Saturday, April 13, 2013

“30 Sites and 30 Nights”—April 13, 2013 (Day 25)



Name: Andrew Rowan

Age: 26

Home Town: Stevens Point, Wisconsin

What he did before Peace Corps: Social worker

Program Sector: Community Health

Number of months spent in Uganda: 20

Host Organization: HealthPartners

Site location: Southwest region, Bushenyi Town

Language spoken at his site: Runyankore

Andrew is working with HealthPartners, which helps create and maintain community based healthcare cooperatives in southwestern Ugandan. He primarily supports staff in monitoring and evaluation, report editing, and behavior change communication. In addition to his primary project he has also worked on a training for VHTs (Village Health Teams) on how to better record the information that they get. Andrew is also working as a director of Southwest Camp Build, which is happening in May at Bushenyi PTC.

Andrew's favorite thing about his site is his supervisor, Herbert. “He is a colleague and a friend, which is an experience most PCVs don't have.” He also really likes the location of his site. His favorite moment at his site was when his parents came to visit him in December. The highlight of their trip was getting to see his site and where he lives.

Andrew's biggest challenge at his site is not having a background or interest in the specific area that his organization deals with and then being able to get past that in order to get work done. He struggles with supporting an organization that doesn't utilize his professional background.

Andrew does most of his food shopping in Bushenyi and Ishaka. Both towns have a local market and supermarkets, but he also goes to Mbarara to shop at Nakumatt, which is like a big American supermarket.

Andrew is currently living just outside of the Bushenyi Town center. His house has running water and electricity. It consists of two main rooms (a bedroom and a sitting room), a small kitchen and a very large bathroom. He often refers to his house as “little America”. However, Andrew is about to get a housing change. He is staying with the same organization, but he is getting a different house in Bushenyi.

One things that Andrew finds most interesting about his community is Kabagarami, which is a big field with thatched roof huts where they roast pigs every Saturday. It is most meant for rich Ugandans and many people even travel from really far away to come to this. The theory is that you get so full of pork that you lie on your back and rest because you've eaten too much pork. This is why they call it Kabagarami.

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The back of the Swift Safari t-shirt
This morning I left Chris' site at 7:15 AM and headed towards Kampala where I was able to get a bus going to Mbarara. Luckily I'm really familiar with this transport because my site was down this way. Whenever I go from Kampala to Mbarara I always take the same bus company, Swift Safari. As I approach the bus park I begin to be surrounded by people trying to direct me to their different buses. However, because I know what I am doing I just ignore all of these people and go to the bus I want. When I finally got my ticket and got on the bus, I noticed that all the Swift Safari employees had new t-shirts that I absolutely loved. Unfortunately this was probably the last time I will take the Swift Safari bus.

I got to Mbarara by around 2 PM, which means I made great time. It only took about 4 hours to get there. Once I got there I stopped at the bank and then went to the resource room. I had left a bag in the resource room that I needed to get. I ended up spending an hour consolidating and auditing my stuff so it would all fit in my one large backpack. Then I went to meet up with Andrew and Claire at the Golf Course Restaurant to get some food and hang out. After a while, a couple more people came to meet us, including Tara and Paul, who is the Director of Programing and Training for Peace Corps.

After eating and spending some time there, Andrew, Tara, Claire and me got a taxi back out to Andrew's house in Bushenyi, which is where I'm spending tonight. Tomorrow I'm going out to visit Tara's site and Jim's site. It's really nice to be back down in the southwest, but it's also a bit weird because I'm not going back to my site.

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