Monday, May 4, 2015

A Week in Ashley’s Shoes

We know a lot of you are curious about what a day in our shoes is like, so we decided to share a week in our shoes with you. 
We will start this past week with Ashley.

Before I start, I want to really introduce my organization and project. My host organization is EMESCO Development Foundation. It was locally founded by the current director who was born in the district I live in, Kibaale District, before it even got its name. He’s a very amazing man. He saw the communities struggling in areas of development and the lack of aid/organizations being sent to the area and decided to start helping the communities himself. In 1999, the organization started with programs officially beginning in 2000. The original projects were focused in areas of water and sanitation; things like building protected bore holes, water catchments and pit latrines in communities and schools. In fact, if you visit many of the schools throughout the district, you will see EMESCO written on the majority of water tanks, latrines and bore holes. After 15 years, the projects have expanded into 5 main areas of: water, sanitation and hygiene, health, agriculture, education and environment. 

My project: Sustainable Organic Agriculture Project-Year 3

The project was recently renewed for its 3rd year this past month and I am very excited to see the program start from the beginning. The first 2 years the projected was focused in certain communities and during year 3 the program restarts by entering into new communities.
This project involves going out into the communities 4 out of 5 days a week, with an average one way travel being 1 ½ hours.

Here is a glance at a week in my shoes, although this week did have a holiday I wasn't expecting.


I woke up around 5am thanks to the neighbor’s rooster and tried to go back to bed…without much luck.

8 am I finally got up and got ready for work and at 9 am headed to the office. (I live right across the street, literally, and it takes less than one minute)

10am headed to our first community with one of my counterparts. It took about 1 ½ hours to get to the village and we spend the first half of the day with them. The meeting was the first official meeting in the community and we sensitized members about the project. 

Around 2:30 we headed into a nearby town and got lunch and by 3 we were headed to the next community and stayed there until around 5. 

Once we were halfway home, the rain started. Since we were traveling by motorcycle, which is a must to get into these villages, we had to stop. Luckily, there was a small auto shop and we ran inside and waited with some fellow travelers. We ended up waiting for 2 hours, the rain would not let up for anything. It was too dark inside, as they shut the door to keep the rain out, to notice that I actually knew the attendant at the shop and when he called my name I was very confused until I saw his face. It’s a small world; he is one of the local youth we have worked with that works at the shop during breaks from school. 

Finally after the rain stopped, we geared up and started heading home. The sun had started to go down and the air was cold making the ride seem longer, besides the fact it took double the time to make it home due to the wet ground. 

8:30 pm, finally made it home, frozen. I took a warm bucket bath in the house. Ate rice and g-nut sauce my neighbors had prepared and passed out by 11pm (which is early for me).


Woke up again around 5am thanks to the neighbor’s rooster and tried to go back to bed…..contemplated going outside and unlocking it from the neighbor’s kitchen so it could go out of the compound. Instead, I yelled for someone to make it stop….which did not happen.

8 am I got up and ready for work and by 9 am I was headed to the office.

10am headed out with my counterparts and traveled 1 ½ hours to a village nearby the ones from Monday. Spent the afternoon with community members and headed out to the next community. Due to circumstances we did not anticipate, the local healer (who is the chairperson), was praying/healing some of his followers, so we had to reschedule for next week. It happens. 
The chairperson from the first community gave us eggs and we took them to town and fried them for lunch. (As of writing this to post, I found out that the healer was in a serious motorcycle accident with the other driver dying instantly. He is in critical condition in the capital, so thoughts his way.)

Afterwards, we headed back and I got home around 6:30. Took a shower, worked on some things in the computer, ate pork Matt prepared, watched some shows on the laptop and went to bed around 12:30am.

Sensitizing new community about program


Woke up around 5am, again. Dreamt I was waking up my neighbor to unlock the kitchen to let the rooster out. It kept making noise for the next 3 hours…it was just a dream.

8 am got up and ready for work, not in the best mood from lack of sleep, and by 9 am I was headed to the office. 

10am headed with my one of my counterparts to new communities in another sub-county. The trip took about 1 hour to get 32k (~16 miles) and the ride was absolutely beautiful.
We spent the afternoon in the new communities and were welcomed with open arms. The great thing about the projects the organization does is they enter into communities from all sides; first are usually water and sanitation projects, then health and agriculture. This helps to give the communities a solid foundation of basic needs as they build up their other skills as well as a good relationship and trust. 

Made it back home at 5pm, worked out for a hour since I was back early, took my bucket bath, ate dinner, watched a few episodes of Chuck and headed to bed around 12:30. 

Did I mention they ate the rooster for dinner, finally.


8 am got up and ready for work and by 9 am headed to the office. 

10am headed with my counterpart to the villages in new sub-county. We spent the afternoon in the villages, ate lunch in the nearby town and headed back home. 

Made it back around 6 and stopped by the office to drop off paperwork. Also, I was told Friday was Labour Day so no work Friday…not going to argue with that. 

Went home, worked out for about a hour, ate dinner, discovered the Roswell series, and went to bed around 2am. 


Slept in, I enjoy my sleep. Woke up around 11. 

I spent the day catching up on closing out a grant, finishing activity reports and washing the sheets and blankets which amazingly didn’t take too long (I am getting faster at washing). Ended up staying up all night watching more Roswell.


Slept in and woke up around 11am, spent a few hours working on the computer and got ready to meet one of my youth. Around 1:30 I headed out to a nearby secondary school and meet with three new youth trainers from 2-5. I would have visited my Saturday group of kids I meet with to read and play games, but it was raining so I headed home, worked out, ate dinner and watched Roswell all night. Around 12 am I took a break to eat some yummy duck the neighbors had prepared, Matt missed out since he was already asleep, and stayed up until around 3 watching more Roswell. 


Woke up around 9:30 and started washing all of my clothes, it took about 1 ½ hours. 

Around 1:30 I headed to meet with the youth trainers at the secondary school from 2-5.

Afterwards, I made a trip to town and bought food for the night. Once I got home, I headed to the garden and weeded, then headed over the primary school next door and hung out with some of the students.  Once the sun went down, I headed home and worked out, took my warm bucket bath inside and cooked stir fry for dinner and worked on this blog entry while watching Roswell.
Around 12 I went to bed finishing out my week.

Traveling to the new communities

This Guy

This Bridge

No way we were going to let him go first

So there you have it, a typical week in my shoes. Next week, Matt.

1 comment:

  1. You are something else! I enjoy your blog! Did you actually cross over on this bridge?
    Gma Pat