Cooking for my Host Family

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If anyone would have told me years ago that I would be using a small charcoal stove and firewood to prepare dinner on an outside patio, I would have laughed in their face. Uganda definitely introduced a new experience for me!

Cooking out on the back porch.

Cooking out on the back porch.

I prepared dinner for my host family as one of the ways to say “THANK YOU” to them for all of their help, kindness and hospitality during my visit. Staying with them really made me feel like I had a new family in Uganda and a place to call home should I ever go back to visit. I decided I would make them a Mexican dinner (or at least something close to it). I set out to the busy Friday market alone in the pouring rain and came out pretty successful. I purchased pineapples, watermelon, spices, ground beef, onion, garlic, peppers, fresh beans, potatoes and tomatoes, juice, and I even found ice cream at the supermarket. I was sure that I would be able to whip up a delicious meal in no time! I was wrong.

I returned to my home to find out the electric stove was still not working so I rolled up my sleeves and prepared to use the charcoal stove and firewood. Although I told them this was their true day off to rest and relax at dinner time, my host family all pitched in to help prepare the feast. My host sister taught me how to make chapatti (closest thing to a flour tortilla I could think of),

Rolling Chapatti dough

Rolling Chapatti dough

my host mother helped me fry the potatoes, my host uncle helped me cut veges and my host brother even helped pitch in by making chapatti himself. After an intensive 5 hours of cooking, dinner was ready!

Our outdoor kitchen

Our outdoor kitchen

I didn’t know how the meal would turn out since I’m so used to the modern, quick way of cooking (life of a grad student). The meal was fabulous! My host uncle and host cousin even went back for seconds and no one had room for the desert ice cream! We were all stuffed and satisfied after my take on Mexican soft tacos,  beans and fried Irish potatoes. I was happy to see them happy and although they didn’t really get a day off because they insisted on helping, they definitely had something different to eat! I know Matooke (a popular banana dish) is the main item on the menu most of the time, but we definitely switched it up at the Kasimba Clan residence that day!

Dinner was served!

Dinner was served!

Fresh fruit and juice

Fresh fruit and juice

The Chapatti, fried potato, beans

The Chapatti, fried potato, beans

Inside the delicious taco!

Inside the delicious taco!

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Jasmine Burditt – Step Up Primary School

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It was quite an eventful summer at Step Up! We started a saving’s project, a mentorship program, teacher’s empowerment program, bakery, staff awards and Facebook page for future networking and stakeholder appreciation.

My favorite project of all was the Mentorship program where we were able to connect Step Up graduates to current students in order to instill the importance and value of continuing education. A couple of weeks after the program was initiated, a former Step Up student and mentor volunteer told me how much she truly enjoyed the feeling of giving back to her community and former Step Up classmates through the program. She said that she wanted to work to improve and expand the program, and continue to give back by offering advice to Step Up students. This was all coming from a girl in Senior 3 (about the equivalent of a Sophomore in high school). I was elated as this meant project success to me.

Handing out gifts to the first group of mentor volunteers for the program

Handing out gifts to the first group of mentor volunteers for the program

I can definitely say it was a BUSY summer yet an eventful one. I know that each of us had the opportunity to work with amazing, unforgettable people over the summer and can say that we helped to create positive change through placing the power in the hands of those affected by the programs we brought, helped plan, and helped facilitate throughout Masaka. I’m proud of all of us but mostly honored to have seen my coworkers and the students at Step Up exponentially rise as leaders over the summer. I couldn’t have done any of this without them, but they could have done it all without me for sure!

Ben Jarvis – Gayaza Primary School

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ACCT’s Ben Jarvis interned at Gayaza Primary School in efforts to incorporate the importance of learning.

Ben teaches students how to transition sentences from singular to plural form.

Ben teaches students how to transition sentences from singular to plural form.

Ben worked as an English teacher at Gayaza and taught a class of students all summer. Ben also spearheaded sports initiatives at the school to strengthen the netball and football teams.

Ben interacts with students in the classroom

Ben interacts with students in the classroom

Ben practiced with the students everyday for hours and tied in the importance and value of learning English with the fun of sports.

A student reads the sentence on the board for the class.

A student reads the sentence on the board for the class.

A student successfully transition a sentence from present tense to past tense after Ben's lesson.

A student successfully transition a sentence from present tense to past tense after Ben’s lesson.

Ben leveraged community support in the Gayaza village and worked closely with the school Head Master to increase grades and performance all-around for the students. Ben’s programming has left the school with a strong sports program and a revamped English-learning component.

Calvin Yahn – STEP (support the elderly persons)

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ACCT introduces Calvin Yahn, an intern placed at STEP.

Calvin worked on incorporating an income-generating project by developing a piggery starting with 10 pigs to be distributed to several elderly people throughout the village of Senyange. He also created a survey to assess how well the elderly residents were doing and how they were generating income and sustaining themselves.

Calvin (Left) takes a break with his supervisor for a short jam session on the drums and banjo.

Calvin (Left) takes a break with his supervisor for a short jam session on the drums and banjo.

Calvin initially had the idea for a chicken project but this later turned into a piggery project since it was less labor intensive for pariticipants. He worked with residents age 60 and over and also developed a Facebook page for the organization to expand their network.

Romaria Amoa – Kitovu Mobile

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ACCT 2014 intern Romaric Amoa was placed at Kitovu Mobile, an organization in Masaka that works in HIV prevention, education and sustainable development by supporting those who have are living with or have been affected by HIV.

 

Romaric explains his internship site in the village of Gulama

Romaric explains his internship site in the village of Gulama

Romaric worked with the orphans department of Kitovu Mobile and started a piggery project involving 6 women and 7 men.

He started a piggery project with them where they could grow pigs, chickens, goats, coffee and bananas. The project was on piggery structure, general hygiene and environmental structures.

The piggery was created to generate income though organic fertilizer that could be used to grow coffee. The main goal was to develop a bigger sustainable project training session on how to rear pigs, what to feed them, etc.

The chicken coup built under Romaric's guidance

The chicken coup built under Romaric’s guidance

Romaric poses with his supervisor and co-workers who helped build tippy taps, chicken coups, pig shelters and drainage systems in the village of Gulama

Romaric poses with his supervisor and co-workers who helped build tippy taps, chicken coups, pig shelters and drainage systems in the village of Gulama

The second objective of Romaric’s project was general hygiene. He created a tippy tap system for washing hands and a drainage system throughout houses. He also trained on switching from plastic to banana fiber for coffee since it’s more environmentally friendly.

 

Kyle Rinne – South Buganda Teacher’s SACCO

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At another SACCO stood Kyle Rinne! Kyle interned at Masaka Teacher’s SACCO over the summer.

Kyle's office space at South Buganda Teacher's SACCO

Kyle’s office space at South Buganda Teacher’s SACCO

Kyle provided the organization with an overview of trainings of SACCOs and co-saves and the benefits of joining a SACCO. Co-saves are small groups of people who save their money collectively. Usually the money is attributed to one person each month.

Kyle meets with his supervisor at the South Buganda Teacher's SACCO

Kyle meets with his supervisor at the South Buganda Teacher’s SACCO

Kyle provided four trainings for members of co-saves in the rural areas of Masaka. During his internship he developed training manuals for leaders of the co-saves, putting together a training about what controls/processes co-save leaders can use to be most affective. This was somewhat of an extension of work done by a previous intern but Kyle mostly focused on immersing into the community and community outreach.

Kyle poses with his supervisor - the General Manager of South Buganda Teacher's SACCO

Kyle poses with his supervisor – the General Manager of South Buganda Teacher’s SACCO

Kyle received much positive feedback from community members on the co-save and SACCO trainings and this has helped SACCO management to find out why people aren’t joining SACCOs.

Jared Jones – Masaka Microfinance

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ACCT Introduces Jared Jones, an intern who was placed at Masaka Microfinance in Nyendo. Masaka Microfinance is a loan corporation in Masaka that grants small loans to individuals looking to start a business. These microenterprises can be through starting a piggery, agriculture project, fish farm, etc.

Jared worked on developing new agriculture loan products for the corporation by surveying farmers, holding focus groups to collect information on what crops are growing in which seasons and length of time it takes for crops to grow. 

Jared and his supervisor at Masaka Microfinance

Jared and his supervisor at Masaka Microfinance

The objective of the project was to help farmers who have fewer means of income by providing specified grace periods to the agriculture loans instead of just one flat 3 month repayment period. The grace period would be customized to each individual project loan in using this new method.