Saturday, June 10, 2017

Uganda: When Life Gives You Avocados & Rolex

Agandi Sebo! My name is Hermon and I am a part of the Ugandan research team. I am also a Pisces. This week we got to settle down into our permanent summer stay in the town of Ishaka. Sitting above a 30-foot water tank, I can see a clear 360-degree view of Ishaka in the Bushenyi region. The region is characterized by its abundance of green hills adorned with houses of red, green, orange, and grey. From here, I can hear a call to prayer from a Muslim mosque nearby resonating through the cool air. No lie, first time I heard a call to prayer from a mosque was when I was in Tanzania at around 5 am and I thought Jesus was coming back. This time wasn’t a panic for my soul, fortunately.

Our accommodations are very pleasant and simple. We even have actual toilets (I was expecting a squat toilet honestly). However, other things taken for granted like running water and a washing machine are pluses. Our house is on a steep hill that give us PLENTY of exercises targeting our gluteus maximus as we walk up. Kim Kardashian won’t be the only one breaking the internet with her behind when we get home.

When we venture out into the stores, it’s no casual affair. Honestly, if I had a cow for every time we got prolonging stares from people, I am sure I could cater all of ours and even your wedding… & your cousins (unless you’re a vegetarian). I was walking down a gravel path one morning and I swear even the goats have never seen my skin color before because their eyes were fixated on me. The people I have come to know at our site have been so welcoming. From our lovely cook Moreen to my special friends Sam and Howard that I get to touch every day (we attend massage classes every evening), they have made us feel at home. Especially our friend Moreen. Girl, let me tell ya, she can cook! Her peas dishes are phenomenal and she even made us Rolex one dinner, which is like a chapati (like African tortilla) with fried eggs rolled inside; Delicious is an understatement. Our dishes often are accompanied with the creamiest and biggest avocados they offer here. 

This week we also started touring around Ishaka Health Plan (our partner) and Kampala International University with the staff. These two sites will be our main source in gathering data on our cervical cancer and human papilloma virus (HPV) research. We will use surveys, interviews, and focus group discussions as our data collection methods, pertaining to the knowledge & perceptions/opinions on cervical cancer and HPVs.

Overall, we have settled quite nicely here. Our week ended with eating & watching Nigerian Dramas & a strange American movie at our friends’, Susan and Dan, houses. Thanks to my team and our wonderful friends, hunger and loneliness is something I or my team have not known during our time here.

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