Trip to Uganda: An Interview

Sophomore Biology majors Palak Patel and Jamie Carlson went to Uganda with Embrace it Africa Club on a service trip in January for two and a half weeks. They visited a school, a clinic, beautiful scenery and met amazing kids. Embrace it Africa Clubs helps economic growth in the Kyotera District in Uganda through three of the community’s challenges are access to financial markets, educational opportunities and public health. The club helps with microfinance, access to education, student sponsorship, public health and HIV awareness. Jamie and Palak tell me more about the club and their unforgettable experience across the world.

What did you do at the clinics?

Palak and Jamie: We shadowed a doctor, saw labs and a malnutrition ward. We met with patients that had serve burns and malaria. The group worked with the Nakagongo Wellness Organization for awareness of products sell to sell in the United States.

What did you do with the children in the classroom? 

Palak and Jamie: The Bethlem Parents Primary School and Orphanage is for children to gain an education and a place to live. We asked the young girls asked about their life and tried to promote women’s leadership. We told them how they can have more of a role in their community. We discussed with the young women about menstruation and it something to not be ashamed of. We helped the kids with their day to day activities and worked with students from Damien College to make hand washing stations and bathrooms for the kids.

What is the most rewarding thing about this experience?

Palak and Jamie: We learned about how privileges we are and the different cultures. You always hear of how poor Africa is and you don’t realize the full extent until you are there. We loved interacting with the kids and learning about their families.

What is your favorite memory of the trip?

Palak and Jamie: The best part of the trip was meeting all the kids and spending all the time with them. We went to Wajinja Stone and saw BPS dancing and nobody had a care in the world. They did not rely on electricity or electronics. The people created music with their mouths and had a great time enjoying each other’s company.

How did your family and feel about you doing the experience?

Palak and Jamie: They were nervous at first but then realized all the work that needs to be done in Africa. They wanted us to see the world and see how privileged we are in America. Professor Pauline Hoffmann acted like our mom for the trip and eased tension from our parents.

What did you learn from the experience?

Palak and Jamie: We learned how fortunate we are everything that we take for granted living in the United States. These kids have nothing and education is gold for them. Once we have stable jobs we want to go back and help. I get a message every week from them.

What do you do in Embracing Africa Club?

Palak and Jamie: We have Brewgonda on April 16th at Four Mile Brewery in Olean. Tickets will go on sale soon. It is an opportunity to donate and have a good time. We help spread awareness about the Uganda and the importance in helping out this community.

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Written By: Keara Donnelly