I came to know HVU through Sunburst Projects in Northern California where I volunteered as a camp counselor in the mid 1990’s. HVU has incorporated in their services the camp concept for teenage girls and on my visit to Uganda I participated in the 2nd annual 3 day camp. The event was overwhelmingly heartfelt. Touching revelations from these young women entwined with song and dance created a life-changing experience for me.
I had an extraordinary experience this past November 2012 with Healthcare Volunteer Uganda. I spent almost a month in the Mubende region with the HVU team to experience up close the role they play to support HIV/Aids infected and affected women and their families as well as orphans and other vulnerable children. I visited 14 villages in 4 different sub-counties of the region and met hundreds of local people.
HVU organized a group in each village of 52 women who would gather to make crafts and in the process discuss and problem solve issues that may arise in their community. During my visits I had an opportunity to engage with the community to hear many issues they face: disease, poverty, inadequate or non-existent healthcare, domestic violence, lack of education, rape, and various stigmas. Together we shared our experiences in the life and did some troubleshooting to resolve some of the minor issues. Though the purpose of the visit was not necessarily to eliminate other’s problems, it was about sharing our human spirit … to listen to each other … to care for one another in whatever way possible.
I came to Uganda to contribute something and maybe to inspire but I in turn was the one inspired. Isn’t that what volunteerism is all about?