Mulembe! In Lugisu, the local language spoken around Bulambuli district, it means hello. I’m Marta the new volunteer for Communities for Development and I’ve been in Uganda now for 2 weeks. I’ll be coordinating 3 key projects which are also the pillars of the NGO: saving groups, IGAs (income generating activities) and conducting a feasibility research for a social project. I’m fairly new to development, having worked for 5 years in marketing, most recently in a British peer-to-peer lending company Funding Circle. My background and professional experiences have all contributed to my interest in the developing world and the issues it faces. I believe promoting sustainable growth, in particular micro-finance, is an important tool in helping alleviate poverty. With that in mind, I have taken 6 months off and I’m now here in Uganda!
What are my first impressions of the country? If I had to pick 2 words, it’d probably be: happiness and beauty. Uganda is green and fertile, hilly and colorful. People smile with their eyes and their happiness, despite many hardships, is truly remarkable.
I’m based in Muyembe – around 40 minutes matatu (local taxi) ride from Mbale which is one of bigger cities in Uganda. Muyembe is a small village town with one main road, a couple of restaurants, small businesses and chapatti and samosa vendors. The areas we’re working in span from the next village town – Buyaga and include Busukuya, Busabulo A and B, Buwebele and hopefully very soon a few more areas around![frame src=”http://communitiesfordevelopment.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/cfd_group_uganda_nov2015.jpg” link=”http://communitiesfordevelopment.org/all-gallery-list/on-the-field” target=”_blank” width=”520″ height=”204″ alt=”Sandra, Pilar and Marta in the village” align=”center” prettyphoto=”false”]
I spent my first two weeks immersing myself fully into Ugandan ways of talking, doing business and conducting meetings. I spent time understanding each element of work and prioritizing tasks for the next 6 weeks. Sandra and Pilar were with me (Pilar still is), helping me with the adaptation. We’ve already kicked off creating 2 new savings groups and it looks like I’ll be quite a busy mzungu!
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*mzungu – white person