We are staying at the centre from which we are training and sleeping in dormitories of about 12 people, a mix of ‘internationals’ and Ugandans. It has been pretty intense so far with both core sessions about Restless Development and the work of the NGO sector in Uganda as well as specialist training about, what will soon be, my area of expertise - Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH). Despite the information overload sometimes, I feel both a little bit more equipped for and a little bit more passionate about the positive change we will be bringing into our rural communities and the lives of young people! My work as a Peer educator in SRH will take me to both local primary and secondary schools as well as trying to reach the out of school youth and to increase youth friendly services in our local health centre. I really can’t wait to meet all these young people and draw alongside them in support and to be a role model for them, and I won’t have long to wait – we are officially ‘moving out’ on the 1st Feb! Talking of our communities, we were also assigned out placement teams last week! I am going to be living and working in a sub-county of Jinja District called Butagaya (look it up on a map if you like!!) and will have one volunteer from within that community and three other national Ugandans working alongside me. Within our team we are also divided by specialisms so that we can reach as many youth as possible. Susanes and Sandra are my nationals who will be working with livelihoods and agriculture whilst on my SRH team I have Richard and our local volunteer, Rodgers. I am so happy with our team and I think it is going to be great getting to know them and working with them over the next 6 months! Wow, there really is so much more to share about the work I will be doing but hopefully as I start to report back on our activities, you will grasp a bit more!
So I wanted to finish each of these blog posts with a summary of a few highlights and a few challenges I’ve faced so far (praise and prayer points for those of you who pray!) . First of all I am so thankful for all the new friends I’ve made, both international and Ugandan; I can’t express how much joy it has given e just to spend time with all these people!!! And it has also been amazing how at ease and comfortable I have felt being back here straight away – its like being in my second home! The challenge now though for me is leaving all my new friends and settling into my new placement community (but I will have chance to make even more friends there!) and also the steep learning curve I am going to face in delivering sessions, alongside my fellow Ugandans, about sensitive issues to young people. I really must stop rambling now but I hope you can sense my excitement and enthusiasm for the weeks ahead!