Today is my last day in Uganda! It’s hard to believe it has been three months – in some ways I feel like I have been here forever, and in other ways they time has flown by. I think the friendliness and hospitality of my Ugandan friends and colleagues made me feel at home quite quickly here, but at the same time I am always learning or experiencing something new.
The last few weeks of my internship have been BUSY, to say the least. From helping to facilitate a week-long workshop, to being roped in to supporting an important policy symposium at the last minute, to frantically rewriting four forty-page facilitators’ guides (for the third time!) in the last few days, I have barely had time to process the fact that I’m leaving Kampala, and saying goodbye to this wonderful country that has been a home-away-from-home to me for the last three months. Although I barely had time to think about leaving, my coworkers had prepared, and surprised me Thursday with a farewell party, where they showered me with Ugandan souvenirs and fed me cake (the way to my heart).
For those of us who are only in Kampala for a short time, this seems to be the season for leaving, and I have been to one goodbye party after another in the last few weeks. But it also means that I have had lots of partners-in-crime for checking things off my KLA bucket list, and cramming in all the last minute things I wanted to do!
Last weekend, I went to my first rugby match. Uganda faced off against Zimbabwe, and the stands were packed! Following the game (which I didn’t follow much of, but unfortunately we lost), the stadium opened up into a big party with music and dancing. And no Ugandan rugby match is complete without grilled pork – I have never seen so much meat in my life!
I also finally made it to the Baha’I Temple, easily the most peaceful place I’ve found in Kampala, checked out some of Kampala’s delicious and diverse restaurants, and just enjoyed the last few weeks I had with the wonderful friends I have made here.
As I pack and say my last goodbyes, I have a lot of thoughts running through my head.
- First and foremost, I am grateful for the amazing learning experience these last three months have been. This internship pushed me out of my comfort zone, and exposed me to so many new experiences and ways of doing things. I know this exercise in perspective-shifting will be so important in my future.
- Second, getting to work first-hand on an international development project has raised so many questions for me about the effectiveness, sustainability, and ethics of this kind of work. They aren’t questions I’m going to be finding the answer to any time soon, but I think they are important things to be curious and cautious about when working in the field of international development.
- Lastly, I’m going to miss this place! Life in Kampala has been so fun, and I have built friendships and bonds, especially with my coworkers, that I didn’t think was possible in such a short time. I am getting married next spring, and already trying to get my fiancé to come around to the idea of an East African honeymoon, because I want to share with him this place that has become so special to me.
So I’m going to wrap up by saying thanks for everything KLA, and it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later!