Friday, 17 November 2017

Love Language

The following is a journal written by Jenna Comstock, psychology major from Azusa Pacific for
the class, Cross-Cultural Practicum ( Jenna is at the practicum site, Salaama
School for the Blind, a site that USP has partnered with for over 10 years.

 At my internship with Salaama School for the Blind, I am constantly exposed to a group of people whose circumstance I am foreign to. They are blind and I am not. In the early days of my internship, I wondered if I would eventually be able to relate to these students and staff members. An answer came in the form of a bundled bunch of perforated papers bound with string: the language of Braille. Yet, without a local who was willing to invest in me, I would have never arrived at this conclusion. 

Without a student who was willing to invest the time to teach me, I would not have found a satisfactory way to relate to my Ugandan friends at Salaama. Titus, a member of the Primary 7 class, has spent much of his free time teaching me how to read, write and type Braille. One day, during our third Braille lesson, Titus instructed me to write a story using the Brailler and to bring it to him when I had finished. I was able to recall certain contractions and letters with such an ease and efficiency that even I was surprised by. Sure, the story was riddled with mistakes, but it was a story written in Braille. It seemed I was approaching literacy. The surprise that turned into delight in Titus’ reaction to my prompt completion of the task filled my heart with much needed measures hope. I could tell how much it meant to Titus that I bothered to learn the language that he communicates with. This is when I understood that Braille is something I can use to bridge the gap between myself and “them.” 

Teaching me Braille, Titus was an exemplary manifestation of a Monk. According to Cavanaugh’s Migrant, Tourist, Pilgrim, Monk: Mobility and Identity in a Global Age (2008), a Monk is someone who remains stable in a host culture. Monks welcome visitors into their homes. Essentially, Monks allow visitors to authentically experience their host culture, to the extent that it is possible. Titus inviting me into his world and culture through teaching me how to read and write in the same way students at Salaama do has prompted an authentic participation in the community than I ever could have created on my own. I am enduringly grateful for the considerate efforts of Titus.

From this experience, I have also gained further insight to the welcoming aspect of
Ugandan culture. Uganda is filled with people who are overtly welcoming. I experienced this from the moment I stepped off of the plane. Not only this, but they are willing to help me better understand their ways of life. Titus teaching me Braille is a paramount example of a Ugandan taking the time to not only get to know me, but to also teach me how to communicate with other Ugandan students and staff members at Salaama. Through learning Braille, I have become more aware of how willing Ugandans are to put in the effort to include and teach visitors in their community. I have learned what it means to welcome someone into your family.


Cavanaugh, William (2008). Migrant, Tourist, Pilgrim, Monk: Mobility and Identity in a Global Age. 340-356.

Salaama supervisors  Lawrence Tusiime and Francis Kinubi

Former USP student, Deanna Shaub, learning braille at her USP practicum

Monday, 13 November 2017

Student Reflection on Rural Home Stays: Lauren Schaupp

(Originally Posted on: 


A week ago the USP team went to rural Kapchorwa, a town nestled in the foothills of Mount Elgon in Eastern Uganda. I went into the experience feeling dry and empty and left feeling full and so sad that I had to leave such a beautiful place. I honestly don’t know how to put into words the joys that I experienced while I was there, so I have compiled a list of both practical and emotional things that I learned. Here is what I have learned on rural homestays:
  • Picking coffee is harder and dirtier than it looks, but it is also so much fun.
  • Carrying 40 pounds of beans is much easier on your head. It is also humbling when you realize your 9-year-old niece can carry more than that. With no hands.
  • Eating at 10 pm can become the norm. This is because it takes so long to cook the food, and leftovers aren’t really a thing since there is no refrigeration.
  • Some of the wisest people you will ever meet are farmers and teachers. They taught me what patience looks like, how to be compassionate but not a pushover, how living the way Christ lived can be played out in small things, and so much more.
  • It’s a lot harder to cook for a lot of people using 3 charcoal stoves, and it takes upwards of 10 hours.
  • Sometimes you have to pick either your poop or your pee going into the latrine- you can’t have both.
  • Rural doesn’t necessarily mean uneducated. Both of my parents had college educations, and all 9 of their children did as well.
  • My mama really wanted me to get married to a Ugandan, to the point that we discussed it every night.
  • Warm bucket baths on cool mountain nights are one of the best experiences ever.
  • The stars in rural areas are indescribable.
  • I have no idea what I want to do with my life.
  • Good conversations over a cooking fire are something that is hard to find anywhere else.
  • I love the rural life. It is a lot of hard work, and sometimes it can be tiring and feel like you aren’t getting what you need to get done, done, but there is nothing like it. the community of people that welcome you in, the family that you become a part of, the experiences that you have, whether it’s a conversation or picking beans; it’s all a part of something so sweetly simplistic that I was loathe to leave at the end of the week.
My trip to Kapchorwa was way too short but so rich and full of experiences, thoughts, and rest. I know that one week is not a long time, but it was a life-changing week in more ways than one, and I look forward to going home to my family there one day.

This week's blog was written by Lauren Schaupp (Pictured with her Kapchorwa host dad). She is a current Global Health Student with USP and a senior at Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina where she studies 

Monday, 6 November 2017

Global Health Emphasis-- Diverse Opportunities to Learn and Grow

USP's Global Health Emphasis (GHE) provides students the experiential and interdisciplinary opportunity to learn about health in the Ugandan context. The GHE curriculum is designed to meet the requirements of undergraduate health science majors while studying abraod in Uganda for a semester. Global Health internships combined with course offerings of Nutrition, Cross Cultural Practicum in Global Health, Infectious Diseases & Epidemiology, and Microbiology, allow health science students to gain insights into their personal, ministry, and vocational goals. GHE internships require a minimum of 150 practicum hours allowing students to learn from nurses, doctors, midwives, physical therapists and public health educators

Having now passed the halfway point this semester, the GHE students have completed the August module during which they took Human Nutrition in Global Health, they participated in a study trip to Rwanda at the end of August and experienced a week in a rural context on Rural Homestays. Students continue to press into their living contexts with either Ugandan host families or UCU roommates, and of course and are feeling much more comfortable in their classes and at their practicums.  

This semester’s ten Global Health students are from Westmont College in California, Gordon College in Massachusetts, and Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina. Through our partnership with Westmont, Dr. Ogechi Nwaokelemeh, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at Westmont, taught the August module course. She challenged our students academically and encouraged them to integrate their new knowledge of nutrition into the healthcare preventions and interventions in Uganda. Our students, faculty and staff enjoyed working and learning from Dr. Nwaokelemeh!

Visiting Westmont faculty Dr. Ogechi Nwaokelemeh with Micah Hughes, GHE Coordinator and Avrey Hughes, RN.

“The partnership between Westmont College and the Ugandan Studies Program has been exceptionally enriching! Students from Westmont joined students from other US academic institutions to participate in the August Modular Nutrition course here at Uganda Christian University. Topics ranging from the intricacies of the digestive system to the impact of malnutrition on public health were explored throughout the module. It was a great start to what will be a tremendous time of growth, maturation and discovery for the students in Uganda.”~  Dr. Ogechi Nwaokelemeh 

Global health internships are often the most challenging and rewarding aspect of GHE experience. Students have the opportunity to learn from Ugandan professionals at hospitals, clinics and research centers.

Rachael Phillips (Westmont College), is completing her practicum at ACHERU, a local pediatric occupational therapy center. “At ACHERU, I have the opportunity to learn from the physiotherapists, the nurses, the orthopedics officer, the classroom teacher, the receptionist, and I get to go out with my supervisor into the community to do home visits. I am learning about so many different aspects of the healthcare field, and I am loving every minute of it!” ~Rachel Phillips 

Rachel meeting her host mom on rural homestays.

Madison Cherry (Westmont College), is completing her practicum at ROTOM (Reach One Touch One Ministries). "ROTOM's vision is to see older persons living dignified and fulfilled lives! It is inspiring to see the staff truly care about every Jjajja (grandmother) they work with. I have been to many home visits where the doctor first made the jjajja's bed or tidied up the room. They do not only care about treating physical sickness, but they aspire to improve their quality of life. They put on fellowships for the jjajjas where they gether in community, learn about nutrition, and of course there is always dancing and food involved. I am constantly humbled by the staff's passion and the jjajjas' joy. I have so much to learn from ROTOM!" ~Madison Cherry 

Madison  encouraging an elderly client at ROTOM (Reach One Touch One Ministries) clinic.

USP has built relationships and a developed a framework of engagement over its fourteen years of partnership with Uganda Christian University in Mukono. The Global Health Emphasis, now in its third semester, has been a natural addition to the program, giving students the opportunity to engage practicum supervisors, host families, roommates, and professors, and learn through the lenses of health. 

We are also excited about our upcoming semester and the opportunity to offer our inaugural May Module in May 2018, through which spring GHE students will have the opportunity to travel to northern Uganda for two weeks to learn first-hand about the global health challenges of refugee healthcare and pediatric malnutrition from Ugandan doctors, nurses, and community educators at the therapeutic feeding center of the Ugandan Ministry of Health District Hospital. Through this experience, students will gain deeper understanding of the links and complications between nutrition, poverty, and public health.