(by Becca Waterloo)
It was my last day in Uganda that next morning, and I started to feel nostalgic for our trip before I even left. I knew I had a beautiful ride home to look forward to, and a tour of the Bugisu Cooperative Union (with the best cup of coffee I have ever had).
That final day I really soaked in the air, the people, the scenery, knowing it’d be my last breath of open air in Uganda for a while, but I knew I’d be back soon. I had discussed with our IPRO coordinator about the possibilities of coming back soon to build the banda during the summer, an accomplishment I look forward to having under my belt. The day was full of reflections; in my head and through conversations, with my optimism I’d be back whether it was for the project or my future, which is coming up faster than I know.
Robby Keen, the head of a Ugandan NGO gave us a speech at the BCU that morning about how important it is in our youth to take advantage of having "free time" (versus being married, settled down with children) and travel around, giving our time and small amount of money to give back to the community/society/humanity. I could see myself in Uganda doing work in the same scope of this IPRO project, at least hopefully using my architecture degree to help build buildings that are needed versus “needed”. I never really saw myself building commercial buildings, high rises; I see myself building smaller scale buildings with a bigger change. Schools, hospitals, bandas… This project made me realize my calling as an architect. I am a globetrotter, and the planet is my jungle gym. We’re all part of the same earth, which is why the Ugandans were so welcoming. We share the same home (earth), so of course we’d be welcome there. Why wouldn’t we be? It’s my responsibility to share the knowledge and sources I grew up with with my neighbors, as they’d do the same with me.
I/We will see how far I can help bring this IPRO project. If I can see it to the end, the banda completely built, I will cry tears of joy as this is only the beginning of what I want to do with my life.
This is my final entry in my journal, as I couldn’t even write fast enough to jot down my thoughts (prior to being near a computer)
"I CAN’T WRITE FAST ENOUGH TO EXPLAIN ALL OF MY FEELINGS.
Words don’t do justice for my last two weeks out here. I had no idea what I was getting into and this trip has changed me. If I were to write, I wouldn’t know where to begin. The people, the food, the scenery, the environments. Or I could categorize it by cities: Rome, Pompeii, Istanbul, Kampala, Mbale… I could write chapters, but nothing but the experience itself will teach you how I feel."