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2017 - Thomas' Report (engl.)

2017 - Thomas' Report (engl.)

When I got back a lot of people asked me how my experience in Uganda had been. When I answered that it wasn’t always that great, people almost always seemed disappointed that I didn’t answer how amazing my experience had been and how lucky I felt that I had that opportunity.
Don’t get me wrong, of course I am very grateful about the opportunity I had to experience life in Uganda. But it wasn’t really a walk in the park. Working with the Organisation a Chance for Children and the children they provide help to was indeed very amazing, but it had its challenges!

People always warn you for the culture clash, how it will be hard to adapt to all the different situations. In all honesty, as a human being you adapt very quickly to the new situations. After three days you are used to the fact that you shower in a basin, or that you don’t have a normal toilet.  What’s harder to adapt to is the difference in norms and values between you and the Ugandan people. In the beginning you are not aware of these deep-rooted differences. This most likely because you are still in a formal welcome phase, the people are so very friendly and open to you as a foreigner.
But after a month, things start changing and you find yourself in discussions you never thought you’d have in your life. These discussions were the result of differences in your core human being with the Local Ugandan people. These differences of course coming from your different up bring, different culture, different norms, different values, … At this point the culture clash smacks you in the face! Than the challenges begin, trying to do what is right for the children you work with, without kicking any colleagues in the shins. This was one of the hardest challenges I faced in my life. But at the same time, it has also been one of the most rewarding and educational experiences in my life.

Again, don’t get me wrong Uganda is an amazing country and if you ever have the opportunity to go there with a Chance for Children please do so.

I consider myself lucky to have had the support of a Chance for Children during my stay in Uganda. It was a pleasure working with and getting to know Stefan and Gabi (the founders of the organisation). The thing that I appreciated the most is how the heads of the organisation always listened to the feedback you had as a volunteer and really valued the information and used it to improve the organisation and the help for the children. Another thing that comforted me is that they were always available if you needed help or had any questions. Even if problems arose between yourself and other people (locals or other volunteers) they were there to listen and to help. They were also very flexible about the fact that I was there as an intern and that some standards had to be met for our internship and it wouldn’t be the same as the other volunteers.

Besides all of this Uganda is an amazing country, with a beautiful nature, culture and great people. If you just act like you would in any other country in the world and are respectful to the people it is also a very safe country to travel through and work in.
So again, if you ever have the opportunity to visit this country, do so! Let its culture, nature and people enrich your life with the one and only Uganda-experience!