UA-10441229-1

Village Homestays connect volunteers with families and Uganda culture

Gregory with Betty

A homestay is where a day is spent with a family and the volunteer helps around the house with chores, homework, whatever needs to be done.” by Gregory, a Canadian Intern

This piece is a reflection by Gregory, one of our interns from Canada staying with URF for four months. Volunteers spend a day with one of the local families to get a good feel of how life is for people in rural communities. I hope you enjoy it.

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A homestay is where a day is spent with a family and the volunteer helps around the house with chores, homework, whatever needs to be done.

The student I partnered with is named Kayesw Betty, and she lives in Bugonzi B. I had been in the are a few weeks before on an issue regarding a water collection system.
Each morning Betty leaves the house at 5am, walks two hours to get to school without breakfast. She leaves school around 5pm, and walks the two hours home.

Betty and friend

From Kyetume we climb on a boda and drive over a dirt road that gets worse before it gets better. There are more holes, bumps, and gaps than there is road. The road eventually turns into a path, and my legs are so long that my knees are going through brush. Half an hour or so later the path evens out a bit and we arrive at her house.

No one is home. Mother is out herding goats and the grandmother is somewhere else. We sit down in the shade of the house and I show her photos of my family.
Jaja (grandma) Kabgera Elizabeth shows up and unlocks the front door. Inside two small calico cats run past us and then outside. There are two small couches and a table. A laminated paper with the ministry of Galilee hangs from a nail on the wall. We sit and Betty asks me to show Jaja my photos. She speaks Luganda, Kinyarwanda and another language, so Betty translates as we flip through the photos. This was followed by a couple of albums of Betty, her family and friends.
At the end I gave her and her friend some native art design cards.
Two small children show up to visit. A book on Uganda is brought out and Betty explains a number of the photos.
The radio is turned on, but something is not working properly with it, so it is turned off. I then ask her if she would like to listen to some of my music.
Fast punk seems to hit a chord with them, Ugandan music, from what I’ve heard, is generally upbeat, fast, fun music.
Jaja then asks me, through Betty if I like eggs, and goes into the back. She comes back with two raw eggs to say thank you for coming to visit. I was quite touched.

Betty's house