Saturday, April 6, 2013

“30 Sites and 30 Nights”—April 6, 2013 (Day 18)



Name: Allison Delgado

Age: 24

Home Town: Elgin, Illinois

What she did before Peace Corps: Finished her Undergrad Intern at Alexian Brothers Medical Center as Assistant to the Quality and Patients & Accrediation Officer

Program Sector: Community Health

Number of months spent in Uganda: 20

Host Organization: Kiwoko Nursing School

Site location: Central Region, Nakaseke District, Kiwoko Town

Language spoken at her site: Luganda

Allison is working with Kiwoko Nursing school, which is affiliated with Ian Clarke’s hospital – Kiwoko Hospital. Allison is working as a teacher of Health Service Management, Primary Health Care, Personal Communal Health, and Computers to both the nursing and lab students. “I have created a full lesson plan for each class, including a manual, for each Microsoft Office Program. My hope is, in my final months, is to integrate a new instructor with the lesson plans for each class.” In addition to her primary job of working at the nursing school, Allison is also one of the directors for Northern Camp Build, which is happening in May.

Allison's favorite things about her site are her house, the hospital community and the kids that live in her compound. She really likes the fact that Kiwoko isn’t a “village” but it is not as big as a town, and she only has to walk 10 yards from her hospital gate to get anything from air time to a coke and a rolex. Allison really feels that her site is home. “I love coming home to it. My favorite moment was when I was gone for my first camp, I came home and all the kids came running toward the gates and tackled me because they missed me.”

Allison's biggest challenge at site is when she is often excluded from community activities because of religious differences. “It makes it hard that everyone from my CP to the muzungus are very Christian, and because they know I am not (and they are respectful of that fact), I am not included in as many activities involving other staff – from the hospital or school (staff and students) – or my project ideas may be shot down because they are not faith based.”

Allison does most of her shopping in Kiwoko. Right outside of her hospital she can get things like eggplant, green peppers, onions tomatoes, avocados and garlic. On market day in Kiwoko she can even get carrots and sometimes cucumbers. She also likes the little sweet bananas and passion fruit. Even though she lives very close to Luwero, she does not like pineapple and many local people cannot understand this especially because pineapples are so important in this part of the country. In Allison's house she has electricity and running water. Sometimes she needs jerry cans filled, so the hospital staff will fill them for her.

Allison really enjoys her community. She loves the sense of community and acceptance they make new comers feel. Their passion about truly doing what is right for their patients and their families and the eagerness of the students to learn is also greatly appreciated by her. Allison also really loves the kids that live on her compound. “I am NEVER called muzungu when I am in my compound.”

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This morning Sara, Allison and me went all the way to the other side of Luwero to assist Peace Corps training staff with the homestay orientation for the group of trainees that are arriving on April 25th (the day after I leave Uganda). We left Sara's house at 8:30 and we finally arrived at the training center at 9:30. When we got there we met Shirley (the training manager), Herbert (the Luganda language teacher) and Carol (one of the training secretaries).

Shortly after we arrived we began the orientation with the homestay families. There were 6 homestay familes there today, but there will only be 5 trainees coming to Luwero for training in May. They get more families than they need so they have a back up just in case one falls through.

Sara and Allison leading homestay orientation
With the homestay families we went over many different things that could come up in the time that the trainees are staying with them. We talked about cultural differences and personal problems, but we also discussed illnesses and proper sanitation. It is really interesting seeing how the homestays are instructed from this end. But when you really look at it, Peace Corps generally picks good families and the families really do take good care of the volunteers.

Our day went pretty long. Because we started about an hour late, we ended about 2 hours late. It also took a long time because Herbert was translating everything we said into Luganda in case the families didn't know English so well. However I think most of them understood us just fine. So when we finished, Peace Corps gave all three of us a ride back to Sara's house and Allison got her things and went back to her site. Tonight I'm staying with Sara again and tomorrow I'm leaving Luwero. Sara herself is leaving her site very soon. She COSes before I do. Tomorrow I'm off to Hoima to see a few of the volunteers up that way. Less than 2 weeks to go. We're nearing the end!

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