A lot has happened since I last checked in! On Tuesday morning, the PCAU staff had a meeting to talk about their goals for this upcoming quarter. I was present at the meeting since I will be here for a chunk of that time. I enjoyed getting to see the plans that they have to further the work that PCAU does, but I was also able to offer some ideas. I began an internship with Center for Hospice Care (CHC) back in January doing research on various topics. One of my tasks was to research websites and figure out what should be included for a Road to Hope (RTH) website for PCAU. Although I have not yet had the opportunity to share my research or work on a RTH website, one of the goals for this quarter was for PCAU to improve their website. Although this is not the child sponsorship website I had been researching, I was able to share some ideas that I have. I am excited about what PCAU will be doing to update the community and I think that the website is headed in the right direction. Personally, I have written three stories for the website, but we hope to include more updates on all of the various programs that PCAU organizes or supports.
Outside of the office, I was able to visit Kawempe Home Care this week. This is a facility that offers medical care to people suffering from HIV/AIDS, TB, and cancer. They have a hostel on campus where children and their guardians can stay while they are receiving treatment for their illness. While I was overwhelmed by the amazing things that Kawempe Home Care has been able to accomplish, I was also overwhelmed by the need that is in their community. I had the opportunity to visit the hostel and meet some of the children who have been staying there. Many of the children did not have visible tumors or ailments, but I could still see that they were in pain and were suffering. Kawempe Home Care offers amazing services to these children, but I was so heartbroken by the stories that were shared.
After Kawempe Home Care, I went with Lydia (the PCAU Social Worker), to visit the family of one of the children in the RTH program that unexpectedly passed away. This was also a very sad experience, but I was so thankful that I was able to be there and show her guardian some love and support. I was also able to be their while Lydia presented gifts sent by Roberta Spencer, a founder of the RTH program and the child’s sponsor. The gifts were incredibly thoughtful, but it was Roberta’s card that moved me to tears. It was written with so much love and faith. Following this visit, we went to a vocational school to meet with a child in the RTH program and see her progress. The student needed encouragement to keep up her hard work because her life, along with many others in the program, has not been easy. I was able to see some of the work that the child has accomplished, and was glad that I could meet another child that I have spent so much time learning about. Although they are tedious, I am thankful for the documentation projects that I have been given because I feel like I already know the children before I meet them.
On Friday, Ritah took me to a craft market in the city where I was able to get some little gifts for people at home. Ritah also helped me pick out some things that I could give to her and her children. Ritah picked out a dress for herself and some shoes for her kids. I had gotten her little son a ball earlier this week, and that was one of the funniest things I’ve seen during my time here. He is only three years old and spent hours outside kicking the ball around, but screams so loud as soon as anyone else touches it. I have attached a picture of him playing with it because that has been really fun for me to watch over the last few days.
As far as my weekend was concerned, I was introduced to a fellow college student at the vocational school on Thursday who is in Uganda teaching for the summer, so we met in Kampala for some shopping and dinner. She brought one of her students along, so that was a special treat for me to be spending time with people my own age. It was a lot of fun. I am definitely learning about going out of my comfort zone and building connections from scratch. On Sunday, I was invited by a Notre Dame alum (who actually started the PCAU internship years ago), to visit the equator. I spent the day with her, her husband, and their very lovely host family. We sang songs in the car and shared lots of stories about Notre Dame. It is so amazing to me that I traveled to Uganda and still run into so many people from the University. The world is so small!
This next week, I plan to continue writing stories about the children, finish up their electronic records, and help out with whatever else I can get my hands on. As always, thanks for your support. I would not be here without all of you!