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.
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.