Wednesday, 9 May 2018

That's a Wrap!

The end of the spring semester is always busy and intense; not only are students trying to finish up classes, write papers and prepare for exams, but there is a flurry of fun, end-of semester events and activities. In the midst of all that we are preparing for an 8-day study trip to Rwanda, after which we come back to Uganda for our Debrief/ Re-entry Retreat, before students say their goodbyes and fly home for the summer. 

Global 5K
The Global 5K is an annual event to raise funds for Honors College scholarships that brings together USP and Honors College students as well as any alumni in the area. Set on the Saturday morning before exams week, it is the perfect opportunity to work out some stress and enjoy each others company. The run was a success all around, raising funds for the scholarships and bringing everyone together on a beautiful Saturday morning. 

Some of the Global 5K participants
Cassidy Griffith receiving an award for the fastest female runner. 

USP/ Honors College Community Worship 
As per tradition, USP students and Honors College students have the opportunity to lead praise and worship during the UCU Community hour every semester. Coming together for practice, and then leading the congregation in a time of worship is meaningful not only for the students, but is a fun way for USP students to give back to the community that has hosted them for the semester.

Practicing together for Community Worship 
                     Styling in their "kitenge skirts" and rocking out in Community Worship                         
Farewell Dinner 
The Farewell Dinner brings together the many people that make up the USP community for a meaningful evening of celebration even as we start to say our difficult goodbyes to host families, roommates, lecturers, practicum supervisors and coworkers, drivers, students and staff members. There were speeches, a big Ugandan buffet and delicious cake, and this year the Guest of Honor, UCU's Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Rebecca Nyegenye presented USP students with their certificates  of completion.

The cutting of the cake at the Farewell dinner by all who gave speeches
USP Staff in matching celebrator kitenge outfits-- one of our favorite Spring semester traditions
Lindsay Rennick receives her certificate 
Every semester we travel to Rwanda for an 8-day study tour, a pilgrimage to learn about the history, culture and development of one of Uganda's closest neighbors. We visited two genocide memorials, Nyamatta Church and the Kigali Memorial, to learn about the 1994 genocide. We visited CARSA, a Christian organization doing the hard but necessary work of reconciliation and rebuilding, and heard the stories of people who daily continue to choose forgiveness and reconciliation as a way of life even 24 years after the genocide. Another organization we learned from was Hope International that teaches financial literacy and supports rural communities as they develop savings and loans groups.

Director of the CARSA talks to the students

Visiting a rural savings group with Hope International 
Our last day in Rwanda was spent at Koiika Cooperative learning about and enjoying traditional Rwandan art, song and dance. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to make their own art and sing and dance!
Imagongo-- traditional Rwandan art
Learning traditional Rwandan dancing
Rwanda Debrief on Bushara Island
The final component of USP is our Debrief/Re-entry retreat where we process the semester and prepare students for re-entry back home. It is a special time being together and appreciating the friendships that have been built and the growth they have experienced over the past four months. We were joined by friends and roommates from UCU for the last afternoon before students started departing Uganda.

Creative processing-- a necessary component of all USP debriefing!
 The first group leaving for the airport
Spring 2018!
Global Health Emphasis May Module 
This semester, four of the Global Health students are participating in our first ever two-week Global Health May module in northern Uganda. Among the many opportunities students are participating in these two weeks are meetings with community leaders, learning about rural community health education and public health interventions, visiting Uganda's largest refugee camp, participating in trainings through The Mango Project and taking a class in Nutrition with GHE Coordinator, Micah Hughes.

Module participants: Laura Sollenberger, Danae Troutman, USP-PA: Morgan Walker, Cassidy Griffith, Claire Smeltzer 
Students participating in Mango preservation
GHE student, Cassidy, and GHE Coordinator, Micah, preserving mangoes

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