Monday, October 15, 2007

New clan, same Wes

So on saturday I was officially sworn in as a member of the Bakomba clan in Eastern Uganda. Normally, clan membership is reserved for extended family members, but since I asked the head of the clan, who is also my supervisor's father to join, he readily agreed to ask the executive council to let me join. They agreed and I am now a member! My new name is Mukomba Kampanya, which as you remember from previous posts, Kampanya is my local name (small, he-goat) and from this post you know that Mukomba is someone from the Bakomba clan. I have an ID card that I will receive shortly and will be named to a leadership postion at the general clan meeting on Nov 3rd. I love Africa! So many fun, unique things to do that I would never be able to experience in America. But seriously, I am honored that they accept me as one of them and they have already started making arrangements to introduce my parents as members too when they come to visit! However, the folks don't seem too thrilled, but unfortunately, they won't have much choice! :)

How the ceremony worked, was the head of the clan, the Papa Bakomba, asked the executive members if they would accept me as a member. After verbal agreement, the Papa asked me if I accepted. Then I sat on this super small stool while everyone surrounded me and congratulated me. After a woman let out a joyful scream (which suprised me), everyone started singing and dancing to the clan theme song, which sounds exactly like the Friends theme....ok, that's a lie! I didn't understand the words, but it had to do something about destroying your enemies...

Afterwards, they talked over clan business, like how to kick out the member who murdered his son, when the next meeting was, and how much next year's dues will be. I had a huge lunch of Wita (millet/cassava bready doughy thing), rice, matoke (smashed plantains), chicken and beef.

Ok, that's it for now. Still buzzing from my induction.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I'm back

Ok, this is a new record for me to update my blog. I'm obviously pretty awesome like that! Anyways, I have some more things to talk about.

So in other posts I've talked about different projects that my organization is trying to develop, especially the mosquito net project ( hint!) and working with orphans and starting a SACCO. But the most important thing my organization is trying to do now, for long term sustainability is to open up a health institute that trains people in a 3 year program to be comprehensive enrolled nurses (basically RN's in the states). Not only will this bring financial stability to my organization, it will be great for the country to have more skilled health professionals available. There is a shortage of nurses in this country especially in the east where there are only 2 schools that provide nurse training and they turn away many applicants. The health institute will be a boom to the economy of my sub county as well as providing them with better medical services. But as with everything, we are hitting roadblocks. To be accredited by the government to become a nursing institute, you have to have things already in place before you can start recieving students (and payment). Those things include books, a coaster van to haul students, teaching materials, and things like desks and chairs. Unfortunately, we don't have the funds for those things yet so we can't start. However, we are working hard at getting these items ASAP.

I just got back from training the new batch of volunteers on the VAC (volunteer advisory committee) committee that I am on (think student council). It was a blast to meet the new group and give out in words of wisdom that they were willing to listen too! It was surreal going back to the training town and remembering that it was only 4 months ago that I was here nervous and unsure about my future here. I also got to see my host family who were hosting one of the new volunteers and it was great to chat with them and keep in contact. They are a great family and my folks will get to meet them when they visit.

Ok, other net stuff to do, till next time...