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Volunteer Tales - Learning Luganda with Lauren

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I sit for a moment to reflect on the changes that have occurred in my life over the past two weeks. It is incredible how quickly the time has passed. I have been waiting for my volunteer position in Uganda for months now, and now that I am here, I am able to fully appreciate everything I have been anticipating and learning about Shanti Uganda, as well as Uganda itself. I am incredibly blessed to be working and living in such a beautiful atmosphere. I am learning more than I could even begin to express, and am truly grateful to be learning under the midwives of Shanti Uganda, all of whom have such an incredible and unique capacity for compassion wisdom. I have come here to experience the realm of midwifery, as well as maternal health care - and that is what I am truly doing. 

I attended my first birth last Thursday evening! Sadie and myself arrived at the center to meet with the Women’s Income Generating Group. I was very excited as I had been waiting all week to meet them. Sister Mary took me by the hand as soon as we greeted the staff and informed me of the mother in labor! The mother was beautiful, and my time with her is something I will never forget. The strength of motherhood never ceases to amaze me, as the power of giving birth is stronger and more extraordinary than any gift we have as humans! I was honored to have been alongside this woman, as she became a mother!

Along with antenatal appointments and community outreach, we have been quite busy here in Kasana/Nsaasi Village. I was able to participate in October’s buying day with the Women’s Income Generating Group. After handling the jewellery and admiring the bags, I am really looking forward to working with the group, as from what I have seen, they are a lively and charismatic bunch!

This week we hosted a group of approximately 12 leaders from the surrounding villages. At this meeting, we were able to walk through the grounds of Shanti Uganda and exemplify the incredible work that is being done. We later had a discussion on community outreach, and working with groups within the different areas on the subjects of community/family health and wellness. In the weeks to come, the midwives and myself will be venturing out into the villages to discuss an array of topics with the community members.

The 17th is Safe Motherhood Day-Uganda. This year, representatives from Kampala, and all over Uganda will be coming to our district to collaborate on how to bring a safer motherhood initiative to the women as well as children of Uganda. Shanti Uganda is excitedly preparing for the meetings, as well as for a booth at the exhibition! This will be an incredible opportunity to further spread the word about Shanti Uganda, and increase the awareness about the quality of work being done in our centre.

As you can tell, our days are definitely quite full! Kasana is actively preparing for their Independence Day, which is the 9th, as well as recovering from a visit from the Kabaka (the Bugandan King). There is never a lack of noise in air, and I try to imagine the culprits of so much commotion! However, this is next to impossible, as everything from the creaking insects to a projected prayer crave to be heard. There is a constant flow of life leaking in through the windows and crawling into my eardrums. I am excited to seek out what Uganda has to teach me, as well as participate in all that is happening at Shanti Uganda in the next couple of months! 

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