BLOG ENTRIES DAYS 25-33
Day 25, Friday, 08/05/11: Kayunga
There have been a group of Canadians staying at my hotel. They are here for 2 weeks, working with Uganda Martyrs, a Catholic Secondary School. They invited me to come and visit their school for the day. The students had just finished their final exams, and today was their last day before the holiday break. They were all very excited to be done with school. After morning mass, the headmaster was saying, “Now that all the exams have been finished…” and a student yelled out, “Yes!!” and everyone laughed. It was funny to see how a student’s excitement for tests to be over and break to begin is a universal happening! The rest of the day included a dance competition between all of the “houses” of the school. The theme was domestic violence, and each group of students put on a dance, song, or dramatic expression related to the topic. It was moving and powerful to see the students acting out experiences related to domestic abuse. Every one of the students were so talented that you would think that each one of them was a professional performer. Below is a picture from one of the performances:
Day 26, Saturday, 08/06/11: Kayunga to Kampala to Jinja
Chris, Godfrey, and I left early in the morning to head to Kampala to be in an introduction. An introduction is an important event in Ugandan culture. It takes place before a wedding, and it is a formal introduction of the bride’s family to the groom’s family. The official engagement also takes place at the introduction. We were invited by one of our co-workers, and everyone from our Kayunga office attended. The groom was a Peace Corps worker from California, and the bride was a sister of two of our co-workers. We sat on the groom’s side, since his family was not able to attend. It was definitely a fun experience, and Chris and I also dressed in the traditional dress (a gomesi for me and a kanzu for Chris).
Chris, Agnes, Godrey, and I in our traditional dress.
It was very nice to sit on the groom’s side, since the bride and her family catered to the groom and his side throughout the event. We also took part in some different traditions during the introduction, such as presenting gifts to the bride and her family, and eating with the bride and groom and the groom’s representatives in the aunt’s house of the bride. It was a great experience, and I’m thankful that we were able to go.
The bride presenting herself to the groom after she came out of the house with her “aunties.”
Afterwards, Chris and I took a taxi bus to Jinja (took about 3 hours!) to visit one of his friends, Johnny, who is also a med student at MSU.
Day 27, Sunday, 08/07/11: Jinja
Today was a pretty relaxing day in Jinja! Chris, Johnny, and I met up with some Irish teachers and we all spent the day together shopping, eating, and hanging around in Jinja. It was nice to meet so many people from Ireland and a couple of other countries and hear about their experiences coming to Uganda.
Some new friends I made. The kids here are so amazing!
Day 28, Monday, 08/08/11: Jinja to Kayunga
In the morning, Chris and I went horseback riding with one of the Irish teachers, Sarah. We went on a trail that winded alongside the Nile River and Bujagali Falls.
Sarah, Chris, and I on horseback in front of Bujagali Falls on the Nile River.
Chris and I arrived back at the office a little later in the day, so we worked into the night, along with Agatha. Chris did some work on the database, and made some much needed revisions so that additional scoring could be entered. Afterwards, we watched a movie called “War Dance,” which is about a refugee camp in northern Uganda, where there have been rebels. It was an emotional movie about how the refugee children cope with their crises through song and dance. The movie documents their stories as they compete in Kampala at the national dance contest.
Day 29, Tuesday, 08/09/11: Kayunga
Today was a full day of work back in Kayunga. It was also time for Chris to leave to start his trip back to school. The staff went out for one big last lunch all together as a group, and then Chris took a taxi to Kampala. The staff misses him and also appreciates the work that he was able to do here at the office.
Day 30, Wednesday, 08/10/11: Kayunga
Today I continued to work on the scoring for the CBCL, and also wrote out specific instructions for scoring of the KABC-2, BRIEF, and BOT-2. I was able to create an Excel sheet that automatically calculates most of the scoring for the CBCL, but there are still a few kinks that I’m working out with converting the raw scores to the T Scores for the DSM Scales. I have also been continuing to teach some of the staff members the scoring for a few of the tests, including the KABC-2. So far, they are doing a great job!
Day 31, Thursday, 08/11/11: Kayunga
Another day working in the office. I’m making sure that I have completed everything on my “To Do” list that I made when I first arrived in Kayunga. I am happy to say that most of the tasks have been checked off so far. Today I wrote out instructions for scoring the CBCL. I have also made a Case Management List for the testers, trainers, and supervisor. I got the idea for creating a case loads for each staff member from the special education departments in public schools in the U.S. It’s typical for special education teachers to each have a case load list for the number of students that they are responsible for managing for their special education paperwork and services. I think that the Case Management List that I made for the office in Kayunga will be helpful to keep track of the testing, training, and lab data for all of the children in each study cohort. I am also continuing to help the staff learn the scoring for the KABC-2 and for the other tests involved in the study.
Day 32, Friday, 08/12/11: Kayunga to Kampala
Today is the last day in the office! Not much for me to do today, which I think is a good thing. I completed the case management lists and the staff printed them off today at the office in Mulago. There was one final meeting to discuss the week's work and further tasks to be done. I will really miss the staff, and Kayunga, and even feel as though I could stay longer! Headed back to Kampala with the staff in the afternoon and got a chance to say goodbye to Dr. Paul Bangirana (a
director of the project in Uganda) and some other staff members. It was a day full of goodbyes! But, I am also excited to think about the next few months of working on the paper I will be writing related to the research study.
FINAL DAY: Day 33, Saturday, 08/13/11: Kampala
Today is my last full day in Uganda! I will surely miss it. It is a country of beautiful places and beautiful people. Just this morning at my hotel, I made friends with a woman from Kambale, and she even invited me to her wedding next August! The friendliness of the people here in Uganda never ceases to amaze me. I will also miss the food (matoke, posho!) and the sugary sodas. It has truly been an amazing experience, and I feel blessed to have been a part of the research that is being done here. I have had the opportunity to have met some very extraordinary and talented people while here. I am so impressed by the level of passion and commitment that Dr. Boivin, Dr. Opoka, Dr. Bangirana, and all the staff members in the research project have shown. I have been able to see how the research that is being done here has helped so many children and their families. I am glad that I was able to be a part of it.
I would like to extend a very special thank you to Dr. Elaine Fletcher-Janzen. If it wasn't for her, I would've never had the
experience of coming to Uganda and helping with the research project. Thank you for all you have done - from connecting me with Dr. Boivin to holding a raffle contest to help me raise funds for the trip. I cannot thank you enough for all of your help and interest in my trip, and you have gone above and beyond what I could ask for in a professor.
I would also like to thank Dr. Robert Clark and the International School Psychologist Association. Your contribution to my trip was very generous and much appreciated. Thank you for your interest in my trip and in the research. I hope to share about my work in here at an ISPA conference in the future!
Thank you to all of those who have followed my blog. I hope you enjoyed learning about the research, reading about the country, and viewing the pictures.
Signing off from Uganda!