments. Of course, most of us procrastinated all of our assignments, so I spent the majority of the week in different cafes doing my work after class.
We had our final social entrepreneurship, technology, and design thinking classes in the beginning of the week. We only have three of each class in each country, but it’s been incredible how much we have learned in that short amount of time.
We had our final site visit in Uganda with Anuel Energy on Tuesday afternoon. Anuel Energy is an enterprise that works towards spreading solar systems to people in need of electricity. The products were actually really cool, and looked extremely durable. The man who ran our visit was really great and was super open about answering all of our questions. He wasn’t afraid to talk about the challenges they had when they started up or to be proud of the success they’ve had since. I’d say this was one of my favorite site visits in Uganda.
As far as assignments go, I wrote an essay critiquing the Millennium Development Project that we visited during our excursion in Mbarara for our anthropology class. I wrote an essay about Boda Boda’s and the impact they’ve had on Uganda for our technology class. Finally, we had to do a presentation for our case study on what we discovered about Girl Up. I felt pretty good about my assignments overall, especially our case study. Our presentation went really well!
After all of our assignments were due on Thursday, we had a Uganda synthesis session and did a comparative summary of learning. Basically, we just connected the dots between everything we did in Uganda and then connected those dots with what we previously did in California. Our days are jam packed, so this process took quite a while. I can’t imagine what it will be like when we add India and Brazil into the mix.
Friday morning, we had our here we come India session and spent this time at a nearby Indian restaurant to help prepare us for the next leg in our journey. We then had time to do whatever we wanted until we had a farewell dinner with our homestays in the evening. I used a portion of this time to film a dance video. Dancing is probably the thing that I miss most about being away, and African dance is something that I’ve been able to learn about at Lehigh and have really loved and appreciated. I filmed one the choreo’s that my dance team at school performed last semester. As always, it felt great to be dancing. In the evening we had a departure dinner with everyone’s homestays and all of the staff apart of the Uganda country team. As cliché as it may sound, I can’t believe this portion of the program is over and we are moving on to a new country.
Saturday morning, we headed out early for the airport to catch our flight that left in mid-afternoon. We had a touchdown in Kigali, Rwanda for about an hour during the flight (we stayed on the plane, and a bunch of new people got on). The flight from Uganda to Rwanda was only a half an hour, and a ton of people actually got off the flight when we landed in Rwanda. I was very surprised. This blog would’ve been written a lot sooner; however, we did not have any outlets for our 8-hour flight, so I was left phoneless and laptopless. I started reading the book Dear World which is about the story of a young Syrian war refugee’s call for peace. So far, it is beautifully written, but I can tell that it is going to be heart wrenching. We had a short layover in Qatar (this airport was very bougie) and then another 4-hour flight to Delhi.
I cannot express how excited I am for the next 5 weeks to be filled with amazing food and chai tea!!! Stayed tuned for more!!!