Friday, 28 September 2012


Remember when you broke a bone when you were younger and as you were being casted you looked at the doctor in awe and wished that you could learn how to cast? No? That wasn’t an aspiration of yours? Well just imagine that it was an aspiration of yours, along with studying abroad in Uganda, and you discover that through USP you are able to do both through one of our very cool practicum sites! Okay, no more beating around the bush. Let me tell you a little story about an organization called ACHERU.

Afaayo (Luganda for “He cares”) Child Health and Rehabilitation Unit, or ACHERU, is a non-profit organization that does postoperative work on children with physical disabilities. The children stay at ACHERU during their rehabilitation (anywhere from several months to two years) with a parent/guardian and many receive additional reconstructive care.

USP students in the Cross Cultural Ministry Practicum class participate in a 40-hour practicum with various organizations in Mukono, including ACHERU. Those doing their practicum at ACHERU can do a number of different tasks on any given day including data processing and helping teachers with their lessons, all the while interacting with the children and their guardians at the site. This past Tuesday, one of our students had the opportunity to help the doctor cast a child!

Mike has never casted anyone before. This is what I love about ACHERU, if you are present and the doctor needs someone, he’ll call on you to help out. The girl’s leg had become deformed after malaria medication was wrongly injected into her nerves in her village. The casting would set her foot correctly.

I did my practicum at this site 6 years ago. One of the things I enjoyed then and continue to enjoy is the community atmosphere of ACHERU. Many of the staff live on-site with their families. It is fun to see and hear the staff member’s children playing in the background while the little girl was being casted. Rehabilitation is a very serious thing, but ACHERU is a friendly, open environment where people meet new people, learn how to do new things and genuinely enjoy one another. 

Summer playing with a staff member's son in the next room:

Mike, Heather and Summer with some of the patients and their guardians at ACHERU:

Post by Program Assistant, Tiffany Gathers

Friday, 21 September 2012

Visiting Mama Robinah and Shanae

Mama Robinah and Shanae (featured on the left)

As a Program Assistant one of my roles is to visit the IMME students (students living in semester-long homestays) at home, and this week I decided to visit Shanae. Shanae lives with Mrs. Robinah Lubanga Kiwanuka, who has been hosting students since 2004. Not only does she host USP students, Shanae informed me that Mama Robinah also hosts many other youth in her home through the year. I was intrigued to visit and learn more about this fascinating woman. 

The walk to Mama Robinah’s house took around 25 minutes; Shanae and I had to power walk to get there before 5:30 pm. We arrived hot and sweaty and not at all ready to drink the hot tea we imagined was coming. (Luckily Mama Robinah felt the same way!) Mama Robinah rose from her chair to greet me with a hug and asked me to sit. As Shanae, Mama Robinah and I sat at the table, the three of us started to fan ourselves. “I thought I was the only one who was hot,” Mama Robinah said as she was using her hand to cool herself down. Turns out it wasn’t just power walking to the house that made Shanae and I sweaty, it was also a hot day and Mama Robinah felt it too.

It was wonderful having tea at Mama Robinah’s house and to see how much Mama Robinah enjoys being with students. Since Shanae informed her host mother that I was coming over to visit, Mama Robinah made sure that tea was special that day, we had fresh orange/passion fruit juice was serviced along with samosas, fried pork and vegetables. (I know, right?!) The three of us sat at the table talking and laughing. Seeing Mama Robinah’s interaction with Shanae was a joy for me. Mama Robinah is extremely comfortable with America students and Shanae seemed relaxed and totally free to be herself. They both told me stories of how they worked in Mama Robinah’s garden together and Shanae’s experience of trying different Ugandan fruits. I left Mama Robinah’s house feeling as though I wanted to live at her house. Maybe it was the good food or the laughs that were shared, or the fact that Mama Robinah made me feel very welcomed and comfortable. Thanks Mama Robina and Shanae! Same time, same place next week? :) 

Post by Tiffany Gathers 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Fall 2012!

So sorry,we've been terribly lost... but we're back!

It is a new semester of USP and we are off and running with our group of 24. We're a month in, and so far, things are going well! Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts during this Fall 2012 semester. 

The group, good and dirty after participating in Umuganda, the community work day, while in Rwanda their first week on the ground.