Rebekah McKerley
Rebekah McKerley
Uganda, 2019 - 2021
Hello! I am living in Jinja, Uganda, for 2 years working with HEAL Ministries as a social worker. HEAL is a non-profit whose goal is family preservation. In this role, I will be expanding the social work program so that we can provide more resources to single-parent families. Read More About Rebekah →

Watching the Virus from Afar

Oh, the coronavirus. It is all people are talking about these days! It has been really interesting to watch from my small-town home in East Africa. The virus hasn’t reached us here in Uganda yet, and I am thankful for that. I am hoping and praying that it magically stays away, because I know that as soon as it reaches Uganda, it is going to be extremely hard on this country.

It will be hard for people to quarantine in a country where it is common for 15+ people live in one home. It will be hard for everyone in the slums where hundreds of people live in extremely close quarters with a major lack of sanitation and clean toilets. It will be hard in a culture where VERY few people can stock up on food because:

  1. Power is unreliable and goes out frequently, therefore stockpiling food in your fridge/freezer is not a reliable option.
  2. Most people struggle to afford money for that very day, let alone buy enough food to get through a few weeks of quarantine.
  3. Most people make money by running their own business, and how will they have any income if they are home and the business is closed?

So far there are a few cases in Kenya and Rwanda, which neighbor Uganda. There are no reported cases here yet, but everyone thinks it’s only a matter of time. All I know is that when the threat becomes real in Uganda, we will close the James Place to protect our 74 staff members and 145 kids as well as their families. We have so many people that enter our compound each day.

Ugandans are no strangers to diseases. They have watched ebola spread through their own country long ago and other African countries in recent years. They have witnessed countless people die from malaria and typhoid. I know that Ugandans are strong and will be able to handle this virus, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have a terrible impact on this small country.

I selfishly hope it does not come here because I want to marry my best friend on May 23rd with my family by my side, and this whole pandemic thing is throwing a real wrench into that plan. But I know that this is completely out of my control and all I can do is trust the Lord. Right now, I am safe and sound here in Jinja. The Ugandan Minister of Health has issued a 14-day self-quarantine for travelers coming from countries where the outbreak is bad. But other than that, we are washing our hands a lot and trying to mentally prepare ourselves for the day it reaches here.

We had a goodbye party for our beloved Noah, who just moved to the States!

We had the sweetest birthday party for Caroline! We went on a boat ride to the source of the Nile River.

Empowerment

Empowerment: The process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.

Empowerment has become a buzzword these days within the context of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and humanitarian work. Almost everyone claims to empower locals, but how are they doing that and is it really happening? This is something I have been contemplating a lot over the last few months.

There is a big difference between helping and empowering. Helping an individual could look like buying food or paying their rent. It could look like connecting them to the correct resources based on their particular needs. There are so many ways to help someone, but empowering someone looks different and is not nearly as easy. Empowering someone involves walking alongside them and building a relationship of equality, not a relationship of a giver and beggar. It involves encouragement and strengths perspective. It involves teaching life skills and building up the natural talents of an individual. You have to see the other person as equal, as deserving of the privilege and rights that you yourself have. That can be rare to find within the NGO context of developing countries. A lot of the missionaries/expats that come into countries like Uganda view the locals as poor people that need saving. They don’t see them as truly equals, and I don’t think it is possible to empower an individual if you don’t see them as an equal.

My job here at HEAL has put me in a really unique place of equipping and empowering our management team staff members. When Trey, our operations manager, moved back to the States at the end of 2019, it created a really great opportunity for our management team to step up and lead. Trey’s role has been divided up between the management team members, and now they each have more responsibility than they did previously. They still continue to look to me, the white person, to give instructions and lead. This is the unique position I have right now– I get to remind them that they have a voice and a say in the matter. Management gets to decide as a team; I am not the only one making decisions. All 12 of us get to make decisions together about what is best for the organization. I am loving this role that I have right now. I get to sit alongside these staff members and encourage them to use their voices and to advocate for what they believe is best. I remind them that they know more than I do, and that my skin color does not mean I get to make all the decisions. To be fair, I don’t always do it perfectly and there are days where I want to make the final decision because I don’t agree. But I have to remind myself to step back and listen to these hardworking wise individuals who know the culture and organization far more than I do.

I know that empowering our staff is going to be a long journey and change won’t happen overnight. But there is nothing else in the world I would rather do than try to empower the people who society treats as less than.

Traffic in Kampala, the capital city

 

Community

My life in Uganda is in some ways just like my life in Nashville, and in other ways it is drastically different. Today I finished work at 5, went to town to buy some food for dinner, spent some time talking to a dear friend, and now I’m typing away as I eat peanut M&M’s and watch “The Holiday.” What makes it so different than life in the States is that the reason I got dinner in town is because my power had been out for over 36 hours (praise Jesus it is now back!), and this bag of peanut M&M’s is a treasured gift brought from the States that I am trying to make last as long as possible.

Sunset dinner overlooking the Nile River. I will always be in awe that this is my life right now!

January flew by. Work kept me super busy as we prepared for the new school year to start and accepted 20 new childcare kids into our childcare program. We hired several new staff members, and we have been working hard at organizing and improving policies and procedures. I even started my new role- social work coordinator and admin manager! It’s basically the same I was doing before with social work plus I got added to the management team to help oversee staff issues and I will now be doing payroll for the staff each month. It is all social work related– making sure that everything is running smoothly and providing resources and help to the staff.  I am really enjoying having more responsibility and I’m being challenged in really good ways.

I think one of the hardest parts about being here so far has been community. I miss getting to live with some of my best friends and having the rest of my college friends just down the road. It took time, but I made such a sweet community of friends at Belmont, and I definitely miss it a lot. Friendships and community can take a long time to build, and it’s especially hard to find time to invest in these relationships when I work from 8-5 Monday through Friday. I am slowly learning how to balance work, relationships, sleep, food, and exercising. It’s something I know I would be struggling with anywhere I lived post grad, and I know all my friends from college are in the same boat. Let’s be honest, adulthood can be scary and overwhelming and lots of responsibility that we don’t always feel ready for. But with time, I know that I will build a strong community here. I can already see it beginning.

One idea I came up with to help me in this endeavor, is that I try to have someone over for dinner every other week. Hospitality is such an important value in Ugandan culture, and I want to use my home here to welcome people in and give them a safe space to be themselves. We have been breaking bread together and talking long into the night, and each time I’ve had someone over it has been such an encouraging time that fills me up and leaves me a better person. Ugandan culture is teaching me more and more about the importance of relationships. Life can get really hard at times, but having people around us to encourage us and lift us up makes the world of a difference. Uganda has such a community focused culture, unlike the individualist culture of the United States. I think the U.S. has so much to learn from cultures like this one.

Sweet baby Juma! His mom is on staff with us and he is in our childcare program.

A New Year

Happy New Year from Uganda!

I spent New Year’s Eve watching fireworks and listening to live music at a local hotel, and it was honestly so much fun! Everyone was cheering and dancing and there was so much joy. I am excited to see what this new year in Uganda will hold.

I spent Christmas with this family I love so much!

We started back to work this week, and it has been crazy busy. There are so many things to do now that we are back after a month off. School fees have to be paid for our scholarship kids in primary school, teachers have to plan for the new preschool year (the new school year starts in February here), new staff has to be trained, bills have to be paid, new supplies must be bought, etc. Starting this month, I have been given some more responsibility, including being added to the management team and helping oversee staff issues.

As the new year begins, we are working on improving policies and procedures for various departments in the organization. For example, we are planning out exact procedures for any emergency that could take place that would prevent a parent from being able to take their child home at the end of the workday. We already have some procedures set in place, but it is always good to be extra thorough, especially when we are responsible for 145 children. You never know what could happen, and we have to always be prepared and know how to ethically handle any situation that could occur.

It has been interesting learning the differences between social work in the States verses social work in Uganda. Social work here in Uganda is a fairly new profession, and therefore there is not a social work council that oversees and regulates the profession. In the States, there is an entire code of ethics and values for social workers that must be followed, but here in Uganda that doesn’t exist on a national basis. A lot of the universities teach the ethics and values used in the U.S., but there is not an adapted one for best practice in Ugandan culture. The profession of social work is also commonly not understood here. Social workers tend to be used for home visits and maintaining files on clients, but there is SO much more that social workers are capable to do. They can be counselors, advocates, mediators, managers, educators, and so much more. I truly believe that social workers can make a massive difference in the fight for equity and justice here in Uganda.

Watching a storm roll in as I walk home. The compound on the left is where I live!

A word I have been thinking about a lot since the new year started is advocate. I want to be an advocate for Ugandans. I want to advocate for their rights, and I want to advocate for them to use their voices. In a country that was once a British colony, many locals are taught in school that the white person is superior. I’ve had friends tell me that they were always told to do what the white person says, and to not talk back. Even though Uganda gained independence in 1962, the effects of colonization can still be seen today. I want to advocate for our staff and kids, and help them know that their voices matter. They should stand up for their rights, their opinions, and their beliefs. They are beautiful and strong humans who must be heard.

Rainy Holidays

Rainy season in Uganda normally lasts about 3 months at a time, but this year it has been raining since April. Recently, in Western and Northern Uganda, a heavy rain caused mudslides and flooding. Roads were washed away, houses were destroyed, and people who survive off of their land found piles of rock and dirt covering every bit of land they owned. It is going to be very hard for them to recover. They lost all their belongings, their livelihood, and they have no bank account with savings to help them rebuild. The news, however, says that Uganda is not nearly as affected as several other East African countries. Please pray that the flooding and mudslides will stop. That the rain will slow down and that dry season will come, but that dry season will be a normal 3 months and not crazy long like this rainy season has been. Climate change is really affecting the weather here on the equator, and it has killed and affected the lives of so many.

On a more exciting note, I moved! My new home is actually right down the road from where I was living before, so thankfully I can still walk to work. I barely have any furniture at the moment, so I’m living out of suitcases and have bags lying in every corner. But I’m excited, over time, to make this place my home. I am living on the bottom level of basically a duplex. There is a pool in the yard, and I am really looking forward to swimming in it during dry season! I have a carpenter making me a table, couch, dresser, and a few other random pieces of furniture. He is making them all by himself, so it will be a long time before they are all done. My new place is slowly coming together. Moving here is stressful, and I miss having the luxury of a target to go get everything I need from, but there is also something uniquely beautiful about slowly curating a home where I get to design exactly what I want and find used items that can be repurposed. My goal over the next couple weeks is to search through central market to find a couple of gently used rugs.

I am now on Christmas break from work! Here in Uganda people typically go to the village for Christmas and New Years to visit with family. Which basically means Jinja town is a lot quieter and shops close up for several weeks. We had a really fun staff Christmas party at work before starting our Holiday break. We played games and gave out gifts and ate yummy food. I am excited to have a break from work though and get to meet up with people I usually don’t have time to see, fix up my new home, and read some fun books. Christmas here will look a lot different than in the States, but I like that this culture is not consumed by materialistic goods at Christmas time. I bought a handmade nativity set in town and a small Charlie Brown looking Christmas tree. Christmas day I’m going to go to church in the morning, and then go spend the day with John’s family in the village. We will cook a big meal and enjoy time with one another. I am absolutely going to miss my family, but I am excited to see what Christmas is like in a village in Uganda.

Last week was one of those reminders that Uganda does not operate the same as the United States. I was supposed to pay for my work permit Monday and pick it up in Kampala on Tuesday, but when I went to the bank to pay they said I must fill out an assessment form before paying, which they no longer carried. They sent me to the Ugandan Revenue Authority, but they also no longer had the form. Even the Immigration office didn’t have a solution to the problem. There were also problems at the bank when I tried to pay some stuff for work. Efficiency is a not a value in this culture, and with unreliable network connections and ever-changing government systems, you never know what problems you’ll run into when trying to do small tasks. Not going to lie, I got very annoyed and frustrated, but I had to remember that this is a different country and culture, and I can’t expect things to happen the same way here as they do in the States. Laws and procedures are different here. It’s not always easy to adapt, but I am learning patience and letting go of my American expectations. Please join me in praying that I will be able to pay for my work permit and pick it up soon so that I don’t run into problems when my visa expires next month.

The highlight of the past month was getting to go to the coast of Kenya for a few days! When my grandmother passed away this year, she left each grandchild some money, and I knew I wanted to use it to travel, especially around Africa because she always dreamed of moving and working here when she was a young adult. I went to Diani Beach which had the clearest water and white sand. It was absolutely beautiful, and such a great time to rest and also see a different East African country. Kenya is far more developed than Uganda, and much bigger too. I got back to Jinja yesterday, and I have the gift of having a dear friend here visiting for a week. We lived together 3 summers ago here in Uganda, and it is so good having her back for a short time! I’m looking forward to time with her and other friends over the next few weeks. It should be an uneventful, rainy, and quiet break, but I am so thankful to have that time so that I can process and reflect on the last few months of life here.

Diani Beach, Kenya

Thanksgiving in Uganda

It’s rainy season here in Uganda, and this afternoon is particularly rainy and cold (yes, the low 70s feels cold to me now). I have Christmas music playing in the background and African tea cooking on the stove. I have an angel made out of banana leaf fibers and a Christmas song quote written on my letter board, but those are really the only Christmas decorations I have so far. Christmas sure does look a lot different here on the equator.

watching the storm roll in

Something I have been learning to enjoy here is cooking from scratch. You can’t go to Trader Joes and buy frozen food or mixes to bake. Pretty much everything has to be made from scratch here. Recently I decided to make some bagels with the “everything but bagel” seasoning I brought. They were really good if I do say so myself, and I found some cream cheese in Kampala to spread over them. I’m hoping to do a lot more baking and cooking over my Christmas break.

Not gonna lie, it was hard being away from family for Thanksgiving. Thankfully, though, I got to celebrate here in Uganda. Since Thanksgiving is not a holiday here in Uganda, we still had a normal day of work. Afterwards, however, Tina and one of our cooks on staff made a delicious Thanksgiving feast for all the interns. We laughed a lot and ate delicious food, and it was really sweet to still celebrate even though we are all away from family. Tina even gave all of us a little goodie bag full of chocolate from the States! It was honestly the best gift haha!

I realized today that Jinja really feels like home now. In ways, it has already felt like that over my time here the past 5 years, but this time it’s more permanent and I’m really doing life here. It is not a vacation or trip. It is not always exciting and fun, but it’s real life happening day in and day out. I was awake at midnight last week vomiting from a parasite, and last month I had a bacterial infection, but I also get to hold the cutest babies and help empower women to sustain their own families. I get to worship God alongside people from all different tribes and tongues, and I get to have dinner along the Nile River with my fiancé. Life is hard and good and joyful and abundant.

This girl was in childcare at the James Place when I was here 5 years ago, and now she’s all grown up and in primary school!

As I head into my last week of work before Christmas break, I am thankful to be here. There are days where I really miss my family and friends back in Nashville, and all I want is to hug my mom, but I also have so much peace about being here. I am learning so much about working cross-culturally, and the differences of best practice in America versus Uganda. Social work looks so much the same and yet also so different between the 2 countries. I am excited to continue to dig in here and learn/grow more over the next 2 years. I can’t believe it’s already been 3 months!

Life is Crazy and Exciting

After some major writer’s block, I am back to update you on all the cray life things happening here in Uganda. The past few weeks have held a lot of growth and good conversations.

Working cross-culturally is so much harder than I remember it being. Maybe that’s because the first time I was here I just helped in childcare, and now I am trying to improve and grow the social work program. But wow, it is not easy navigating cross cultural friendship and work relationships when you have over 70 employees (all but 4 being females) and American interns coming for various amounts of time. How do I push the social workers to be more productive without offending them? How do we start counseling staff in a culture where mental health is not understood? It makes me think through decisions more intentionally and has been such a growing experience.

Things have been crazy around the James Place lately. Tina, the founder and executive director, arrived on the 8th and is here for the next month. Our preschoolers are taking exams this week, the pottery ladies are busy making lots of nativity sets to send back to the States for Christmas, and most of the interns are finishing up their last few weeks here. This year we have 4 weeks off for Christmas, so everyone is hurrying to finalize projects and assignments before we go on break on December 7th. I am looking forward to a break from work to be able to rest and visit with people. Most of our staff goes to the village for Christmas to be with all of their family, and the town of Jinja is a lot more quiet than usual.

The James Place- HEAL’s compound in Jinja, Uganda

It has been raining a lot longer than normal here. Usually rainy season lasts around 3 months, but this year it has been raining since April. Farmers are suffering from too much rain, and the threat of food shortages over the next year are becoming more and more serious. Climate change has definitely affected the weather here in Uganda over the past several years, and for people that live off of the crops they grow, it is a very real threat here.

There have been some really great highlights from the past several weeks of life here:

  1. We had a 2 week break at work, and I got to spend the night at a hotel in Kampala with one of the interns from work. We have become great friends, and it was so nice to have time together in the big city! Our hotel room had air conditioning (it was amazing!!) and we got massages and laid out by the beautiful pool.
  2. One of my college roommates just moved to Uganda and is working with an organization in the Western part of the country. Thankfully she spent about a week in Kampala buying supplies and adjusting before heading to the village where she will live. I got to meet up with her for the day over the weekend, and it was so so good!! We ate yummy food, found some American candy, and caught up on how our past 2½ months have been. I am so happy that she will be in Uganda for the next 2 years, and I look forward to more meet ups in the big city!
  3. Last but not least, I got engaged!! Crazy, I know. I met John back in 2014 when I first came to Uganda, and we spent many weekends with a group of friends watching movies, playing card games, having bonfires, etc. I slowly got to know him more over the following years and hung out with those friends whenever I came back to visit. In the summer of 2017 he asked me out, and at first I told him no. He was gracious and kind, and after a few weeks I came back to him with a changed mind, realizing that I didn’t want to live my life out of fear or choices that were comfortable and safe. So that summer we went on some dates and got to know each other more. I still had 2 years left of school though, so we kept in touch but didn’t really have any idea of how it could work. I went back for a month in July 2018, and that’s when we really started dating. The past year with him has been the best. He has helped me learn to use my voice and to stand up for my opinions (something this enneagram 9 often struggles with), and his tender yet strong heart is my safe place to run to. He loves the Lord and truly lives out his faith more than any guy I know. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in May, and he loves to fix anything and everything. John is the greatest example of redemption in my life, and the fact that we are standing here engaged today is a testament to the Lord, because we could not have ever gotten here on our own accord. There were way to many roadblocks for this to happen because of us.  I will still be working at HEAL for 2 years, so this won’t change any of that. John is still working as a mechanic with a local non-profit, but he is also looking for a better job with bigger companies around town. We are super excited to see what the Lord has in store for our future!

Mukwano

Mukwano means friend in the local tribal language called Luganda.

I have this mukwano. She is beautiful, strong, honest, and kind. I met her 5 years ago when I was first in Uganda. She works at a shop in town selling hand-made items to tourists that come through Jinja. At the time we first met, she was pregnant and the other interns and I would come visit her when we were in town and buy gifts from her shop for family back home. Little did I know, that relationship would blossom into a beautiful friendship over the years. I have had the privilege of watching her son, now 4½ years old, grow up. He calls me Auntie Bekah and runs and jumps into my arms when I see him. Sometimes I take him to get ice cream, and he tells me what he is learning in pre-school. He is funny, stubborn, friendly, and full of energy.

Whenever I am on main street I always try to go spend time with the two of them. I sit on the wooden stool and we talk about our day and anything that is happening in town. We talk about what God is teaching us. We talk about trauma and the scars that we carry from people who have hurt us, and how we carry on and process and grow from those hardships. We encourage each other to choose forgiveness, and we remind each other that love is not easy but it’s worth it. Our lives have been so very different, and yet so similar at the same time. We both want to be known and loved. We both desire friends who are kind and loyal. We both want to have fun and enjoy life. We both love our families dearly. Our day to day might look so different, and our cultures teach us different values and norms, but at the end of the day we are both humans who want to love and be loved and share the beautiful redemption of Christ with others because it has transformed our own lives. I am so thankful for my mukwano, and I am excited to see our friendship grow even deeper over the next 2 years.

Settling in at HEAL

At HEAL we have 80 kids in preschool, 65 in childcare, several women in our artisan program, and around 75 staff members. There are always a lot of people on the property, which means a lot of people for our social work department to help. I have so many ideas/dreams of things for the social workers to do at HEAL. I would love to see counseling increase, start grief therapy groups, social emotional groups for the preschoolers, education about the effects/preventions for childhood trauma, lessons on self-care, and so much more. I know a lot of these things will not happen over my two years here, but I am hopeful that I can work with the Ugandan social workers to implement some of them. I am excited to see HEAL grow over the next 2 years and see the ways we can provide more resources for the women and children that enter our gates. No organization is perfect and we definitely have ways that we could improve, but I wholeheartedly believe in the mission of keeping families together. The mothers we work with adore their children, they just need some help figuring out how to provide for their family.

I don’t have any pictures of the kids/staff at HEAL yet, and that is because I am getting to know them all first. We have a strict policy here that you must get to know people before you can take any pictures. I absolutely love this policy and I wish it was followed by everyone visiting countries in Africa. Way too often there are pictures on social media of adorable African kids posted by people who don’t even know the names of the children or have the child’s permission to post. Africans are constantly being exploited, so we have a policy at HEAL to try to prevent that from happening to our staff and kids.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending a day with another organization called Sole Hope. They are a local NGO working to educate and treat the problem of jiggers here in Uganda. Jiggers are a parasite that burrow themselves into the skin and lay eggs, spreading the number of jiggers that someone can have from 1 to hundreds. Jiggers are very stigmatized and are a huge issue here. Sole Hope has been educating Ugandans on how to prevent them and treat any patients they find who have jiggers. Every Thursday they have clinics where the staff goes out to a village, oftentimes a school/community center, and they remove jiggers, educate, and provide shoes. I’ve gone on a few clinics before, and I always really enjoy them. The staff are great and I love getting to see what other organizations here do.

HEAL does a great job of partnering with local organizations and referring people to other NGOs that could help if we are not able to help their needs. Several kids from a local orphanage come to HEAL for pre-school, and we send children with special needs to Ekisa. Jinja Pregnancy Care Center refers their single mothers and babies to us once the child is one year old. Partnerships are key to providing the best all-around care to the people of Jinja. I have seen a great improvement in organizations working together over the past 5 years that I’ve come to here, which is really encouraging to see.

Confidentiality is a HUGE part of social work, and therefore there is a lot that I do that I can’t share. It is important to keep a client’s information and story confidential. There will be times where I can share a story from the day, but my priority is and will continue to be the protection of the women and I children I work with. So just hang in there with me and know that I am working my best to safely explain what I am up to at work.

Here are a couple pictures of my apartment! I got curtains made and hung up some beautiful baskets on the wall. I’m getting a new/bigger bed made and also furniture for the porch so that I can sit outside and eat/read. I’ll post more pictures once they are done!

 

 

No Hurry in Africa

 

 

There is a saying here that states “there is no hurry in Africa,” and it’s true. Uganda does not run by the clock or a need for efficiency/productivity. It feels as though everything here takes at least twice as long (if not more) than what it would take in the States. There are definitely moments where this frustrates me, but I also find myself loving it and appreciating the laid-back environment. The focus is on community and relationships with one another, something I think the US could learn a lot from. Since starting work, I have found myself wishing that I could instantly feel adjusted and know my role and immediately get to work expanding the social work program. I am constantly reminding myself, however, that relationships and trust take time to build, and that there really is no hurry or rush. I must let it happen organically.

I have been observing and learning a lot about the procedures and policies here at HEAL, and how the social work office operates. I am loving getting to work alongside 3 amazing Ugandan social workers! One is gentle and sweet, one is strong-willed and determined, and one walks with a confidence that I admire. They all 3 love the women and children here at HEAL and are determined to help fight for the well-being and betterment of each one.

My mornings are spent in the social work office, and then at noon I help with lunch and baths for all the childcare kids. After our lunch break, there is an hour that I rotate between cleaning and sitting with the artisan women. It is a great time to get to know the staff and talk about our days. After that hour, I go back to work in the social work office. This next week I will begin converting files from paper to online forms. It will be a lot of work, but once it’s done it will be very helpful for the organization.

John + I at the wedding

This past weekend I went to a Ugandan wedding for the first time! It was quite the experience. Nimeri, the bride, was beautiful and married the sweetest man who absolutely adores her. Weddings in Uganda are pretty similar to American weddings, but there are a few interesting differences. For example, Ugandan bridal parties dance instead of walk down the aisle at both the start and end of the ceremony. The women in the crowd were ululating (a high-pitched cheering noise) as the bride came down the aisle. It felt like more of a true celebration than American weddings do. Weddings here typically start around midday and last all afternoon and into the evening. The saying “there’s no hurry in Africa” rang true again as the ceremony started 2 hours late and lunch was not served until 4pm. Uganda is teaching me a whole lot of patience, as well as finding joy in the little simple moments of the day.

The simple moments that are bringing me joy this week are my morning cup of coffee, African spiced tea on Wednesdays, and my walk home with some of the other staff who live near me.