I’ve been living in Kasese for just over six months now, which means that I only have six months left here. As I write this, I realize that I’ve been posting blogs much less frequently than when I first arrived. And I don’t think that is because I have any less motivation to share my thoughts and experiences. But I think I have grown so accustomed to and familiar with my life here that newsworthy/exciting blog post ideas are harder to come by… which I think is both fitting yet unfortunate at the same time. It is great in the sense that I’m happy to have adjusted to living in this new country and culture. For the most part, I feel happy, safe, inspired, challenged, and surrounded by friends. But, I think that means I need to work that much harder at remembering that my time here is limited and to be thoughtful about appreciating and fully absorbing my remaining months here in every sense – work and play.
“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault
“Children think not of what is past, nor what is to come, but enjoy the present time, which few of us do.” Jean de La Bruyère
Quite conveniently, I recently had the opportunity to be mindful in thinking about this. During the second week of January, I attended Global Health Corp’s East Africa Mid-Year Retreat in Jinja. It is one of the highlights of GHC programming because it reunites all the fellows in the East African countries that GHC operates in – Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda. The purpose of the retreat was to reconnect, reenergize, reflect, and set goals for the remainder of the fellowship. Similar to the Quarter 1 Retreat that I wrote about in October, there were lots of presentations, small group discussions, and activities – basically a professional summer camp in global health. Yes, please! So about 60 of us piled into some buses and made our way to Kingfisher Safari Resort, a charming getaway. Below are a few pictures and highlights of the five days to give you a small taste of the week…
- Having the opportunity to present with my wonderful co-fellow, Peter Wampaalu, about our work at ACODEV so far.
- TED talks: (1) “On Being Wrong” by Kathryn Schulz and (2) “Where good ideas come from” by Steven Johnson.
- Seeing a traditional cultural performance including music, dance, and ladies stacking an unbelievable number of vases on their heads (see photos)!
- Article: “In Praise of the Incomplete Leader” by Harvard Business Review.
- A boat ride to Samuka Island in Lake Victoria to relax one evening.
- Poem: “The Guest House” by Rumi.
- A talent show, late night dance sessions, and a game night. I played in a “newlywed” co-fellow game with Peter which was quite funny, to say the least.
A lot was packed into those five days and even though I was exhausted by the end, I also felt ready to really get back to work after the holidays. Part of the beauty of living in Kasese is that there simply is not that much to do here. I swim, I cook, I hike, I read, I take weekend trips… but I also have more time to just be. As you may have noticed quotes slowly appearing in my blogs, I’ve started a (large) collection of my favorites with some of this new found time. As I enter this second half of my fellowship, here are just a few that I’ve found inspiration in…
“It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness.” Thomas Jefferson
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss)
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Mother Teresa
So in celebration of this halfway mark (and finally getting my work permit today), what better than to toast with a nice dose of albendazole, a de-worming drug, to ensure no critters are along for the ride. Until next time…