Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Snapshots of Kapchorwa Homestays

Last Friday morning, we loaded students and staff into the USP van and bus and left the slowly growing comfort of the Uganda Christian University campus, our Mukono host families, and our internships to learn about life in rural Uganda. As we leave Mukono, we quickly notice the houses and buildings growing smaller and more spread out. There are vast fields and swamps as far as we can see. Then we cross the source of the Nile River in Jinja. And finally, after a day of travelling, we turn up the small mountain road to Kapchorwa and the little van begins to climb into the clouds.

We’ve said before that homestays are the lifeblood of the Uganda Studies Program, but it’s so true that we’ll say it again. We learn so much more deeply about places like rural Uganda when we’ve also experienced what it’s like to really live there. Whether it’s up on the mountain in Kapchorwa or out in the grassy flatlands in Soroti, USP students experience a new way of living—and therefore a new way of loving—through the wonderful host families who welcome them in.

Emily Bartel showing PA Becky Nairuba how she washes dishes at her Kapchorwa homestay.

This week, we bring you a tiny snapshot of some Fall 2018 students’ experience with their families in Kapchorwa and Sipi:

“My favorite memory with my host family was going on a hike with my sister to see a waterfall and visit family…and learning to make chapati and passionfruit juice!”
—Emma Cann (Patrick & Violet Mutai)

“The best moments for me during the week were sitting with my mama in the kitchen hut every night making dinner and having the best conversations.”
—Payton Dierkes (Mama Judith & David)

“Beauty was found in the simplest of things last week. I look back with so much joy on sitting out eating lunch with my siblings during a rainstorm, and taking a walk with my brother to a waterfall, both of which were filled with laughter and meaningful conversations that further made us family.”
—Richard Guinta (Chebet Joel & Joselline)

“It was a time to reflect and experience God’s amazing beauty in the middle of the semester.”
—Derek Twinney

“Picking coffee every day…really makes you appreciate that cup a day even more.”
—Alexa Spandrio (Maliche Martin & Mercyline)

Kevin Domanski with his host niece.
USP is a program built around relationships. Everything we do here, we do in the context of relationships of friends, roommates, professors, supervisors and families who welcome us in. The experience of waking up on Mount Elgon, learning how to pick and roast coffee right where it’s grown, and live life at a "rural pace" with Ugandans would not be possible without the deep ties of these relationships with host families.

We love you, and thank you for all you do, host families!

Miriam Thurber and her host mama.
Daniel Kim with his host mama, Jocelyn Kaptire.
It's not a birthday in Uganda without being "showered"! Rachel, Eddie, and the PAs made a special visit to Madi Shae Thompson's homestay to deliver a few birthday surprises.
Rachel Baker smiling with her host family as the USP van stops by on the main road.
We made good use of the mud on our hike to see all three of the Sipi Falls!

Hiking Sipi on our debrief weekend.

Richard Guinta preparing to lead a USP worship service for students on the edge of the world.

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