Internship to Uganda #7

Kerri Carleton is a young member of Elkhorn Hills UMC.  She is working in Kamuli, Uganda (Africa) this summer and is keeping in touch with family and friends through her blog.  Her family has given permission for us to share information about her experience.

Update from mom (Donna Carleton)

She is home! ❤️ and some of you may or may not know she did have to go to the ER when she landed. She was very ill. Looks like it was a bacteria set up shop in her gut and she was very dehydrated.  After a bag of fluids and a change in antibiotic, she is on the mend and slowly getting back into her life in the U.S.  Thanks for following her journey and most of all thanks for the prayers!

You may contact Donna Carleton for information about donating to Kerri to assist her with expenses.

Week of July 3.  (Report for week 5 of 6.)

Activities and Accomplishments

I would describe this week as the climax of my internship, as it was definitely a week full of ups and downs and turning points. This was the second to last week of the trip, so on Monday, we all expected it to stay within the routine of a typical teaching and surveying day. In the morning, all of the interns hop into the same van with the same driver and make the same first stop, a building called Naluwoli Hall to pick up our translators and drop off the interns who aren’t teaching in the morning.


On Monday, however, my roommate Sydney’s and my translator (husband and wife) did not show up to Naluwoli Hall.  My initial reaction was frustration, because my translator, Ronald, has lied to me before to get out of work.  Dorothy had been extremely suspicious of him for having other jobs, and a requirement for this position through ISU-UP was to be completely free and available from 8 AM to 7 PM and weekends for the interns, because we have to get a lot done in just a short 6 weeks.

I set my goal to get 100 interviews done before I depart, and on Monday was feeling very behind at 50 surveys with only 2 weeks to go. Panic started to set in when I noticed a few of the interns, my supervisor, and Dorothy standing in a circle discussing something serious outside of the school before my class. I asked Sydney what was going on, and she informed me that Ronald would not let his wife go to work today because at the end of the previous week, Dorothy had warned Ronald to shape up and that he could learn from his wife.

In this culture, it can be very dangerous for a husband to feel inferior to his wife. While there is a lot more to this story that I am not comfortable sharing publicly, I can share that Ronald was fired and Ruth will keep her job with ISU-UP. This left me without a translator and feeling very uncomfortable and sad about everything that had happened. On Monday after teaching, Mike, my supervisor, took me to survey and translated for me, and I got about 5 done. I was really worried because I needed to get at least 50 more surveys done before the next Tuesday.


On Tuesday, I worked with my bi-national team project to attempt setting up a sprinkler irrigation system in the Namasagali school gardens. When we got there, our equipment wasn’t, and so the first hour was spent manually irrigating crops until our hose, sprinkler head, and pump arrived. When the equipment arrived, we looked at the system as a whole and tried to figure out what crops would be the most efficient to set up with it. We considered plant spacing and how much water each crop needed for this. Just when we had decided on the sweet potato beds for our sprinkler system, my ride approached and I had to go survey with my new translator, Shafi.

Shafi is a student leader and former service learner for the Makerere students. Unfortunately, Shafi and I only two interviews done because transportation took up most of our half day and we had to get acquainted with my questions and the type of answers I was looking for. It ended on a good note, though, with a soccer game against one of the primary schools we taught at!


Wednesday was better, because we started the day with building a fence with the college (high school) students around the borehole. It was a lot of fun to interact with students in the adolescent age, and even more so to work with them as equals. The rest of the week went very well, with Shafi and I cruising through surveys and spending time with my primary school students at Naluwoli.  Shafi and I ended the week with 91 surveys, and our minimum goal is 100!

What is Going Well

My transition with my new translator went very smoothly, and we really picked up the pace on our interviews and I was able to up my average survey per day significantly.

What Needs To Be Changed

I think at this point in my internship, I needed to be less emotionally involved in the people I worked with. The Ronald situation really placed a dark mark on the experience as a whole and I feel as though that could have been prevented.

What I Am Doing Well

While caring too much can be a problem professionally when it comes to colleagues, I definitely think that my passion for the work and data collecting really was what got me through the week and was the reason I did not fall behind when it would have been really easy to, considering the circumstances.

What Do I Need to Change

I really focused on the present moment this week, when it really would have helped to keep big picture perspectives in mind. So I think considering all perspectives is something that would make the internship more successful than it already is.

How Can I Affect Change in the Internship

To affect change in myself in terms of the internship, I really needed to take a step outside myself and separate my emotional self from my professional self and realize that some things I can’t change no matter how much I would like them to.


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