“The villagers are very happy when muzungus come to visit because they feel that the rest of the world cares. It gives them hope.” – Kitovu Mobile
Before I begin to discuss and reflect on what I have learned throughout this trip, I would like to thank my GROW team, my Northeastern University chapter, Globemed, and Kitovu Mobile for allowing this enriching trip to happen.
With one more day left on this rollercoaster ride of a GROW trip, I can firmly say that this trip has taught me many new things and has rekindled my passion for service. I am still amazed with my experience with the Lukindo village. My experience with the Lukindo village has shown me that genuine kindness transcends cultural, racial, and lingual differences. After a long day of traveling and administering field surveys, I was comforted by the warm welcome of the villagers of Lukindo. In fact, they had even provided my team a delectable feast, despite their own shortage of sustenance. At first, I felt uncomfortable and even guilty that the villagers had prepared a feast to welcome us. However, when I began to realize that the villagers were not feeding us out of obligation, but out of willingness and kindness, I felt compelled to reproduce such acts of kindness. I am learning that acts of service go beyond what is apparent, and have the ability to influence and empower others. I wish to implement what I have learned from the Lukindo village into my daily life. I strive to service my community with kindness, in hopes spreading acts of service.
By working with Kitovu Mobile, I have learned that I truly enjoy the field of public health and medicine. I am excited by the aspect of preventing and curing illnesses through proper public education and access to health care facilities. I believe that this GROW trip has strengthened my drive to pursue a career in medicine. While discussing the prevalence and morbidity of malaria with Steven from Kitovu Mobile, I was surprised to learn that malaria was often experienced as often as three times a year. I cannot fathom the great health disparities, from HIV to malaria treatment, between the United States and Uganda. However, I hope to return to Masaka to fight for and provide accessible health facilities. After exposure to the great prevalence of preventable diseases in the Kyanamukaaka district in Uganda, I am inspired to make a difference through an education in public health and medicine. Throughout this trip, I have come to believe that I have the ability to make a difference.
Kitovu Mobile Limited is an outreach branch of Kitovu hospital that serves the Kyanamukaaka sub county. From HIV/Aids medication distribution to water and hygiene education, Kitovu Mobile provides a vast variety of services. Our chapter funds the water and sanitation project, which consists of constructing pit latrines, tippy taps, and shallow wells. Our partnership has increased the number of wells and pit latrines in the Kyanamukaaka sub county. While Kitovu Mobile utilizes our funds to provide water and hygiene services to villages, our chapter is rewarded with the opportunity to truly make a difference in many villages. I have learned that Kitovu Mobile has a great impact in Masaka city and neighboring sub-counties. Kitovu Mobile has a very systematic method of determining the village that is in most need of a shallow well. Working with Kitovu Mobile Limited, I have learned of its importance and how vital this organization is for the community. I truly enjoyed working with Kitovu Mobile over the last month, since its members are very welcoming and passionate about their work. Kitovu Mobile is an impactful organization that specializes in providing services to people who often do not have access to such services.
Through this trip, I have come to understand GlobeMed’s principles of empowering the community and the individual. Through this sustainable partnership model, both Globemed chapter and partner continue to grow in knowledge, empowerment, and resources. I believe that GROW is a vital component of being a member of Globemed. Being able to tangibly see the impact of fundraising throughout the school year, has helped me better understand the importance of the time leading up to GROW. I am proud to be a member of Globemed and look forward to bringing GROW back to my chapter.
By Edwin Lee – GROW intern 2016