My First Post!

Musiibye mutyanno bassebo ne bannyabo!

I must say, Shawn did some digging when he was introducing me, but he didn’t get all the dirt.  My work in Uganda is going to be considerably different than what Shawn is doing in Bangladesh.  Hopefully, you know Shawn’s story (if not, read from the master himself!), so I’ll just share mine.

This summer, instead of getting the normal finance internship in New York or Chicago, I’ve got one with an NGO in Uganda.  I have a lot of help from many different people.  Notre Dame, St. Peter Church in Deland, FL, The Rotary Club of Deland, and several other well-wishers are all helping me to make this trip.  The internship itself is through the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD), a multinational NGO operating out of San Francisco with offices on four continents.  FSD placed me with a local NGO in Jinja, Uganda, where I will be acting both as a consultant and a student, exchanging ideas and developing a microfinance project that is self-reliant by the time I leave in eight weeks.

Now that I’ve got the intro out of the way, let’s get on to what you want to read!  I got here in Uganda on last Saturday, May 24, and I’ve been busy ever since.  I am not the only intern working with FSD in Jinja, there are nine others.  Week One of the FSD experience is culture orientation, so I haven’t really gotten dirty yet in terms of aid work.  But, I am slowly getting used to Ugandan culture.

I have been learning Luganda, the primary trade language here, which is why I greeted you all with “Good day, gentlemen and ladies” at the beginning of this post.  Three hours  a day of in-depth language training for five days will get you farther than you think.  It is like your typical language class on speed.  Check out the vocab cards on the wall:

Language Lessons

[More of Matt’s post including more of his first photos since arriving in Uganda after the jump – Shawn]

I’ve also been adjusting to the Ugandan diet, which is mostly starch-based.  The typical meal includes rice, potatoes, and some sort of bread, plus their staple food, matooke.  Matooke is steamed mashed bananas. Very bland to American taste buds.  You can see some of the staple foods in this picture:

When in Rome...

Ugandans also eat mostly with their hands, so I thought I’d give it a try there.  Ugandan families will typically only eat meat on special occasions, or if they are a bit wealthier, on Sundays.  However, restaurants always serve meat, so whenever you get a craving, you can get this, a meat kabob and fries:

We’ve also been touring just a little bit.  We went through Kampala, the capital of Uganda.  Imagine your average mid-size city, neglect to take care of the buildings (interesting fact, there is no word for “maintenance” in Luganda), and abolish all traffic laws, and you have Kampala.

As a nice contrast, we spent our last day together at Bujagali Falls, which is a beautiful part of the Nile River right near the source.  It is in a very rural area, and I cannot put into words how breathtaking the views were.

The Nile

Bujagali Falls

Somebody please make the “I can’t tell which one is you” joke.

We also were treated to an acrobatic performance during our lunch.  It was very impressive at times, like when he climbed to the top of a pole that wasn’t anchored to the ground.  It was also kind of weird, like when he just sat there and flexed his muscles in the rhythm of the drums.  Our Ugandan culture guide explained to us that the second part wasn’t really anything “traditional.”  She was just as weirded out as we were.

Not-So-Tribal Dancer

This past Friday evening, I moved in with my host family.  I will be staying in their home for the next 9 weeks.  They are blessed to have both electricity and running water, which means no outdoor showers for me!  I did get to have my first experience hand-washing my clothes, though, and that was very interesting.  I now see why we invented the washing machine.

I started working with my local NGO, Organization for the Good Life of the Marginalized, today, so this week should be just as chaotic as the last.  The good news is that chaos makes for great blog posts!

Until next time.

8 Responses to “My First Post!”


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    hi Guy, you ve done a good job through out ur prjec, so fantastic. if every man can be of your own type,i implie the world would be a better place to live,despite your culture shock you were able to cope and showcased the adaptive instinct that every body were born with. we at yusfound international we care for those who are vision focused and innovative.i would like to use this opportunity to tell you who i am. i am isma’il the founder of Yusfound international, we are commited to leadership development and business relations in partnership with smartalozie international,impacting the world with the power of online biz.

  2. 2 Yusfound International.

    hi Guy, you ve done a good job through out ur prjec, so fantastic. if every man can be of your own type,i implie the world would be a better place to live,despite your culture shock you were able to cope and showcased the adaptive instinct that every body were born with. we at yusfound international we care for those who are vision focused and innovative.i would like to use this opportunity to tell you who i am. i am isma’il the founder of Yusfound international, we are commited to leadership development and business relations in partnership with smartalozie international,impacting the world with the power of online biz.

  3. 3 Yusfound International.

    hi Guy, you ve done a good job through out ur prjec, so fantastic. if every man can be of your own type,i implie the world would be a better place to live,despite your culture shock you were able to cope and showcased the adaptive instinct that every body were born with. we at yusfound international we care for those who are vision focused and innovative.i would like to use this opportunity to tell you who i am. i am isma’il the founder of Yusfound international, we are commited to leadership development and business relations in partnership with smartalozie international,impacting the world with the power of online biz.

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