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I love Uganda. It’s a beautiful country with fantastic natural scenery and some of the friendliest people on earth! Ugandans are intriguing people who are very dedicated to their country. Their ability to work together toward a common goal and move on from a history of military tyranny, tribal animosity and politicians gone mad on power is inspiring and admirable. Despite the horrors of the past, Ugandans have weathered the storm remarkably well. You will not meet a sullen, bitter or cowed people. Rather, they are smiling and friendly with openness absent in other places (although in the far north huge problems still exist because of the war-conflict.) Still, Uganda is a country with much promise.


Ugandans have a kind of hospitality that I felt when I visited southern cities in America – only even more so. Time seemed to be more in tune with nature in Uganda while I was there. Because of limited electricity and no Internet connection in the rural area of Nakasongola, work got done very slowly. It was hard to get used to the latrines, which were little more than a hole in the ground. There were also huge water shortages in the village. Sometimes the shops didn’t even have an adequate supply of bottled water, which was quite scary! In many rural areas like Nakasongola, people are living in impoverished communities and life’s basic needs like water, food, electricity, and access to hospitals are scarcely being met. At times I felt like I was in the desert.

The Save The Children offices, where I worked during my internship, are located in the Nakasongola district about two hours away from the capital of Kampala. Nakasongola is a lot hotter and drier than Kampala. I was there as an adult literacy intern for 3 months and worked in the monitoring and evaluation unit. My supervisors were two Ugandans who were born and raised in the Nakasongola district. They work from 7 am to almost 11pm at night and are very dedicated to making long lasting change within their communities. They were such a pleasure to work with and were so easy going. I also learned a little of the local language, Luganda, which was commonly spoken in the offices. In the morning I did administrative work and in the afternoons I usually went to the field. I helped the Adult Literacy team collect and analyze data for an in-house assessment of the overall program. The goal was to facilitate and sustain basic literacy skills for adults in these communities. I generally worked from 8 am to 7:30 pm. I liked the fact that even though I was an intern, I got to contribute to the group. My ideas were taken seriously and the staff appreciated the work I did. I interacted with quite a few people at the office, since the CHANCE (alternative school programs), Youth and Development, and Food Distribution offices were close by. The Save the Children compound is like a small university. People work, eat and live within it. The staff are full of bright ideas and have an unmatched zest for life. Topics at the dinner table included politics, sociology and the media. The conversations were always fun and exciting. My co-workers were inspiring and truly believed in the worthy cause of saving children. They were delightful and really took the time to try to get to know me. I’m a strong believer in Save the Children’s ability to improve the lives of people in need and I enjoyed my experience.

Check out New Video! – Uganda: A View from the Field 

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 at 11:30 am.
Categories: Travel.

4 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Anonymous

    Will – I loved the photography in your piece, and how the images were ordered to make the story. Very inspiring. I imagine that you have lots of photos and all manner of stories from your work and travels abroad that it would great to see you share in this format. Perhaps some additional background audio – literal noises? music? in future versions to give it even more richness.

  2. Anonymous

    Sounds like you’ve had lots of valuable and unusual experiences! i’ve also done quite a bit of development media work, and therein my heart still lies. it’s one excellent way to ‘give back’ by aiming to increase awareness of poverty and the struggle of so many people for the basics of life.

  3. Shari Kessler

    Will, you seem drawn to social issues, and that sincerity and passion pump through your presentations. In your Uganda piece, you put us in the place, sat us in the circle, personalized a culture, helped us to feel empathy for a people and share in the hope. Couple that with fabulous images (a reminder to us all of the importance to keep snapping away, to document our personal journies), and you’ve got a near perfect advocacy piece. You do this very effectively — and thus do great service for your subjects. I hope we’ll see more media advocacy from you.

  4. SK


    A solid story about your experiences with ‘Save the Children in Uganda, or is it a docu about ‘Save the Children’ in Uganda? Either way, it flowed nicely and left the taste that development aid does accomplish some good things, and you were a part of that effort. Good job! Good work there! I thought the pix of the little boy with the pencil was absolutely stunning and told your story in one image!!

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